The Theme of Prejudice and Racism in to Kill a Mockingbird Essay Example


People’s prejudice and racism can often block their view from the truth. In order to visualize the truth, one can provide evidence and show them the reality of a situation. In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee shows how one man can use knowledge and wit to set aside one’s prejudice and racism. Maycomb is a typical 1930’s town in Alabama built on racism, classism and sexism. scout, Jem and Atticus finch live in maycomb. Scout, the main character being around 9 years old grows up seeing what racism looks like and learns that it is unjust as she gets older. When Tom robinson, a black man is falsely accused of assaulting Mayella Ewell the issue is taken to court. In court, Maycomb’s prejudice is almost enough to convince  that Tom is guilty and should be punished. 

However, Atticus, Tom’s lawyer uses knowledge and wit to overpower the people’s racism as he reveals and uncover the truth behind what truly happened to Mayella Ewell. throughout Tom Robinson’s trial, Atticus fought against racism to show the people their prejudice way of thinking, and that it was wrong.

Mayella Ewell walks into court with bruises on the right side of her face and choke marks stretching around her neck. Tom calls Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father to the stand and asks him to print his name. As Mr. Ewell writes his name Atticus states “you’re left handed, Mr, Ewell.” (237) Mayella Ewell’s injuring suggest that her attacker is left handed, just like Mr, Ewell. The town’s prejudice has come to a point where if a white person is attacked and a black person may or may not have been involved, the black man will automatically be blamed. Atticus, Tom’s lawyer causes everyone to see that there are more possibilities than meets the eye, now people are becoming suspicious that Mr. Ewell could be the attacker rather than assuming it was the minority. 

Now, as Tom is called up to the stand he struggled as he “ guided his arm to the bible and his rubberlike left arm sought contact with the black binding. As he raises his right hand, the useless one slipped off the bible.” (254) tom robinson’s left arm is completely useless as it was injured some time ago. We know that Mayella’s injuries point toward someone left handed or ambidextrous to be her attacker, the people are confused when they see that Tom can barely lift his left arm or hand. This shows that it would have been extremely difficult for Tom to hit her in the right side of the face, let alone choke her while he holds her down. 

Tom states that Mayella came onto him not the other way around, Mayella tried to kiss him, saying that she wanted her first kiss and “what her papa do to her don’t count” (260) Mayella Ewell is stating that she technically has not had her first kiss because what Mr. Ewell does to her does not count. Mayella is clarifying that Mr. Ewell does abuse her. Since the people of Maycomb automatically assume that Tom abuses her, Atticus used his wit to compile this piece of evidence expressing that Tom is not the only suspect and that Bob is even more of a suspect now.

In conclusion, These pieces of evidence from to Kill a Mockingbird show how it can only take one man to use knowledge and wit to set aside many people’s prejudice and racism to reveal the truth. In this case, Atticus provided strong evidence that he knew would reveal the truth about Mayella’s attacker. Most People who live in Maycomb dwell among the past, as they look back and see all the mistakes and crimes black people have commited. They then take those crimes and mistakes through life with them, so that black people will always be looked down upon. In court, Atticus rises above and sees that these people are more than what people think about them, and while he sees this, he shares his findings with the people of Maycomb and forces them too to see this, as they form a new reputation for the black community.

 

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