To kill a mockingbird - How is the theme of prejudice and discrimination presented in the book?

Essay by KaedeRukawaJunior High, 8th gradeA-, March 2004

download word file, 7 pages 3.8

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel revolved mainly around the events before, during, and after the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white. As the summary in the book stated, "they (the children) begin to learn that life is not as straight-forward and as fair as it seemed through the eyes of their childhood...and how people react when they are forced to choose between their prejudices and what they know is right."

Set in the Southern state of Alabama, just decades after the civil war and during the Great Depression, prejudice and discrimination against the blacks still exists in the Maycomb society. Seen through the eyes of Scout, the rumours about Arthur Radley (Boo) seems nothing more than a simple story, but they are, in fact, an evidence of the Maycomb society's prejudice against a juvenile who had accidentally gone astray.

During her description of the life of Boo, there is a line that says "The sheriff hadn't the heart to put him in jail alongside the Negroes," even though Boo himself is prejudiced against, there are the blacks who stand on an even lower social status than the worst of the whites. This is further supported by the trial scene which will be elaborated, showing the extreme prejudice against the blacks in Maycomb.

Apart from the prejudice against the blacks, there is also clearly a prejudice as well as a caste system in the white society. The Finches, together with Miss Maudie Atkinson, are at the top of the caste system, being educated and holding respectable positions, they are followed by the normal town folks such as Miss Stephanie Crawford and Mr Avery. Then, the poor folks such as the Old Sarums are further down the list, while right...