What Message Does The Novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Convey About Prejudice?

Essay by sadeer February 2008

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What Message Does The Novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Convey About Prejudice?

'To Kill a Mockingbird' was set in Alabama during the thirties and wrote the novel in the sixties when Civil Rights Movement was being written. The message of the novel is that people should not be judged according to who/what they are but should be judged on their actions and behaviours. Harper Lee shows prejudice in events like Tom Robinson's trial, also through characters like Arthur (Boo) Radley. Prejudice is also shown in the day to day activities.

The novel is titled 'To kill a Mockingbird' because the mockingbird represent innocence. At the beginning of the novel Atticus tells Scout and Jem "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit `em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird," which illustrates and explains you should not kill innocent beings. Tom Robinson is clearly a mockingbird.

He is an untainted person who has in no way pained or harmed anybody and is directly and deliberately shot by society not because of justice but prejudice. The jurors sentence him to death not because he did anything wrong but because of the prejudice. He is then later shot for trying to escape this unjust ruling. So Tom Robinson just like a mockingbird is shot for no reason at all.

At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to life in Maycomb, life in Maycomb is small town life where the people are a mainly friendly community and hold high values, such as values of the family. However, most of the people tend to be judgmental and intolerant, excluding other people from the community, such as poor people and the black community. They also tend to categorize each other on the basis of social status as...