To Kill A Mocking Bird

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

download word file, 3 pages 3.0

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." King's quote exposes how injustice only leads to greater injustices. In addition, it proves that injustices occur even in small communities. Thus, the injustices that occur in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird are only semi-surprising. This issue is addressed by Harper Lee through three main themes, racial, gender, and societal injustice.

Racial injustice is clearly the largest theme in To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom Robinson is plagued by horrific racial injustices. Tom, an obviously innocent man, should have never even been tried in the first place. However, since Tom was a black man, he was tried and convicted without question. As stated by Atticus, the verdict in Tom Robinson's trial was, "An inevitable verdict…"(pg.222). The verdict was predetermined solely by the color of Tom's skin. The verdict may have differed, if not for the role of another injustice.

That injustice being the ban on persons of color as members of the jury. Another key injustice taking place in the novel is how people of color were shunned from the main community. Mrs. Merriweather provides an example with her following quote, "…yes you're as good as we are, but stay away from us"(pg.234). Mrs. Merriweather also foolishly states that white people treat black people equally; further revealing the cruel injustice in Maycomb.

The extremely focused theme of gender injustice provides an interesting twist. Scout is harshly subjected to this gender injustice at a fairly young age. Aunt Alexandra is not willing to let Scout be who she wants to be; instead she must act like a proper "lady". Scout's behavior is judged inappropriate only because of her being a female. Gender injustice occurs on a broader scale with no women being allowed on the jury.