To Kill A Mockingbird

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     "The 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 father.  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 na├»ve 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.

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To Kill A Mockingbird
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