Prejudice as the Main Theme of Harper Lee's Novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

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The novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee demonstrates a large extent of prejudice that prevents us from seeing the good in people. A person will never really understand another until they look at things from their point of view, by stepping in their shoes, by climbing into their skin and walking around in it. Prejudging a person will prevent them from seeing who they truly are. There is a large extent of prejudice occurring in the society of Maycomb County through race, gender and class which stands in the way of justice, friendship and most of all prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond a person’s appearance, religion, disability or race.

Prejudice against race in the novel prevented for others to see the good that lies beyond the coloured folk. This is depicted in the novel to an outstanding level. The quote “Cal’s not leaving this house until she wants to Alexandra” shows that Alexandra doesn’t want a black woman to teach ‘her kids’. She states that whites are more superior than blacks. She was prejudging Calpurnia and prevented us from seeing the good that lied beyond the blacks. Also, the people of Maycomb identified mulatto children as worthless as they were neither accepted in the white or black communities. The quote “Scout’s daddy defended niggers. I denied it, but told Jem” states that younger generations ‘caught racism’ and when Atticus defends a black man, Tom Robinson at court, it went against white people’s thoughts, morals and believed it was wrong. Atticus had stated that if a white man cheats a black man, the white man is trash. Racial prejudice prevented Maycomb to see the good of the innocent Tom Robinson and the entire black community.

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Maycomb’s society was prejudice on gender which prevented us to see the good that lied beyond their appearance. An example of this is that Miss Maudie and Calpurnia cannot serve on the jury for Tom Robinson’s trial, Miss Maudie because she was a woman and Calpurnia because she was black and a woman. Neither Miss Maudie nor Calpurnia are prejudice on race, class or gender and had either of them served the trial, it would have gone quite different. Also, Scout is known in Maycomb for acting ‘un-lady like’ and when someone in Maycomb makes ridicule that she is wearing pants, she recalls in the novel that “Miss Maudie’s hand closed tightly on mine, and I said nothing. Its warmth was enough”. She is also discriminated and insulted by her brother Jem. “… you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!”. Gender prejudice in Maycomb took the life of Tom Robinson and prevented us from seeing the good that lied beyond the gender of Miss Maudie, Calpurnia and Scout.

Prejudice against the class structure in Maycomb County is explored to a great extent in the novel Through the quote “… he—is—trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning lord-knows-what”. That depicts Aunt Alexandra is prejudging Walter Cunningham due to his family’s history, lack of wealth and that he is ‘lower in society’. This prevented Scout to be friends with a ‘nice’ Walter Cunningham. Aunt Alexandra thought isn’t just mean-spirited, but dangerous. As Atticus hosted Walter previously, Scout was able to save Atticus and briefly save Tom Robinson. It was by not honouring the class order that she was able achieve a small measure of justice. Also, Scout’s thought that “I think there’s just one kind of folks”. Folks’ disagrees with Jem’s thought “The thing about it is, our kind of folks don’t like the Cunningham’s, the Cunningham’s don’t like the Ewell’s, and the Ewell’s hate and despise the coloured folk”. Jem’s thought depicts the major source of conflict in Maycomb is due to people prejudging and not seeing the good of others, in other classes, whereas Scout communicates an ideal world in which people respect each other despite of their socio-economic status.

On the whole, the novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee shows many instances of prejudice that prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond a person’s appearance, religion, disability or race. There is prejudice shown in a variety of forms gender, race and class. Prejudice is a common theme throughout the whole novel to a great extent.

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Prejudice as the Main Theme of Harper Lee’s Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/prejudice-as-the-main-theme-of-harper-lees-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
“Prejudice as the Main Theme of Harper Lee’s Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/prejudice-as-the-main-theme-of-harper-lees-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
Prejudice as the Main Theme of Harper Lee’s Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/prejudice-as-the-main-theme-of-harper-lees-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Prejudice as the Main Theme of Harper Lee’s Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/prejudice-as-the-main-theme-of-harper-lees-novel-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
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