To kill a mockingbird BY 166 Essay on: “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee. Statement of Intent: A Literary report focused on the discussion of how the elements of the novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee, enables deeper understanding on the part of the reader, of the idea of racial prejudice. The target audience is: students and teachers alike, studying the novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee. The novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee, is set during a time of great poverty – The Great Depression of the sass’s, and shows us a society where racism and sexism is rife though out the community.Presented to us through the eyes of an innocent child, we see how the town of Macomb, in Alabama USA, is gripped by racial prejudice, and how our understanding of the idea is developed through events within the novel.
As Martin Luther King Jar. Once said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy,” we see how the idea of prejudice divides the opinions of a town, and how it is conveyed to us through numerous events and symbols present throughout the text.This idea is most clearly developed and conveyed wrought the symbol of the Mocking Bird, the narrative voice, the setting, and the characterization of the main characters.
The idea of prejudice in “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee, is clearly conveyed to the reader though the symbolism within the text. The most prominent symbol throughout the text is that of the Mocking Bird. Referred to as the symbolic representation of peace, Joy and innocence, the novel a-likens this bird to the defenseless and weaker people within the text – people who, through no fault of their own, have been downcast by society.
A prime example of this is Tom Robinson, a lawful Negro man living in Macomb County. Just as the Mocking Bird sings to please, Tom Robinson helped Male Lowell out of the goodness of his heart. But, his weak standing in society – his susceptibility to racial prejudice saw him killed for no other reason than prejudice. His innocence in the situation is Just like that of a Mocking Bird, for he had committed no crime, Just like the Mocking Bird, yet he was persecuted because of his social standing in Macomb.This symbol of the mocking Bird shows Just how racial prejudice is present in Macomb: “Lemma tell you something now Bill” said another. IOW know the court appointed him to defend this Niger. ” mien, but Tactics aims to defend him, that’s what I don’t like. ” In this example, we see how members of community despise the fact that a white man is prepared to defend a black man.
This gives the impression that they believe Tom Robinson is guilty, regardless of any evidence that may prove otherwise.The Mocking Bird symbol also shows us prejudice, through the similarities to one Arthur ‘Boo’ Raddled. A social reject, Mr.. Raddled is very similar to the symbol of the Mocking Bird, as although he is perceived to be a threat to the public, he does, in numerous cases, escape the house that imprisons him, to help the Finch children. This is most evident Finch attacked the children outside r Raddled house, meaning that Boo saw the attack, and stepped in to help.
This incident shows us how the innocent Mocking Bird is rather similar to Boo – they are both innocent in society.Yet, one is treated with respect, the other cast down by society, exemplifying the idea of prejudice. The fact that society treats the Mocking Bird with respect, but Boo with hatred, shows how a social misunderstanding of Boo exists, and how their prejudicial views control their reception of Boo: it is said he is a savage, who hunts for his own food. “He was six and a half feet tall, Judging by his tracks, he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch.
” In this example, we are shown how the society of Macomb sees Boo as a dangerous savage, who is out of control.This challenges the reader to consider how these actions of persecution, segregation and prejudice were allowed to happen. The a-likening of Tom Robinson and Boo Raddled to the Mocking Bird allows the reader to understand the idea of prejudice in the society of Macomb, but also, to understand owe this idea of prejudice is entirely unacceptable in society, and how the treatment of Boo Raddled may still be evident throughout society today. In addition, the narrative voice of the text “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee, enables the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the idea of prejudice.
In the beginning of the novel, it is clear that Scout (who narrates the novel) is completely blinded to the racial prejudice around her. She sees the segregation in the society she lives in, but without knowing it, takes advantage of it. She doesn’t understand (as would be expected at age 6) that he witnesses terrible actions of racial prejudice around her every day, rather, it is nice to have Caligula (a negro cook looking after the Finch household) at home to cook, and to have black men doing all the labouringly work.It isn’t until the Tom Robinson court case that she finally realizes how the clean society she lives in actually has a dirty underside. As she explains, when she realizes the double life led by California, it becomes clear to the reader that the idea of racial prejudice is conveyed through the narrative voice of the text: “That California led a modest double life never dawned on me.
The idea that she had a separate existence outside our household was a novel one, to say nothing of her command to two languages. In this example, the narrative voice helps the reader understand how naive Scout is, and how she takes for granted the effects of racial prejudice. The narrative voice also helps us to understand how the racial prejudice is not k, through the development of Scout’s understanding of the idea. The Tom Robinson trial opens here eyes to the real world, and for the first time, the reader is finally shown that Scout understands what is right, and what is wrong – which is an understanding developed from theTom Robinson trial, and Tactics feeling the need to explain thing too her: “As you grow older, you will see black men cheat white men everyday of your life – but let me tell you something, and don’t you forget it. Whatever a white man does to that black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how finer family he comes from, he is trash. ” This revelation to Scout brings a feeling of relief to the reader, as finally, the understanding of how unacceptable it is to treat black people improperly, is ingrained into the Scout’s mind.
