Intolerance in to Kill a Mockingbird
The theme of intolerance is fully explored in the case of Tom Robinson and the underlying racism shown in the treatment of him. Intolerance is met by all three main characters, Scout, Atticus and Jem but is experience by many of the other supporting characters. There was no one kind of intolerant person; they all came from different background, which is testimony to the point of the book ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of views. ’ This quote shows that you have no idea why a person does what they do until you experience things from their point of view. This idea is why the trial happened, and explains why Tom was accused of raping Mayella. The racism shown in Maycomb has been a part of the town for a long time and is ingrained in the society’s mindset. …I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. ’ When Atticus says usual disease he is referring to his experiences in Maycomb ‘Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand’. This shows that from what Atticus can see no matter what happens if something goes wrong with a black person in Maycomb the people will go crazy until they get their way with them whether that be in trial or attack.
And due to what is said earlier we assume it has always been this way which would explain why in the novel we see how a person’s race can turn another person against them for no good reason but that they had grown up that way and believing they are superior. In the novel we see how an innocent man is used as an object of elevation to propel an insecure man forward in the judgemental society he lives in. This is done with Bob Ewell and Mayella accusing Tom Robinson of raping Mayella despite it being next to impossible.
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Bob Ewell takes Tom to court because he is unhappy with his position in society and he and his family are described as filthy humans and uneducated and sees the joy Tom has in his life as an opportunity to propel himself by appealing to Maycomb’s feelings towards Black people. We know this to be true when Bob says something in court that is offensive to appeal to the white folk, ‘…I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella! ’ after that a ruckus begins meaning Bob succeeded in his plan. This idea of propelling yourself y taking someone else down displays that Bob knows because he is white and Tom is Black he will have the support of the majority, in fact even family members of Atticus support him. Throughout the novel Atticus and his family are judged and condemned for defending a black man, for example the constant comments directed to the children by Mrs Dubose ‘…Not only a Finch waiting on tables but one in the court-house lawing for niggers! ’ This shows that the public disapprove of their actions but they are not alone.
Because they grew up in Maycomb and didn’t grow as a person like Atticus we see his own family attack and condemn Atticus, ‘I can’t say I approve of everything he does. ’ This quotes shows that even living with Atticus and seeing why he does what he does without being raised by him Alexandra still shows he intolerant views but she is less stern than she was at the beginning of the book ‘’ so we assume she is starting to come and see his ways we know she was fully against him as her own son had picked up on her use of the term ‘…nigger-lover. This shows that when a person is exposed to common sense and a fair view of all people they can begin to change. Ultimately throughout Harper Lee’s novel, we see that despite what is good and right the majority of people in the town are intolerant to black people because that is how they were raised. We witness the growth of many characters in the novel from their views to another in particular Alexandra finally begins to see why her beliefs were bad but we also see Atticus’s children begin to understand all that is wrong with society.
Not only that but we witness people take advantage of people for their own gains ignoring all rational and fair thoughts. To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about people no understanding why people do what they do, which relates to the central quotes of the novel, book ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of views. ’ Harry Adam.