one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any
color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right
into a jury box" (pg. 252). Atticus Finch, one of the main characters from To
Kill A Mockingbird, tells his children, Scout and Jem, this statement after the
trial of Tom Robinson, who was convicted by a jury of his peers which consisted
of white men, for supposedly raping a white woman. This quote underlies one of
the main themes in the book, that resentment and prejudice are with us in every
single situation, and these prejudices affect how we view situations and make
judgments. Many aspects of this novel could be analyzed in terms of
stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, but I will mention a few examples.
To Kill A Mockingbird was written by
Harper Lee, and it focuses on the Finch family, which consists of Atticus,
Jeremy, and Jean Louise (also known as Scout). The main plot in the story
involves Atticus defending a black man and enduring the criticism from the local
townspeople. Another plot point is the children's fascination with their
recluse neighbor, Arthur (Boo) Radley. At the end of the novel, Arthur Radley
saves Jem and Scout from being murdered by a man who wants revenge on their
Jem constantly watches out for his sister, but the novel also focuses on him
growing up and recognizing the racism and prejudice that surrounds him. Scout
is much more oblivious to this racism, as she runs into a mob without concern
for herself, proving that she is much more naïve about the world than her older
brother. Aunt Alexandra is also another member of the family, who has certain prejudices concerning social class. She has issues with Scout spending time with people who are not similar to them in social status.
This novel is a classic, and a must read for issues surrounding stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination. Harper Lee makes many statements concerning issues with prejudice and discrimination, but the way in which it is done is very poignant. Atticus Finch is an excllent character to examine, and his speech to the jury is arguably one of the most powerful in the novel. I encourage anyone to read this book; it really is a great novel about human nature.