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Critical Essay To Kill A Mockingbird Racism

In Harper Lee’s book, To Kill A Mockingbird, there are many examples of racism. During this time in history racism was acceptable. Racism is a key theme in her book.

Not only those who were black, but also those who affiliated with blacks, were considered inferior. Atticus, a lawyer, who defended blacks in court, was mocked. An example of this is when Mrs. Dubose said, “Your father’s [Atticus] no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” Mr. Dolphus Raymond was also criticized for affiliating with blacks, especially black females. Example is when Jem said, “He likes ‘em [blacks] better ‘n he likes us [whites], I reckon.” Basically, you were black if you “liked” blacks.

Blacks, because they were considered inferior, were expected to do everything for whites. Everything had to be perfect, without excuse. Even when Calpurnia, a Finch family friend, did not make the perfect cup of coffee, she was mocked. Book excerpt, “She [Calpurnia] poured one tablespoon of coffee into it and filled the cup to the brim with milk. I [Scout] thanked her by sticking out my tongue…”. Even when blacks did do good, they were still mocked. An example is when Aunt Alexandra said, “Jem’s growing up now and you are too. We decided that it would be best for you to have some feminine influence.” Even though Calpurnia was a female, Aunt Alexandra over-looked this, because of her race. People were so biased, it didn’t matter how good a job a black person did.

Since there was such strong racism in Maycomb, there were excuses made for whites. In the book, it was obvious that Bob Ewell was a mean man. It was also obvious that he was abusive to his daughter, Mayella, and he was the one who violated her, not Tom Robinson, because what the evidence showed. But, the people of Maycomb over-looked the evidence in favor of Tom Robinson, just because he was black.

In Harper Lee’s book, To Kill A Mockingbird, there are many examples
of racism. The legal barriers to racial equality have been torn down, and racial exclusion from the benefits of society and the rights of citizenship is no longer nearly total, as it once was. But discrimination still limits the opportunities and stifles the hopes of many black Americans and other minorities. In the realms of housing, employment, medical care, education and the administration of the criminal justice system, we are still, as the 1968 Kerner Commission Report on civil disorders warned, “two separate Americas.” At this moment in our nation’s history, it is critical that we move definitively forward in remedying the effects of discrimination. But tragically, the most successful civil rights remedies have come under attack from conservative politicians and pundits. Affirmative action, for example, which is to be credited with the creation of an increasingly diverse workforce, has come under intense criticism. Voting rights laws, which have begun to integrate the halls of Congress and state legislatures, are also under attack. As long as our society is ridden with race-based problems, we will need race-based remedies. And while we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go.

Filed Under: Literature, To Kill A Mockingbird

The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the novel as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to help get you started.

Topic #1
The theme of the mockingbird is an important one in To Kill a Mockingbird. Write a paper on the mockingbird theme in Harper Lee’s only book. Be sure to tell what a mockingbird is and tell exactly why both Boo and Tom are mockingbirds. Are fears and superstitions associated with the mockingbird theme, with Boo, and/or with Tom? Explain your answer.

Outline
I. Thesis Statement: Harper Lee uses the mockingbird theme with both Boo and Tom as examples and with fears and superstitions attached to the mockingbird and both characters.

II. Definition of a mockingbird
A. Songbird
B. Gives its music
C. Expects nothing in return
D. Does no harm
E. Sin to kill mockingbird

III. Boo
A. Like the songbird
B. Gives gifts in tree and in end protects children
C. Expects no gifts or favors in return
D. Does no harm
E. Sin to harm or kill Boo

IV. Tom
A. Like the songbird
B. Gives gifts of labor
C. Expects no gifts or favors in return
D. Does no harm
E. Sin to harm or kill Tom

V. Superstitions attached to each
A. Mockingbird
1. Sin to kill
2. Spends life giving
B. Boo
1. Rumors spread about him
2. Fear attached to him and the Radley Place
C. Tom
1. Rumors spread about him
2. Fears associated with him and his race
a. “No lady...

(The entire section is 698 words.)

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