Is "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, a book about man's inhumanity to man, or a story about courage and hope?

Essay by juicebox12High School, 10th gradeA+, August 2003

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Harper Lee's famous book, 'To Kill a Mockingbird', is one of society's most treasured examples of writing. It has won a Pulitzer Prize, amongst other prestigious writing awards, and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. It has been turned into a movie, and is even a standard part of high school syllabus in most countries. But what angle is Ms Lee trying to convey? Is it illustrating man's inhumanity to man in Alabama at that point in time, or was it conveying a symbol of courage and hope?

'To Kill a Mockingbird' is set in a small town called Maycomb, in Alabama, in the 1930's. This was a time during the Great Depression, and a time where a man was persecuted for his physical appearance. 'To Kill a Mockingbird' conveys this image throughout the course of the book, mainly through the character known as Tom Robinson.

Tom Robinson was accused of raping a white woman, and though there was clear evidence that such an event did not, in fact, occur, he was still persecuted because of his skin colour. In this case, it was black man's world versus white man's lies, and, as society had it back in those days, the white man always came out on top.

Another example of unjust persecution in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was when Jem and Scout found out about Mr Dolphus Raymond. This (white) man was forced to a life of secrecy, just because his morals and principles where different to those of the town. Because Mr Raymond chose to congregate with the black community of Maycomb, he had to act drunk, so as not to be ridiculed by the whites. In fact, the black people of Maycomb were so low in the...