Short on time?

Get essay writing help

The Ideas of Prejudice within To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help

  • Words: 845
  • |
  • Pages: 2
  • This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Prejudice is a social behaviour where an individual or group is assessed, typically in a negative way, based on preconceived opinions or attitudes. This concept is a focal theme of both Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, and “The Help” directed by Tate Taylor. These texts include similar aspects of prejudice that regard gender, social and racial grouping. They illustrate how sexism and classism are displayed in a likewise manner towards characters from each text. However, the film and novel are differentiated through the overall demonstration of racist attitudes.

Social expectations of an individual based on their gender correspond between prominent characters of both the novel and film. Scout is often described and shown to have tomboy qualities, resulting in her lacking embodiment of the conventional young, gentle and petite girl. She prefers to spend her time playing outdoors with her brother instead of behaving in the expected ‘ladylike manner’. ‘[She] could not possibly hope to be a lady if [she] wore breeches” because “[she] wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants”. She is regularly criticised for this by characters such as Aunt Alexandra and Mrs Dubose who insist on her acting and appearing more feminine “what are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady!”. Similarly, Skeeter defies against the sexist Southern culture that women should marry and have children very early in life. Both Skeeter’s friends and mother tend to comment on her dating life, or lack thereof, due to this socially instilled concept that her “eggs are dying” and if it “would it kill [her] to go on a date?”. Despite this, she chooses to disregard the gender norms and focus on her career as she “got a job today! At The Jackson Journal!” – which is met with everyone looking at Skeeter as if she “threw up on herself” and then toasting “Skeeter…and her job. [Her] last stop ’til marriage”. Although Skeeter and Scout endure different situations of judgement for their lack of stereotypical behaviour and appearance, they are both victims of the sexist norms of the societies they live in.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Prejudice is shown in the form of classism through the attitudes towards individuals who do not come from a family of wealth or stature. In the film, Celia Foote is treated as an outcast due to her being from Sugar Ditch, Mississippi, where she was born and raised poor. This causes the high-society women to treat her badly as they won’t return her phone calls nor allow her to work on the charity drives and “hate [her] ’cause they think [she’s] white trash!”. Essentially, they completely isolate her from joining any of the gatherings they plan – “Celia finally realizes the cruel reality of the situation and that these women aren’t going to let her inside”. Lee demonstrates this through Aunt Alexandra who views Walter Cunningham in a similar manner as she warns Scout to not associate with him “because-he-is-trash, that’s why you can’t play with him”. Aunt Alexandra also does not want her “picking up bad habits and learning Lord-knows-what”. Celia Foote and Walter Cunningham are highly comparable as they are both seen as “trash” by those who are considered ‘upper-class’.

The texts overall main ideas in relation to racism towards African Americans differentiate as the novel revolves more around criminal allegations, and the film instead provides a demonstration of the general dehumanizing treatment by the white people towards the black maids. Tom Robinson’s situation is the primary focus of the novel, as he is accused of rape and despite sufficient evidence proving him innocent the jury deems him ‘guilty’. This is reflective of how prejudice affected the morality of the justice system in the 1930s to people of colour as the “jury [would not] decide in favour of a coloured man over a white man. In comparison, the film concentrates on the complexities of the lives of black maids surviving in a society where African Americans are considered lower class. The subject of the segregation of the maids’ bathrooms from the white households’ is majorly prominent in the film. This emphasises the idea of the white female characters’ inhumane opinions that sharing bathrooms is “just plain dangerous” because “they carry different diseases” and therefore would spread be when using the bathroom. “They” were also not allowed to eat at the same table as the white people or share food, and even when they were “servin’ white folks coffee” they couldn’t “hand it to them” because their “hands can’t touch”. The events in the film provide aspects of everyday life for the maids and what they had to endure just because they were a different race, whereas the novel portrays the effects on African American lives involving the legal system.

In summation, both Harper Lee and Tate Taylor illustrate prejudice through their respective works. Characters from each text are alike due to biased opinions against them based on their gender and class. There is a contrast between the novel and film through the different situations in which the theme of racism occurs.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

The Ideas of Prejudice within To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
“The Ideas of Prejudice within To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
The Ideas of Prejudice within To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2022].
The Ideas of Prejudice within To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2022 Nov 29]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.