Prejudice and Tolerance in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

1064 Words Apr 25th, 2008 5 Pages
“Prejudice and Tolerance.”
By Elizabeth Cassar, Laura Furze, and Angelica Newbond

During the 1930’s depression, there was a great divide between black and white America. There were many communities and groups who had been exposed to the same treatment and persecution as the Negroes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee has used a small town setting, such as that in To Kill a Mockingbird, to illustrate America’s views on white supremacy and the inferiority of the black race. The author has illustrated view that are expressed world-wide through her characters in Maycomb county.

In the small town of Maycomb, prejudice towards Negroes was a common sentiment of white people. Prejudice is strongly evident between these cultures in To Kill
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The mere fact that Tom was a Negro and Mayella was white gave Mayella the automatic edge to win the case. White dominance was a major role in society in the 1930’s. Being of a white complexion gained a person automatic superiority, power and advantages in life. Negroes were considered the bottom rank of society and not worthy of the same life and opportunities as white people.

In addition to prejudice shown to Tom Robinson and Negroes, the citizens of Maycomb formed preconceived ideas about an echo of a man that was a prisoner in his own home. Mr Arthur “Boo” Radley was hiding from a past that he could not forget. “From the day Mr Radley took Arthur home, people said the house died” (p.12). As with anything that has an involved background, different ways, and an uncertain future, the town was quick to gossip about him, and even quicker to condemn is character. Gossip was quick to circulate about him which influenced the games of Scout, Jem and Dill and added an element of fascination about him. “…. Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her….said his head was like a skull lookin’ at her….” (p. 13). The town took advantage of Boo Radley’s situation and spread rumours, and therefore formed opinions that were prejudiced, without any difficulty because he was not able to defend himself. Any crime that was committed in Maycomb that had

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