Killing a Mocking Bird

Essay by blitz-aceHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2006

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

In the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird", Harper Lee portraits Tom Robinson as a man who is a victim of racial prejudice. While reading the novel, I learned that most white people of the town of Maycomb didn't really like coloured folks like Tom Robinson. White people hardly had any respect for them because they thought Negroes were completely worthless compared to them. It's really sad to see that the coloured people were being judged by their skin colour instead of their actions. On page 75, it says "why id Cecil say you defend niggers?" This shows us that even the young children of Maycomb had no respect for the black people. One thing that white people never realized is that coloured folks are just like them, human beings. Like all human beings they had feelings and they should be treated just like the white people.

Tom Robinson lived in a town where black people like him are treated inferiorly compared to the rest of society.

You would never see a black man at the head of a company giving orders to a white man. Black people always had the hardest jobs of all mostly manual labour. They also couldn't go to the same church as the white people. If Tom Robinson went to a white church, he would get looked at and probably get sworn at. On page 156 it says: "You know, it's a funny thing about Braxton he despises Negroes won't have one near him." This quote tells us how much hatred some white people had for the coloured folks. To them having black skin is like a disease, you should not be socializing with Negroes. The thought of even standing beside Tom Robinson or being friends with him disgusted them. A huge majority of the white folks of Maycomb gave an impression that Negroes and them should never live together because they are inferior to them. Unfortunately it seemed that nothing would be able to change this feeling they have towards black people like Tom Robinson.

Mayella Ewell accused Tom Robinson of having physically abused her. When the final verdict was heard, Tom was found guilty even though there was no concrete proof to back up Mayella's accusations. Both Mayella and Tom were called up to give their testimony. They had two completely different stories. She said that Tom Robinson just jumped on her and abused her whereas Tom said that Mayella grabbed him by the legs and tried kissing him. No black person has ever won in court against a white person because juries always assume that all black people lie. So therefore it seemed that in this case, the juries would believe Mayella. It wouldn't be because she was able to come up with evident proof but because she was white and Tom was a black man.

On page 204 it says: "The witnesses for the state with the exception of the sheriff have presented themselves to you gentlemen to this court in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption, the evil assumption, that all Negroes lie, are immoral beings, are not to be trusted around women."

This quote tells us that the law is unjust towards black people. There is no need for a trial if white people will always win against black people even though they might be guilty. Unfortunately the same thing happened this time. On page 203 Atticus said: "The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place." The law is supposed to be neutral towards both sided but if it's not the word "law" should not even be mentioned. The court found Tom Robinson guilty of having raped Mayella because he was a black man and the juries just couldn't let a black man win.

Tom being sent to jail for a crime he obviously didn't commit led to his death. After his death, everyone thought that he was just another nigger trying to runaway for his life. On page 240 it says: "To Maycomb, Tom's death was typical. Typical of a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger's mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blindly at the first chance he saw." To them, Tom Robinson was nothing, he was just another nigger with no importance. White people didn't want and would never want to try and know a coloured person for who they are, human beings like them, they thought black people had the same mentality. Atticus was one of the few people who was able to overcome the difference between their physical appearance. He really saw that inside these black people there was just another human being with a heart.

In the novel, Tom Robinson is a victim of racial prejudice. In the town of Maycomb, coloured folks are treated inferioly and without any respect. Tom Robinson was found guilty of raping Mayella Ewell because he was a Negro. Accusing Tom when there was no proof was completely unfair. His death didn't mean much to the white people of Maycomb because to them he wasn't Tom he was just another Negro. Atticus mentioned that the Klu Klux Klan didn't exist anymore but nothing can change people's opinion. Tom Robinson was a coloured man who has been a victim of prejudice but even in today's world racial prejudice still exists in our society. The human race will never progress if we can't see past our physical differences.