Racial intolerance as demonstrated in Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Essay by DementedHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 2003

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Intolerance based upon race and upon a person's age have been an enduring element of society since the beginning of the 20th century. In Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird", the community of Maycomb demonstrates racial and age based intolerance throughout the novel. The most prevalent form of discrimination in Maycomb is white intolerance against blacks. Interestingly, blacks discriminating against whites is another form of intolerance demonstrated throughout the novel. In Maycomb, children as seen very much as subordinates to their parents, which in turn manufactures an intolerance from adults to children if they do not conform to social standards.

In Maycomb, whites are superior to blacks. They have nicer homes, better education and more money, and because of this the whites are intolerant of the blacks. Tom Robinson, who was only trying to help Mayella Ewell out with her chores is convicted with raping her, without any of the powerful white community stepping in to protest.

This demonstrates how the honest Maycomb citizens fear being targeted if they help out a Negro. The way in which the jury passes a verdict with only hearing circumstantial evidence, shows their intolerance and hate towards blacks, they are pleased convicted a black man without reason. Atticus, who stands up against all the racial intolerance when he does not refuse the Tom Robinson case, is quickly called a nigger lover. He is doing his duty as a lawyer to represent Robinson as an equal human being, but he is called a nigger lover because no one is able to see Robinson as an equal because of the intolerance they grew up with. The night when Jem, Scout and Dill try to sneak around on the Radley porch, and then Mr. Radley comes out with the shotgun shows another instance...