Prejudice is arguably the most prominent theme of the novel. It is directed towards groups and individuals in the Maycomb community. Prejudice is linked with ideas of fear superstition and injustice. Racial prejudice consumed the mob (pg 166), which wished to prevent Tom even gaining a court hearing, the most basic form of justice. This is probably the fiercest form of prejudice in the novel. The abolition of slavery after the civil war gave blacks the same legal position as many whites in America. This initially made Blacks’ lives harder because now the Whites saw them as competitors for jobs during the 30s depression.
Fear and paranoid led to the Whites believing that the Blacks desired all the whites had, including their women. Aunt Alexandra’s attitude to Calpurnia The Missionary tea ladies’ comments about the Blacks essaybank. co. uk Segregation of White and Black in Maycomb Dolphus Raymond – White man living with Black woman Class ; Family Group is recognised by Jem on page 249 “There are four kinds of folks in the world – – Finches & neighbours: White middle-class Cunninghams: Badly hit farming community Ewells: Lowest class of whites White Trash’ Blacks: Seen as bottom of social strata
Due to the abolition of slavery there was no longer a clear-cut line between the Ewells and the Blacks; skin colour did not make them any better. wwga gaw esgagas ayga gaba nga kcga gauk. When Tom said in the trial that he felt sorry for Mayella (a crime worse than rape in the jury’s eyes) – the lowest class showing superiority for a class above themselves.
The white community was frightened for their own position in society; the only reason Tom was found guilty was to maintain the traditional hierarchies. wwag agw esagags ayag agba nag kcag aguk. web ebw esebebs ayeb ebba neb kceb ebuk! Alexandra is obsessed with heredity and educating Scout and Jem of their superior family background – she will not allow Scout to bring home a Cunningham to play, nor will she allow her to visit Calpurnia at her home.
Everyone in Maycomb has a particular “streak- (pg 143), mean streak, drinking streak etc. There is a lot of pigeon holing families (pg 145). Gender – At the time the novel is set, women were still regarded as unequal to men. Scout learns this from: wwge gew esgeges ayge geba nge kcge geuk. Miss Maudie in terms of religion (pg 50)
Atticus in terms of the law – no women on juries Alexandra in expected terms of dress and behaviour However, there was an idealised view of women held at the time – the Southern Gentleman was excepted to be chivalrous to Southern Belles and that these women were to be protected and almost worshiped. Mayella played on this idea at the trial to blackmail the jury into defending her. LqjI Visit essaybank fg co fg uk fg for more fg Do not fg redistribute LqjI Tom Robinson’s hearing was thus not only racial, but also class and gender prejudice entered into it.
Blacks – Viewed as either evil or stupid but lovable childlike people. Tom & Calpurnia are seen as normal humans, the same as the Whites and are often more law-abiding and hardworking than some Whites.
Southern Gentleman – Atticus does not simply worship Southern Belles, but is polite in his own way to everyone equally. He is “in favour of southern womanhood as much as anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life- wwbe bew esbebes aybe beba nbe kcbe beuk:
Southern Belle – Scout does not fit into this role of a young Belle and is accordingly mocked’ by the Missionary Circle. Atticus is not concerned with making Scout into a “ray of sunshine-, although Harper Lee does make concessions here with showing Scout to be sympathetic towards the Belle image.
Harper lee’s aim for her readers seems to be to live the lives of her characters, to live Atticus’ Maxim and by doing this make them appreciate similar characters in their own communities, especially those you know little about. It is a sin’ to harm an innocent (mockingbird). Harper Lee does not suggest a quick solution to prejudice, which is why it is such a realistic book.
Symbolism – Mockingbird is the most significant symbol in the novel. Repeated image of an innocent creature to form a strong motif. Mockingbird is a type of Finch (family name significant: Atticus could view the Mockingbirds as part of his family that he ought to protect). First shown in Chpt 10 where Atticus says “shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird- (symbol for Mr Ewell?). Because mockingbirds are neither harmful nor destructive – they only make nice music for people to enjoy. from www.essaybank.co.uk wwbd bdw esbdbds aybd bdba nbd kcbd bduk!
Symbol for Boo Radley and Tom Robinson is not drawn together until the very end of the book where Scout realises that the public exposure of Boo would be “sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird-. wwcf cfw escfcfs aycf cfba ncf kccf cfuk.