To Kill a Mockingbird: Perpetual Prejudice Essay
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As George Aiken once said, “If we were to wake up some morning and find out that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.” Society just cannot function without some form of judgment or racism. Even though men are supposed to be created equal, people still act like they are better or less than others. You see it every day, whether it’s in school, work, media, etc.
Just as the quote said, if all of the modern day prejudices went away, there would be a new one very soon. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson, Arthur Radley, and Atticus Finch are targets of the prejudices of race, individuality, and bigotry.
Tom Robinson is innocent and harmless human being, yet he is still victimized on so many levels. Since Tom is a black man, he never got a fair chance for anything, whether it is a small thing or a life-deciding trial.
Also, the fact that he is living in Maycomb doesn’t exactly help him, considering that it was one of the most racist towns at that time. He also defends himself against a white man, which makes him hated even more. In Maycomb, whites are always superior, no matter how good the black man is, or how bad the white man is. In Atticus’ final words to the jury, he says,” […] confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption- the evil assumption – that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negroes are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with the minds of their caliber,” (207). That’s exactly what the jury does. They say Tom was guilty, simply because of their prejudice against race.
Another example of society’s targeting is Arthur “Boo” Radley, however most of it is indirect. Stephanie Crawford is constantly spreading rumors about Boo, and hardly any of them are true. “So Jem received most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford, a neighborhood scold, who said she knew the whole thing,” said the Narrator. People are terrified of him because of those rumors, giving him no real chance to socialize or have a friend. Also, Nathan Radley, Boo’s older brother, keeps him locked up and shut off from the real world. All Boo really wants is a friend, and because of the rumors and gossip, he can never have one. Atticus Finch, a very well-liked man, is targeted the minute that he did something that society did not accept. Atticus has different values than others. This shows by the way that he disciplines his children. Aunt Alexandria thinks Atticus should discipline them the “prim and proper” way, while Atticus teaches them to do what is right.
Even though that is a small, somewhat unimportant detail, it is still an attack on Atticus for his individuality. Atticus is also very kind to blacks, and society despises him for that. Yet, he still sticks to his moral values. Lastly, when Atticus is assigned Tom’s case, he has to do it. Maycomb thinks that he voluntarily took the case, so they start calling him various slurs, just for doing his job. Atticus could easily not care about the case and let Tom go to jail without a fight, but Atticus, as always, does what is right. After the trial, Miss Maudie says,” There are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them,” (288). Again, Atticus can give up on the case, but because he always does the right thing, he will take the name calling and hatred to defend a man who deserves a fair trial.
To Kill a Mockingbird is full of prejudices, and so is society. The quote by George Aiken says,” If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon.” The quote is entirely true and applies to the book in so many ways. Tom Robinson is innocent, yet the jury still charges him as guilty because of the prejudice of racism. Arthur “Boo” Radley is constantly being gossiped about and humiliated because of his disability. Atticus Finch is victimized for standing up for what he believes in. All three of these men are the targets of the prejudices of racism, individuality, and bigotry. Sadly, no matter who the person is, or what they do, they cannot escape the prejudices of society.