Social Inequality In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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The American south in the 1930’s was a place of much inequality, including economical, political, and the most prominent, racial. At this time, the U.S. economy was in a rapid decline due to the Great Depression, while social tension was exacerbated due to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. These conditions led to a society in which nearly everyone was poor, and the sole qualification of one’s place in society where the color of their skin and their last name. The novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee tells the story of a two siblings who are brought up in Maycomb, Alabama in the American South. As they attempt to navigate through their childhood, they soon become aware of the deeply rooted social injustices in their once thought …show more content…
This concept of prejudice within a race is manifested when Jem, one of the siblings, who lives a privileged life describes the social pyramid on which he presides on the top of as having, “four kinds of folks... the ordinary kind, like us and the neighbors, there 's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes" (226). After living their whole life benefiting from systemic classism, the privileged citizens of Maycomb are desperate to use any means necessary to preserve the system. Unfortunately, Jem fell into the endless cycle, which occurs all too often. Despite his good intentions, he acquired the same prejudice attitude as his peers. Luckily, his innocent younger sister rejects his claim and shares her opinion that, ¨there´s just one kind of folks. Folks¨ (227). The author includes this quote to help us see how society can sometimes corrupt our thoughts, as it did to Jem. Throughout the novel, Jem is a constant proponent of racial equality, but after living his whole life putting people into groups based on income, he fails to see the hypocrisy in his statement. This quote also shows that it doesn’t matter who, where or why, any form of inequality cannot be rightfully justified. Although it is human nature to judge people off of preconceived ideas, it is true humanity to judge a person by who they truly

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