The Great Divide
In Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, racism and injustice are important themes, as they recur all throughout the book. In human history, one of the most severe cases of racism occurred in the South in the 1930's, and it reached the point where the victims of the racism, African Americans, weren't even considered humans anymore, therefore justifying the horrendous conditions they were forced to endure. Harper Lee writes about a trial of an African American in which logic and reasoning is replaced with racism and white superiority. The divisions in Maycomb County are caused mainly by two reasons, the most distinguished one is the extreme racial prejudice and hatred that the town displays towards the African Americans, and the second is the heredity system that gives Maycomb County a strict caste system that unfairly determines a person's social status.
Maycomb County is plagued with racial prejudice, causing the town to condemn Tom Robinson only because of their need to uphold white superiority, even though all the evidence in the case points in Tom's favor.
While his lawyer Atticus is talking to Uncle Jack, Scout overhears Atticus explain "Maycomb's usual disease", which causes "reasonable people to go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up"(117). Atticus knows that the Tom Robinson case will provoke strong feelings of hatred towards African Americans, and anyone who defends them. As Atticus says, whenever white superiority comes into question, reasonable people lose all sense of their logic and will do anything to uphold the unwritten rule of society. When Bob Ewell is being crossexamined by Atticus in court, Bob tells the court that "[he] seen that black nigger yonder ruttin on [his] Mayella!"(231). Even though Ewell has not one shred of credibility, he knows that all he has...