The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
1050 Words5 Pages
In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, many minor themes are present such as gender and age. However, the largest and therefore major theme of the book is racism. All of the events and themes in the book had only one purpose, to support the theme of racism.
One of the most important events in the book was Tom Robinson’s trial, which was unfairly judged due to the fact that the jury could not see beyond the color of Tom’s skin. The put their own racist opinions ahead of what is right and just. One of the most important events in the novel circulated around racism. However, the most focused on point of Tom’s life was not the only point in his life where racism has been shown towards him. The Ewell’s are a major source of racism towards Tom.…show more content…
This was unlike how African-Americans would act during this time-period. They would have a specific way of speaking without proper grammar. This was shown by the attitude and behavior by the members in the church. During church, if Calpurnia had acted proper she would have been seen as acting like a Caucasian and seen as racist. To prevent this, she acted like everybody else.
Calpurnia’s son Zeebo is another example of racism. In everyday society, he is seen as just a low garbage man however, in church he is one of the most important figures as he is one of only four members of the church who can read. In addition, he leads the hymns since he can read. In the church, the method used for the hymns is the "repeat after me" method. Zeebo starts a line of the hymns and the line is the repeated by the rest of the church. Instead of just being a lowly garbage man, which is what the Caucasian population of Maycomb County, sees him, as he is a very important figure in the eyes of the African- American church members.
Although racism was commonly present in Maycomb County, many individuals were non-racist. One example of this was Atticus. Atticus was a prime example of non-racism in the novel. He was one of the few homeowners who appreciated his African-American housekeeper; he treated Calpurnia as a person and was humane to her. In most cases, the homeowner would be mean to her however, since Atticus was non-racist, he was kind to her. In addition, he even
In Harper Lee’s book, To Kill A Mockingbird, there are many examples of racism. During this time in history racism was acceptable. Racism is a key theme in her book.
Not only those who were black, but also those who affiliated with blacks, were considered inferior. Atticus, a lawyer, who defended blacks in court, was mocked. An example of this is when Mrs. Dubose said, “Your father’s [Atticus] no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” Mr. Dolphus Raymond was also criticized for affiliating with blacks, especially black females. Example is when Jem said, “He likes ‘em [blacks] better ‘n he likes us [whites], I reckon.” Basically, you were black if you “liked” blacks.
Blacks, because they were considered inferior, were expected to do everything for whites. Everything had to be perfect, without excuse. Even when Calpurnia, a Finch family friend, did not make the perfect cup of coffee, she was mocked. Book excerpt, “She [Calpurnia] poured one tablespoon of coffee into it and filled the cup to the brim with milk. I [Scout] thanked her by sticking out my tongue…”. Even when blacks did do good, they were still mocked. An example is when Aunt Alexandra said, “Jem’s growing up now and you are too. We decided that it would be best for you to have some feminine influence.” Even though Calpurnia was a female, Aunt Alexandra over-looked this, because of her race. People were so biased, it didn’t matter how good a job a black person did.
Since there was such strong racism in Maycomb, there were excuses made for whites. In the book, it was obvious that Bob Ewell was a mean man. It was also obvious that he was abusive to his daughter, Mayella, and he was the one who violated her, not Tom Robinson, because what the evidence showed. But, the people of Maycomb over-looked the evidence in favor of Tom Robinson, just because he was black.
In Harper Lee’s book, To Kill A Mockingbird, there are many examples
of racism. The legal barriers to racial equality have been torn down, and racial exclusion from the benefits of society and the rights of citizenship is no longer nearly total, as it once was. But discrimination still limits the opportunities and stifles the hopes of many black Americans and other minorities. In the realms of housing, employment, medical care, education and the administration of the criminal justice system, we are still, as the 1968 Kerner Commission Report on civil disorders warned, “two separate Americas.” At this moment in our nation’s history, it is critical that we move definitively forward in remedying the effects of discrimination. But tragically, the most successful civil rights remedies have come under attack from conservative politicians and pundits. Affirmative action, for example, which is to be credited with the creation of an increasingly diverse workforce, has come under intense criticism. Voting rights laws, which have begun to integrate the halls of Congress and state legislatures, are also under attack. As long as our society is ridden with race-based problems, we will need race-based remedies. And while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.
Filed Under: Literature, To Kill A Mockingbird