What Has To Kill a Mockingbird Taught You about Prejudice and Justice? After reading this book I had a great knowledge of prejudice and justice in the Deep South in the 1930s. In 1861 – 1865 war was on. Parliament abolished slavery in America in 1865 but the south needed slaves for their trade. So they carried on mistreating blacks, disobeying the law. After the war (with the North winning) blacks were still treated with injustice and inequality. The blacks still had bad jobs and most of them worked for the whites for instance a cleaner or maid. When Tom Robinson was on trial in the court there were no black people in the jury.
The black people who wanted to watch the trial had to sit on the upper tier where there were limited seats so most of them stood. ”Your fathers no better than the niggers and trash he works for” Miss Dubose told Jem. This is an extremely racist and somewhat unnecessary comment for Miss Dubose to make. This implies that Atticus is worse than, in her opinion, the blacks and other lower class of the town. Whites treated blacks like dirt and looked down on them whenever they would pass them in the street. There was a clear social hierarchy in Maycomb; the whites viewed themselves significantly higher than the blacks.
All of Tom Robinson’s evidence in the court case showed that he was not guilty but because he was black the jury sentenced him to prison. Judge Taylor did not want to sentence Tom Robinson but the majority of the jury agreed on him being guilty. They all thought that just because he was black he lied and was cruel to people. Aunt Alexandra had a somewhat haughty attitude towards things like this. Atticus and Aunt Alexandra had very different views on the way of life and the way people should live. For instance they both had very different perceptions on the word trashy.
Atticus uses the word trashy to describe a stuck-up white man being racist towards a black man but Aunt Alexandra uses it to describe Walter Cunningham and his family. The clear distinction between these two very different uses of the word is that Atticus uses it to describe people who are generally ignorant but Alexandra uses it to describe people of the lower class who are dirty. This reveals that the whole way through the story Alexandra sticks to her views and not even after Tom Robinson’s court case does she change her mind. In a way Atticus does the same thing and throughout the novel fights to uphold justice.
Atticus is the only white man apart from Judge Taylor who is not racist or prejudice towards the blacks. In the middle of the novel when Tom Robinson is in jail, Atticus guards him himself all night and when Mr Cunningham and a group of other men ambush him all Atticus does is try to keep the peace. Miss Dubose constantly has a moan about Atticus and what he stands for and Atticus completely ignores it and is extremely polite to her. He is an extremely kind and gentle man who is loyal to Tom Robinson. At the start of the novel Scout is incredibly naive, angry and violent.
She also has no respect for other people like Walter Cunnigham. Scout finds it odd and strange that Walter Cunningham pours syrup all over his meal and she isn’t afraid to express her opinion vocally. This upsets not only Walter but Calpurnia as well and Scout gets a good telling off from her. This shows that Scout is not only disrespectful and rude but can also be slightly snobby. When she first heard of Boo Radley she pictured him peculiar looking and was awfully scared of him. Then when Boo started leaving gifts in a tree for Jem and Scout she thought that he could maybe be alright and not creepy like she thought.
Then towards the end when Boo kills Bob Ewell to defend the children, Scout realises that he is a kind and not at all freaky. In fact she takes him by the hand and talks to him with high regard. These series of extremely shocking events changes Scouts character throughout the story. To Kill a Mockingbird has taught me a great deal about Prejudice and Justice. I have especially learned about Justice from the way that Atticus acted ,the way that Scout changed but most of all Tom Robinson and the people involved in the court case.
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