“Prejudice is the child of ignorance” (William Hazlitt). In her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee describes Maycomb, the town the story takes place in, where white people are prejudiced in all ways possible. Although everyone in Maycomb is prejudiced and rude towards black people, Harper Lee tries to show the reader the light by showing how the people in the Maycomb county slowly turn away from prejudiced decisions. In her book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee utilizes the current setting and the character traits to show the role of prejudice throughout the peoples’ lives and how it damages their current life.
Boo Radley isolates himself from the residents of Maycomb. Boo stays in his home all day, everyday. People say that Boo “went out at night time when the moon was once down, and peeped in windows… any stealthy small crimes dedicated in Maycomb had been his work” (9). If he chooses to go outside, he will be treated like an alien because of his weird ways. Boo stays inside his house because he is aware that his society will make fun of him. After being invisible for so many years, Boo is also mentally challenged. He has forgotten his social skills. The city decides what he does inside his home. The city would blame or accuse Boo for any little crime or unexplained phenomenon. The city depicts Boo Radley as a monster in their society when he is simply a man who made one error. This is a place where prejudice has lodged itself into one person’s life so much that they are scared to meet the society.
Another person who is the victim of prejudice in the novel is Tom Robinson and black people in general. While the Finches were eating their breakfast, Atticus says, “He despises Negroes, won’t have one near him” (178). The only reason why people do not like other people is because they are the opposite or they just want to fit in the group. The reason is the second one. Scout also displays this. She says she calls black people n^*&%#s. Atticus told her not to because it is not nice. Here Mr. Underwood thinks that black people can not change and that they can not become better than what they are now. If there are some blacks that are financially as good as white people, the view that white people have on them will change. They will not be prejudiced against black people anymore. This is another place where just Negroes get targeted and become a victim of prejudice.
The last person who is a target of prejudice is Atticus Finch.Cecil Jacobs announces in the school yard, “that Scout Finch’s daddy defended n#%%$^s” (85). Atticus Finch was a victim of prejudice because people thought he was a black-lover because he chose to take up this case on himself to save an innocent black man. People like Miss. Maudie Atkinson and his children all telling him to drop the case. At school, Scout is getting into arguments with students like Cecil Jacobs which also gives the town more to gossip about, which decreases the prestige the Finches have. He is being talked about behind his back. Despite Atticus’s good intentions of saving a black man, people are insulting him for doing so. Atticus is another person who’s prestige was affected by prejudice.
In conclusion, Harper Lee uses setting and character traits to display the amount of damage prejudice does The three people, Boo Radley, Negroes, and Atticus Finch are all sufferers of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo has made one mistake of attacking his own parents which determined his life. Negroes were just not accepted due to their financial status and their history, and Atticus had a good intention but since he defended a Black person, he was called a black lover from then on. What people can learn from this is to give people another chance and to not judge a book by its cover. Most people would want to imitate Jesus. Jesus does give people many chances. From the beginning of Adam and Eve, God has given so many chances to his people to change. Since people want to try to do what God does, they should not think about the person’s history and try to give them chances to become better.