This narrative voice enables the reader to fully understand how the idea of racial prejudice had divided the opinions of Macomb, and how this change of thought (occurring in the sass’s), has changed our society Furthermore, the setting of Macomb County in the text “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee, enables a greater and in-depth understanding of the idea of prejudice.When Scout finds out, through going to the Black people’s church with Clarinda, that California runs a ‘modest double-life’, the setting of Macomb County is then key to Scout realizing, and hence the reader realizing, Just how hard it is for California, and ended the majority of other hard workers within the negro community. In Macomb County, strict ‘southern’ laws are imposed, that limit the freedom of both females, and Negroes of both gender.Scout’s perception of town as she knew it, is dashed, when she realizes how prejudice is rife throughout her community.
The white people are treated as superiors – the black people segregated – even so far that it forces the black people to form their own community. Scout finally puts two and two together due to the setting of Macomb County, with its racial prejudice and strict hierarchical social structure, and conversations with California. Suppose you and Scout talked like colored folks at home, it’d be out of place wouldn’t it? In this example, the setting of Macomb is shown to foster an attitude of deep segregation, and implied hatred towards black people. The fact that it is even deemed ‘unacceptable’ to speak like a colored person around white people only strengthens this direct representation of racial prejudice. Again, this idea is reinforced through the setting, by the fact that it is frowned upon to reveal the talents of a black person. “It’s not necessary to tell all you now.
… Folks don’t like having somebody around known’ more than they do.
In today’s society, we foster the growth of a person’s knowledge, but the setting of Macomb County, and it’s strict regulations, didn’t – thus leaving black people lacking education qualifications, and exposing how dominant the idea of racial prejudice as in Macomb. This challenges the reader to consider Just what life would be like today, if we still segregated our populations, and how that would impact our lives. Moreover, the characterization of Jam and Tactics in the novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” by Harper Lee, helps us with our perception of what the idea of prejudice really means.Through the analysis of Gem’s development, his growth and gained maturity- spawned by Tactics’ wisdom and cool-headiness, we see how this idea has implications throughout the entire Macomb County society, as well as on Scout’s life, as it is through her eyes that the reader sees the text develop. Gem’s superiority – his maturity, forces Scout to try and climb into her brother’s shoes. As he becomes older, his understanding of events around him, such as the Tom Robinson trial, alters. Guided by Tactics’ wisdom, Jam understands fairly early on in the piece, that the persecution and prejudice against black people is unfair, ad unjust.When Jam assaults MS Double’s camellias, it is clear to the reader that Ms Double’s name calling has got to Jam, and that he realizes that what is happening round him shouldn’t be happening.
“l sometimes wonder what exactly made Jam do it, what made him break the bond of: you Just be a gentleman, son’ and the phase of self- conscious rectitude he had recently entered. ” We realism here, that Jam has completely understood how the idea of prejudice and segregation of black people, homebodies by Tom Robinson, is totally unacceptable – so he took out his anger over Double’s camellias.Likewise, Tactics’ cool headiness and wisdom enables him to calmly explain to Jam and Scout how his case with Tom Robinson is going to affect the whole family. He realizes that this is an experience his kids need to go through in order to understand how the treatment of black people in Macomb is not something to be proud of. “As you grow older, you will see white men cheat black men every day of your life and…
… No matter how finer family he comes from, he is trash. Attic’s ability to realism how not to act, such as petty retaliation, is quite applaud-able -for in doing so, he places his children in the line of fire. This enhances the reader’s perception of the idea of racial prejudice, as we see how Tactics’ viewpoint of prejudice being unacceptable, is passed on to his children, and how his message of wisdom regarding social segregation, is able to change the reader’s understanding of the idea of prejudice, and enforce their viewpoints and opinions. Therefore, this allows the lessons learnt within the novel to become applicable to our lives in today’s society.Thus, it is evident that throughout the novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee, there are numerous references to the crucial idea of racial prejudice.
The use of symbolism between the mocking bird and Tom Robinson and the narrative voice of Scout are examples of these events. However, when coupled with the setting of Macomb County, Alabama USA, and the characterization of Jam and Tactics Finch, these ideas enable us as readers to enhance our understanding of the idea of racial prejudice, and how the lessons learned from it are applicable in our society today.