Explore how the theme of prejudice is conveyed in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Essay by bluevase March 2004

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To Kill A Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee, and is set in the Deep South of the thirties. Lee was herself born and raised in Alabama, so she would have had direct experience of the situation she writes of in the novel. Although it does not deal with civil rights as such - for example, the right to vote - it is greatly concerned with the humanity of those who lived in such a discriminatory society. The bigotry of some of the characters in the novel greatly resembles that of those who live in the South, where the fictional Maycomb County is located, at around the same time.

Different forms of prejudice are an important part of To Kill A Mockingbird; primarily, racism. This theme is covered from many different angles or points of view, and in this way the reader is able to observe how different groups of people act in relation to this theme - this theme of prejudice that is demonstrated on many levels, so that almost any reader can gain an understanding of people's attitudes at that time.

For example, in perhaps the most blatant display of racial discrimination and inhumanity, Maycomb's actions towards Tom Robinson, the man on trial. As there are so many incidents when this prejudice as shown on some degree, the reader is able to explore this theme throughout the novel.

There are times in To Kill A Mockingbird when we read of one individuals form of prejudice, and can see how people felt about the issue at the time. In Scout's classroom we read about how one teacher, Miss Gates, taught that Jews were being persecuted by the Nazis. According to Miss Gates these goes against the teachings of Christ, and she finds Hitler's actions despicable. The hypocrisy of...