Physical Appearance and Discrimination in Literature

Many times we make assumptions about people without really even getting to know them. All three of these stories have a character in them who are treated unfairly because of their physical appearance. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, there is a lot of racial discrimination. The Tom Robinson case is a perfect example of this. He was first accused of something he obviously didn’t do, but then lost the case, all because of his race. Harper Lee is most widely known for her books To Kill a Mockingbird, and Go Set a Watchman.

‘The Scarlet Ibis’ is about a boy and his brother Doodle, who was born with a heart condition that makes any kind of physical labor difficult. They were caught in a storm one day, and the brother left Doodle alone in the storm out of anger that he would never be normal. Doodle couldn’t keep up and, unfortunately, overworked himself and died. James Hurst wrote many short stories and plays, but ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ was the most popular work of his.

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‘The Tell Tale Heart’ is about someone who kills an old man that he lives with. He doesn’t really have a reason for killing him, other than he is convinced that the old man’s eye is evil. Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his poems and short stories and is thought to be the inventor of detective fiction. In all of these stories, someone is discriminated against because of what they look like.

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Harper Lee, James Hurst, and Edgar Allen Poe all illustrate the theme of how people make immediate assumptions of others based solely on their physical appearance using archetypes in characters and settings.

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Physical Appearance and Discrimination in Literature. (2019, Nov 30). Retrieved from

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