How the Town of Maycomb Strongly Demonstrates Social Iniquity

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 14 October 2016

How the Town of Maycomb Strongly Demonstrates Social Iniquity

People can be unfair, unjust, and downright cruel. In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, there is a good demonstration by the members of Maycomb’s society of the theme of social iniquity that has very strong supporting evidence towards this opinion. Many different acts are shown to price the county of Maycomb is biased and unfair to its members. It proves things are not as they seem considering the fact that the county of Maycomb is a very proper and ‘classy’ group of people, to some extent. But, as many people read, they notice there are hidden things involved in this ‘not so proper’ place. People in Maycomb are biased towards others based on their colour, job, age, gender, age or family. In more than one way are people discriminated and treated differently due to these aspects of them. Examples that are shown in the novel of social inequity the difference in treatment from a white man compared to a black man, the missionary circle or the different age groups in Maycomb.

In the county, there are a group of ladies that like to get together and ‘talk’ about situations that go on in Maycomb and get each other’s input on each of the situations that are brought up. They like to call themselves the missionary circle. Some people think that this group is just a group built to gossip. “I heard Mrs. Grace Merriweather giving her report in the living room on the equalled lives of the mrunas, it sounded to me. They put the women out in huts when their time came, whatever that was; they had no sense of family- I knew that’d distress Aunty.” (Lee, 121). This quote is simply just an example of what the missionary circle talks about. They find different topics and news about the county and gather around at different locations to talk about it, acting as if they are a club.

They all have different opinions, sometimes belittling different figures or characters in the novel. Some of the opinions given from the members reflect upon other members opinions of situations or characters making some opinions bias. Some of the things said by the missionary circle’s members can be untrue. Since the characters or figures that are being spoken about are not there to defend or give their point of view, this makes the judgement unfair. “I tell you there are some good but misguided people in the town. Good but misguided.” (124). This quote is in reference to Atticus. Some people could say this quote has a significant impact on this novel because it opens the discussion of the group up to different people in the town and the judgement, sometimes false, that they get from people.

Everyone has their own opinions of others, sometimes their opinion is part of someone else’s. The missionary circle’s members are socially high in the rankings from the opinions of others. They tend to be the ‘popular’ group in Maycomb which is why Alexandra wanted to join the group in the first place. The members of the missionary circle consider themselves fine upstanding Christian women of Maycomb. The missionary circle talks about different people in Maycomb and where they are ranked in the social standards to their perspective. The black people of Maycomb tend to be a topic the group talks about and most of the rest of the county.

In the novel, people tend to make it seem as though black people are treated very poorly compared to white people. White people think they are better than them and consider it a crime if a black man beats a white man in any way shape or form. This is when Tom Robinson comes into play. He is a huge aspect of the book. He is put into trial for supposedly raping Mayella Ewell. When the court date comes, the information gathered from both sides point to Tom as being innocent. Many people suspect Mr. Bob Ewell was the man that beat Mayella for coming to a black man. Evidence suggest that Tom Robinson only losses his case because of his colour. Even in the courtroom, people are divided by their colour and class. The black people of the crowd have to sit on the balcony while the white folk sit on the floor.

This is discrimination against the black race. They are treated differently than the white people because of false and prejudice judgement and opinions of others. “A white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white man always wins.”(Lee, 243) This quote is a significant piece of evidence that represents the injustice and biased treatment against black people in Maycomb. This can also demonstrate the fact of how Maycomb tends to be bias towards characteristics of people or families that are out of their control such as age, gender, wealth, race or even your family. Everything the people in Maycomb are is based upon these factors that are out of their control. Atticus tells Scout “It’s not okay to hate anybody.” (pg. 246). This quote is significant because Atticus is trying to tell Scout that you can’t not like anyone for no reason.

He is telling her not to judge a book by its cover. He could be suggesting giving everyone a chance before you give them a negative judgement. In a way, Atticus is trying to navigate Scout away from the common disease in Maycomb of false judgement unlike the rest of Maycomb. Not many people see how they are unfair to each other but it tends to stand out to Atticus which is why he tries to treat people fairly. Atticus also tries teaching Jem and Scout to be respectful to elders and the adults in Maycomb. There are different cases for different people that are older that the kids don’t understand and Atticus is trying to make them appreciate them without telling them their situations.

In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the role of adults is huge. When Scout first goes to school, her first teacher, Mrs. Caroline Fisher, doesn’t know the customs of the county so she  assumes something about the Cunningham’s family. She doesn’t know that the Cunningham’s don’t take anything they couldn’t pay back so it seemed as though she got offended when Walter didn’t take the quarter. Everyone in the class knows what the Cunningham’s are like so when this happens, the class reacted surprised. Mrs. Fisher did not show an act of false judgement which shows that things change in Maycomb. Over time, people begin to look at different situations a bias way due to the perspectives of others. She also doesn’t like the fact that Scout can read. It seems as though she was discouraged by a child’s knowledge and didn’t know how to react towards it. “Jem and I hated her.

If she was on the porch when we passed, we would be raked by her wrathful gaze, subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding our behavior, and given a melancholy prediction on what we would amount to when we grew up, which was always nothing.” (Lee, 13). This quote shows the false judgement on Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose on the children. Most of the adults in Maycomb do not fully respect Jem and Scout. This is because of their age; something they cannot control. People treat them differently based on this because nobody stands up for them except themselves. The adults have no reason to follow along in someone else’s footsteps in this aspect because no one is making the footsteps for anyone to follow in. “Stephanie Crawford even told me once she woke up in the middle of the night and found him looking in the window at her.

I said what did you do, Stephanie, move over in the bed and make room for him? That shut her up a while.” (48). The meaning of this quote could be interpreted many different ways. Mrs. Maudie is saying this about Boo Radley. He is a very mysterious man. Many people in the town have made false accusations about him, not knowing who he truly is, not even what he looks like. Boo is considered a complete outcast to Maycomb. It is as though he doesn’t exist. People don’t even put the initiative to get to know Boo Radley because if they did, they would be considered weird. Mrs. Maudie is, in a way, sticking up for Boo because she doesn’t believe in false judgement. This is Mrs. Maudie showing the opposite of what most adults in Maycomb.

People in Maycomb tend to follow other people. This is when a movement happens. The movement in the novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is social iniquity because of the decisions made upon the citizens in Maycomb. In a way, the missionary circle is a group of people looking for followers in order to continue their ‘club’ and stream of gossip. People in Maycomb discriminate different people due to their race. This is why black man is considered to be less than a white man in Maycomb’s social standards. It is a cruel judgement which is why everyone should be given a fair chance before they are given a label. People also judge people by their age.

All of these discriminating factors are things you cannot control. It is downright cruel and unfair. Social inequity is something quite simple that should be fixed. Many crucial factors in the novel end up being decided by discrimination. Most people in Maycomb don’t want to break the trend of discrimination and start a new movement by standing up for what is right. It could be very easy to fix. Why carry it on? There isn’t a point. People just end up being punished or judged due to these factors which isn’t right. People shouldn’t be judged on aspects of themselves that they can’t control. Don’t be a follower, be a leader.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 14 October 2016

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