Jim Crow Laws in to Kill a Mockingbird Essay
Jim Crow Laws in to Kill a Mockingbird
Whites Rise, Blacks Fall
“Not only a Finch waiting on tables, but one in the courthouse lawing for n*****s!” (135). This is an insult clearly said by Mrs. Dubose, a fictional character introduced by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird. It is evident from Mrs. Dubose’s statement that blacks are discriminated against in Maycomb County, Lee’s fictional setting located in Alabama. The “Jim Crow” laws cause the inequality in the Maycomb community. The laws keep Negros from having the same rights as white citizens: “She ran to the front porch…she’s supposed to go around in back” (124). Scout, another fictional character created by Lee, is stating this. She is referring to the point that their black cook, Calpurnia, is going to the front door of a neighbor’s house instead of the back. The “Jim Crow” laws plainly explain that no Negro is supposed to go to the front of a white man’s house; blacks have to knock and enter from the back. Lee illustrates that the racial “Jim Crow” laws enforce segregation on social treatment to blacks and n*****-lovers in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Negroes are considered as trash due to the influence of the “Jim Crow” laws. Mrs. Dubose mentions “Your father is no better than the n*****s and trash he works for!” to Scout one afternoon. (135). At this point in the story, Scout is almost accustomed to having insults thrown at her, but this is the first one from a mature adult. (136). Due to the “Jim Crow” laws, blacks and people who try to restore a bit of equality are given ghastly names. Atticus, another fictitious character of Lee and is also Scout’s father, tells Scout that “n*****-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything–like snot-nose…ignorant , trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody” (144). Negroes and white citizens who do not discriminate against blacks are given the nicknames “n*****s” and “n*****-lovers”. Those who try to make life better for a colored citizen are victimized along with the blacks. “… now he’s turned out a n*****-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again” (110) Most of the white population gets to be inhumane whenever blacks are mentioned in a discussion. Atticus does not get “why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up” (117). Many colored citizens do not receive any education because of the “Jim Crow” laws. “Atticus said that Calpurnia had more education than most colored folks” (32) Due to the “Jim Crow” laws, the whites preside and discriminate against the Negros for a very long and dreary period.
In Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, there is concrete evidence of the effect of the “Jim Crow” laws on her fictional characters and setting. The blacks in the story are bullied by most of the white population. The segregating laws prevent education for the blacks and regular day-to-day privileges that whites receive. Most of all, the “Jim Crow” laws counteract fairness and equality.