AKE 108 (01)
Res. Assist. Bülent Ayy?ld?z
May 30, 2018
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel ,written by Harper Lee and it deals with the issues of race, class and gender roles. The novel is staged in the ‘tired old town’ of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s. This was the time when discrimination was very harmful. The narrator in the novel is called Scout Finch, and the story is told through Scout’s perspective. Scout’s innocent perspective compels her to ask questions about why whites treat blacks the way they do. Scout must come to terms with the racism of her town and how it affects the people in her life. The mentality of most southern people reflected that of the nation. Most of the people were racist and discriminatory. The main theme of the novel is prejudice. In To Kill a Mockingbird, forms of prejudice including racism, classism, and sexism are portrayed by Maycomb’s citizens.
Pierre Berton, a famous author once wrote “Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.” This quote illustrates the 1930s’ destruction caused by the disease of racism. Racism never stopped during this time, it kept moving. Therefore, the 1930s’ racial discrimination made it a huge struggle for the African Americans in their daily life. There was no justice for a black man in 1930s’ Alabama town as well. In the book, almost every character is involved in a situation that contains prejudice. For instance, Tom Robinson is a kind person, in the middle of the story it talks about how Tom is a kind person. He helps Mayella whenever she needed help (Lee, 197). Scout got to know Tom a better than before and comes out saying to his dad that Tom was a kind and nice guy (281). How Tom helps Mayella is that he fixes a door and chifferobe for her. He feels sorry for her and kindly helps her no matter what needs to be fixed. Tom being so kind to a white person surprised others because usually black people are not so kind and caring for a white person like Mayella. Tom helps Mayella without hesitation because he knows that no one is available to help Mayella and he feels bad about that. The main emotion in this is Tom is feeling sorry for Mayella that no one is helping her. On the other hand, others view him as a guy who committed a crime of raping Mayella and physically harassing her (185). Since this got turned into a court case. Tom Robinson in the story during his trial is a character versus society conflict because usually the white people would side with the white and the black people would side with the black people. In this case, the jury is all white people that believe Tom is guilty. They believe that Tom is guilty for his crime of raping and harassing Mayella. Using the evidence provided, Tom has to try and prove that he is innocent in this crime and should be free. During this time, there is tons of segregation going on. In this case, it is a black versus white, or Tom Robinson versus the whites (203). Most of the whites are going to be siding with the whites no matter what type of evidence is presented. They know that black people like Tom is going to lose. Even though Atticus’s evidence was pretty powerful, it will not change the fact that the jury, who consist of white people, will change their relationship with the blacks and make it a fair trial. During the time of the book, it was the time of 1930s’ when segregation and racism was happening. When it did come to the jury to decide if Tom is guilty or not, the whole jury thought Tom was guilty even though the evidence provided was good enough to say Tom is innocent (211). Judge Taylor reads Tom’s guilty verdict towards the end of Chapter 21. Immediately before reading the verdict, Scout notices that the jury refuses to look at Tom Robinson. Sheriff Tate then hands Judge Taylor a piece of paper with the jury’s final decision written on it. Judge Taylor then reads the verdict by saying, “Guilty…guilty…guilty…guilty…” (233). Scout says that each “guilty” is a “separate stab” between Jem’s shoulders. Jem and other children lose In the end, Tom lost the battle against society because of his color.
In addition, what Calpurnia experienced in the book is another example of racial prejudice. Calpurnia is the loyal housekeeper for Finch family. She came in to help Atticus with his children, Scout and Jem, after the death of their mother. Calpurnia is a black woman and a mother figure to Atticus’ children, but Aunt Alexandra thinks she is not a good role model for Scout and asked Atticus to tell Calpurnia that there is no need for her to remain in the house anymore. Knowing her good influence on his children, Atticus got very angry with his sister and told her that Calpurnia was a member of the family and would not be leaving until she was ready to leave. Additionally, Aunt Alexandra doesn not like to talk important matters “in front of Calpurnia and them”.