To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
Prejudice towards different people is a huge part of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird novel. Nearly every little mishap in the book has been somehow linked or caused by prejudice. Naturally, the town of Maycomb is affected by it, and the effect isn’t for the best. Prejudice is a destructive force in Maycomb, bringing nothing to the town. The cause of Maycomb being destroyed is prejudice spreading hatred throughout the town, separating the people, and excluding and enabling members of the town to fully get what they need.
There is a lot of hatred spread throughout Maycomb County. The town is filled with prejudice people spreading their prejudice ways to other people, or to the younger generations. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout comes home from school with racist language on her tongue, and hate for a kid in her class. Even though her father, Atticus, tries to teach his kids that being prejudice is bad, Scout picks it up anyway, from her other social activities. Another example is Francis, Jem and Scout’s cousin.
His grandmother, known as Aunt Alexandra, is extremely prejudiced against black, poor, and weird people. This is a trait she has obviously spread to her grandson, and it is proven when he calls Atticus a ‘black-person lover’, tempting Scout to punch him. The third example from To Kill a Mockingbird is how Bob Ewell spits in Atticus’s face because Atticus was defending Tom, a convicted black man. Atticus was just doing his job as a lawyer, but since Bob Ewell is a prejudiced man, he felt the need to tell Atticus his place in the world, and in his mind, it’s not among the black people.
All these people are consumed by hate by what the older, or other generation has burned into their brains, that it’s right to treat people based on what they look like, or believe in. Prejudice is also a destructive force because it physically and mentally separates the people of Maycomb. There are ‘groups’ in Maycomb, which are marked by one or more trait that all of the members of the group have similarly. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the people of Maycomb have two types of churches; a black-person church, and a white-person church.
When Scout and Jem are taken to Calpurnia’s black-only church, it’s a surprise for all of the members of the church. At first the people react in an unpleasant way to their arrival, but then they get used to the idea of white people in their church. Another example is how the Ewells are separated from the rest of Maycomb. The Ewells are very economically unstable, so they live behind the town dump, isolated from the rest of the town. Dolphus Raymond and his family are another example of isolated residents of Maycomb.
Dolphus Raymond is a white man, who is married to a black woman. In Maycomb, that is an unspeakable scandal, because blacks and whites aren’t supposed to mix. He and his kids and wife are separated from the rest of society because they are different. Jem calls Raymond’s half-white-half-black kids sad because they don’t belong anywhere. The white people don’t want to have anything to do with them because they are black, and the blacks don’t want them because they’re white.
These groups are divided by thin but defined lines and people aren’t encouraged to cross them. This causes separation and it leads to the town being divided into multiple groups, all because of prejudice. Being excluded or not being able to get what you need because of prejudice is another reason why it’s a destructive force in Maycomb. The groups of people in Maycomb rarely allow different people to interact with each other. Sometimes, people get excluded because of the colour of their skin, or by the amount of money they carry in their pockets.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Helen Robinson, the wife of the convicted black man, can’t find a job after her husband gets accused of rape. She needed to support her family by getting a job, but nobody wanted to employ her because of what her husband was rumored to have done. Prejudice against Tom Robinson lead to his wife and kids not being able to get what they needed. Another example of exclusion in To Kill a Mockingbird is when Aunt Alexandra wouldn’t let Scout play with Walter Cunningham because he was poor. She says that his family is different from the Finches, and that he wasn’t as good as them.
She also places certain families of Maycomb into groups that exclude the rest of the town from their activities. An example of this is when she ways that all Penfield women are flighty, after a Penfield girl giggled during church. According to her, all Maycomb families have a streak of their own, and that places them into their own groups. This lead s to exclusion from various other groups, because people don’t think you belong with them, and not being able to get what you want. If a person can’t feed their kids or support themselves, they can’t lead a good life.
In all forms of prejudice, whether its racism, sexism, or ageism, it brings no good to Maycomb County, and is a destructive force to the small town. The town of Maycomb is the discriminating way it is because of prejudice people spreading hatred throughout the town, separating the people, and excluding and enabling citizens of the town to fully get what they need. Mainly all of the problems in the novel are caused by prejudice, and slowly but surely, the people of the town will have to see the effects of their ways, and their town will destruct if the prejudice people don’t change.