Racial Injustice In To Kill A Mockingbird Essay Questions
Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Essay
1497 Words6 Pages
Racism was a very large part of society in the south during the 1930’s. Many colored people were thought of as less than their peers. Whites were considered better than African Americans were, and almost every white person accepted the unjust judgment. Racial discrimination hit hard in the south. Many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird were impacted by racial discrimination, including Calpurnia, Scout, and Tom Robinson and his family. One of the more “accepted” sorts of racism in the 1930’s was in the home. Many families had African American housekeepers, and the Finch’s were one of those families. When Aunt Alexandra moved in, she created some turbulence with Calpurnia. When Atticus was talking about how a man despised…show more content…
When Tom Robinson was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, First Purchase, as well as the Finches, backed him up. They went out of their way to make sure he got what he deserved: freedom. Reverend Sykes makes sure that if Tom Robinson is falsely accused, his wife, Helen, and their children will not have to deal with the harsh world that they live in alone. “Reverend Sykes then said, ‘I want all of you with no children to make a sacrifice and give one more dime apiece. Then we’ll have it’”(Lee 163). They scrounge up their money little by little, even though they may need it for important things like food and clothes, knowing it is going to a family more in need than their own. Though Calpurnia and the people involved in Calpurnia’s life are greatly impacted, Jean Louise Finch, a.k.a. Scout, deals with more confusion and frustration brought on by racial discrimination. During a day at school, Scout encountered Cecil Jacobs and his ignorant mind. “Atticus had promised me he would wear me out if he ever heard of me fighting any more… I soon forgot. Cecil Jacobs made me forget. He had announced in the schoolyard the day before that Scout Finch’s daddy defends niggers”(Lee 99). Scout did not realize what this meant, but she was hurt by it any way. Scout is affected by a copious amount of racism, she just has no clue what is zipping around her. When she confronted Atticus about him defending Negroes, he said of course he does, and to not use
Tom Robinson and the black community, in the novel, are rendered victims of social injustice simply because they are black. Tom was accused of rape and the trial which he was supposed to participate in was just merely a formality. His conviction was inevitable as a black man’s word against a white man’s word was powerless. It is this fact that characterizes all the issues between the black and white communities at that time. That is the reason why blacks for such a long time suffered and struggled under the white man’s hand to become equal, because the white man had taken everything they had right down to the thing that every human being needs; the freedom of thought and action. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life,” Tom Robinson’s last fight for freedom was when he tried to escape imprisonment and ran away from the guards, only to be shot by the guards several times. The guards undoubtedly tried to kill Tom and not just stop him from running like Heck Tate said. The murder of Tom is a perfect example of the way the black community was victimized by social injustice.
Despite the Ewell’s being white people, they are too victims of social injustice. The main reasons for this are the way the family is run by Bob Ewell and the financial position of the family. The children weren’t raised properly and are very filthy in all aspects. They are pretty much illiterate and are troublemakers. To make matters worse, Bob Ewell has a reputation of a Drunk. The only “normal” member of the Ewell’s family, Mayella, has to suffer from her dad abusing her and the laborious task of looking after the other children. The main problem for her is that she can’t do anything about it; she is stuck there forever because she can’t leave the children alone and she can’t fend for herself if she decides to run away, primarily because she won’t be accepted into the community. Mayella and the Ewell family are all victims of social injustice
Boo (Arthur) Radley is one of the main victims of the social injustices that the Maycomb community happily provides. When he was little he was involved in several mishaps that resulted in him being locked away inside. Ever since, there has been a reputation of a killer or murderer placed upon him. The fact that he isn’t allowed to leave the confines of his house is analogous to a life in prison. This is because his family didn’t want him to get into more trouble after his trial as a teenager. Now for the rest of his life, Boo is imprisoned by his own family due to them worrying about their family’s social status. Not only is Boo restricted to the confines of his own house, he also has to wear the burden of a ghastly person or a ghost that haunts his house and walks around at night peeking at little children through their bedroom windows. This could easily put Boo Radley on par with Tom Robinson who is repressed and forced to go along with what the white society tells him to because if he doesn’t, he is as good as dead. Boo’s savior act at the end of the novel, however, was justified and Boo Radley was spared an inquest. Boo’s act was his key to freedom and quite possibly ended his struggle for social justice in the eyes of the reader.
Despite the different origins to their problems, all the characters suffer from social injustice in the Maycomb community. They are all looked down upon and repressed. There are different ways that these characters are affected by social injustice. The black community is considered sub-human and is limited to what it can do in every aspect of life. Tom Robinson is a good example of the evildoings of the white people against the black community. Boo Radley is an example of false accusations by the community and the Ewell’s are repressed because of their social class.