Examine the way in which Harper Lee presents the black community in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Essay by ff15117High School, 10th grade August 2008

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The novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ written by Harper Lee contains few aspects about Maycomb black community. This links very well with one of the most important theme of the novel, racism. Harper Lee describe black community as poor, uneducated and unfairly treated people, but in the end Harper Lee tells us that black people are just like anyone else in Maycomb and they deserve to be treated equally.

To begin, Harper Lee describes black community as extremely poor, uneducated group of people. Harper Lee describe the First Purchase African M.E church as “ancient paint peeled building, the only church in Maycomb with a steeple and bell/ A few graves in the cemetery were marked with crumbling tombstone; newer ones were outlines with brightly coloured glass and broken Coca-Cola bottles”. This quotation vividly shows how poor these people are. Also, scout realise that most people in the church are not well educated.”About

four folks in First Purchased read…”/ there wasn’t school even when he was a boy this quotation tells us that majority black people cannot read, just because they didn’t have the chance to learn it. These two evidence imply to us that there are some sort of social injustices in Maycomb.

Secondly, Harper Lee shows us that black people can’t even use the same church as whites. The quote “Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white man gambled in it on weekdays” tells us that White people not only prohibit black from their church, they even gamble in the holy place where people worship in. This kind of action tells us that white man neglect not only black but also their god, even though it is the same one as the whites. ‘All man are equal’, one of the most basic belief of Christian is being neglected by them.

Lastly, Black people’s view on Tom Robinson’s case is well shown. Rather than discriminating him, they collect money for Tom’s wife and his three children. Tom’s wife is again face racial prejudice, “Helen’s finding it hard to get work these days/ if everybody in Maycomb knows what kind of folks the Ewells are they’d be glad to hire Helen” white people hated Ewell’s but they thought it would be better just to be on Ewell’s side, just because he is a white man like themselves and Tom is a black man, Tom Robinson is made into a ‘Mockingbird’ by these people.

To sum up, Harper Lee presents black community as poor people, who never had a chance to learn, as well as freedom of religion. They are discriminated by whites, just because of the different skin colour and look. In the end, this rotten mind leads to unrightful death of Tom Robinson. The clear message we get from here is that it is wrong to discriminate others just because they are different from us. Harper Lee is telling us that “its a sin to kill a mockingbird”.

489 words Source:Novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee