To Kill A Mockingbird
To Kill A Mockingbird
The character that’s made an outsider is Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is an outsider because of his skin colour, and was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. But him being black was the main reason as to why he was the outsider. Scout and her family were also outsiders. They were made outsiders by the neighbourhood because her father Atticus was Tom Robinson’s Lawyer. What prior experiences have helped to make this person an outsider?
His skin colour for one was something he had no control over and this made him an outsider in America where racism is the norm. Another experience that helped make him an outsider was that he always helped Ewell’s kid, Mayella out all the time, for free because he “felt sorry for her” as he said when being trialled upon. His good deeds however wasn’t repaid as she falsely accused him of raping her because she was ashamed of having ever kissed a black man.
The Finch Family- just the mere fact that Atticus was representing Mr. Robinson in court made them outsiders. It was enough to have people calling them names, threatening them and having them fear their father’s life at one point when Atticus sat guard (not stood guard cos he had a chair a desk and a book out) in front of Tom’s cell when he was approached by a group of many telling him to move aside. What kinds of attitudes, opinions or ideas does this person hold? Tom Robinson was a very nice man with a wife and kids which I’m pretty sure he loved and adored.
He was a very kind man as well as he always helped Mayella Ewell out whenever she needed help and he would always do the work for free as well because he felt sorry her. He knew that her siblings hardly ever helped her out, and that she didn’t have a dime to spare on him and also had hunch that her father wasn’t the nicest person to her as well, and that was enough for her to gain his pity and kindness. Tom however feared the “whites”, not all whites or anyone in particular but the fact that whites always had the upper hand, the deciding verdict and so he ran.
He ran away from the “crime scene” (not much really, just the presence of Mr. Ewell and his Mayella, after she kissed him), because he was scared of the very predicament he found himself in, explaining himself to the jury in a court defending his innocence. He knew that he had no chance against the whites and that’s why he ran. Both times. The Finch Family was a relatively anti racist family. Atticus was very much against segragation and was sure pleased to defend Mr.
Robinson in court whereas his sister Alexandra Hancock is pretty much the opposite and always wants “what is best for the family” (13. 22) Scout compares her to Mount Everest: “throughout my early life, she was cold and there” (9. 36). But further on in the novel we see a development in her character as she shows more emotion at the shooting of Mr. Robinson. And she even hands Scout her overalls to where even though throughout the novel up until then she always preferred the picture of Scout in a dress.
Scout and Jem didn’t separate themselves from the black and instead seemed more part of the black community than they were white. Always with Calpurnia, going to church with her and even sitting in the coloured side of court during the trial. Scout was right at home when with them and didn’t feel any different about them because of their skin colour, even sleeping on Reverend Sykes lap during the first part of the trial. The family is downright appalled by the justice system and all the favouritism of the white and the segregation of coloured people.
What actions, behaviours or decisions make this person an outsider? Tom Robinson- nothing but his skin colour and his kindness made him an outsider. Atticus- Being Mr. Robinson’s lawyer, representing him in court, defending him in a rape charge was what made Atticus (and his family) outsiders. Even though he was told to defend Mr. Robinson by the (fair) Judge John Taylor, Atticus did not mind one bit. He knew that this would bring his family some trouble but he wanted to do it anyway. What challenges does the outsider face? Tom Robinson- The trial.
He was sent to jail for a crime he did not commit and ended up being shot after an attempt to break out prison. Scout and Jem- yelled remarks and called names from people at school and even old ladies sitting on porches and being the subject of everyone’s whispers. Another challenge they faced was Mr. Robert Ewell’s attack after the play at school. They would have been as good as dead if it weren’t for the great luck they had and of course if it wasn’t for Boo Radley. Atticus- A “gang” coming close to hurting him when he stayed up outside the cell one night.
The trial, was also a challenge, He knew his client was innocent and would be a difficult task to make the jury ponder over his innocence for 5 minutes at the most. His children’s lives were threatened because of a grudge gained from the trial. What consequences are there for the outsider in the text? Mr. Robinson and the Finch family, Being outsiders was the consequence of their actions. It was because of what they did ( and in Mr. Robinson’s case) who they were, that made them outsiders. How do other characters react to the outsider? Mr.
Robinson is only made an outsider by the whites (generalisation, not all whites were against him, like Mr. Finch, Judge John Taylor, Heck Tate and Dolphus Raymond to name a few) but definitely had the backing of his own people. The Finch’s – People were talking about them badly and they were the centre of gossip and even threats. They were despised by many, but like Mr. Robinson he was backed by the Coloured community and those who weren’t too keen on the whole “nigga’s always at fault” disease that almost everyone in Maycomb had caught
What themes or messages does the text convey about society or the wider world? Racism, Segregation and ill-treatment of coloured is major theme explored in the text by Harper Lee. This problem in the little town of Maycomb is just a tiny reflection in the corner of the mirror, of America at the time. And even the world, with references to Nazi Russia in the novel also bringing to light segregation in other parts of the world. She comes right out to say that the world is a racist world, with this novel and she writes to show others what is happening and that it is actually not right.
And she does so in a great way by highlighting one great injustice rather than the many and bringing to a realization how irrational and unfair the entire American Justice system was. But we also see a development in the white characters which a representative of the entire America in a sense (and the world) as thoughts and ideas change and people’s views about coloured people change, not abruptly but slow of course. The black characters in To Kill A Mockingbird contribute to the development of the white characters rather than appearing as individuals in their own right.
Racism is learnt, and with this we can see that Racism can definitely be unlearnt. How are the author’s experiences of being an outsider or attitudes towards outsiders reflected in the text? Ms Lee drew on her own childhood experience and this reflected in the text because Like Scout, Lee’s father was an attorney who defended black men accused of crimes; like Scout, Lee had a brother four years older. And many critics noticed similarities between Dill and Lee’s on childhood friend, Truman Capote. But the novel wasn’t intended to be an autobiography.
The novel looked like it was influenced by the Scottsborro Trials of the 1930’s which was pre-Civil Rights Movement era, where 2 white women accused 9 coloured men of rape and we can see many similarities to Mr. Robinson’s case. Her life and the event’s happening all around her is reflected in the plotline of the text and also the main theme running through the text of standing up for something even though the cost is high, and I think she does tying it all in and producing a great novel taking a powerful stand against racism.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 13 November 2016
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