Mob Mentality To Kill A Mockingbird

Superior Essays
Hitler, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. are three people who are known worldwide for trying to change the world either for better or for worse. In these peoples’ lives, what common issue drove their motives and actions? Racism. Racism is what people often associate slaves, African Americans, and even common problems in today’s society (such as the riot “Black Lives Matter”) with. However, the argument can be made that racism was a much larger problem in the 1930s, which is when the events of To Kill a Mockingbird took place. In her book, Harper Lee incorporated real-life occurrences into the plot. With these events, connections can be made to the Jim Crow laws, mob mentality, and the issue of racism in the time period of the 1930s. …show more content…
To begin, mob mentality refers “to unique behavioral characteristics that emerge when people are in large groups” (Smith). Mob mentality is also considered “the sense of confusion or even panic that can exist in a large group” (Smith). This idea can be shown in current examples such as the instance that many people will go to an already-crowded restaurant for the reason that they figure the restaurant must be serving good food, or it would not be nearly as busy (Smith). Mob mentality has also been a part of events in the past. For example, on one night in a town in Indiana, a few black men were going to be lynched. Even though nobody knew the reason for this punishment, many whites gathered around to watch and started to beat the men with whatever they could get their hands on just because a few people’s anger traveled throughout the mob (“Strange Fruit: Anniversary of a Lynching,” NPR radio diaries). This is an example of mob mentality because people had the courage to beat the men when in a group, but alone, they would not have been nearly as mad or willing to show their anger. A photo taken at this lynching shows that white people of all kinds (men, women, children, and even pregnant women) came to this lynching. It shows that this form of punishment was not uncommon to these people, which is shown as a result of their neutral faces. The picture ultimately shows how the black people were viewed according to the …show more content…
Harper Lee connects many of the events to the idea of the Jim Crow laws, mob mentality, and racism. All of these ideas are present in To Kill a Mockingbird to show just how wrong the system of living for people in the 1930s truly was. The Jim Crow laws were a set of unfair laws that showed the world how inferior blacks were to whites, which is shown at Calpurnia’s church, in the instance of Tom’s response during his testimony, and the ways the whites spoke to the blacks. Mob mentality is the study of how the behaviors of people are affected when they are part of a mob rather than by themselves. This is shown when a mob comes to hurt Tom Robinson, when Mr. Cunningham’s personal opinions were set aside while part of the mob, and when the kids at Scout’s school bully her. People tend to be racist for many reasons, including to boost their self-esteem and to prove their superiority. In the novel, racism was shown during the trial, at Calpurnia’s church, and through the ways Aunt Alexandra views Cal. All of these points considered, it can be made clear that the real-life events that Harper Lee included in her book To Kill a Mockingbird have connections to the Jim Crow laws, mob mentality, and

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