A Mockingbird Essay, Research Paper
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee takes place in Alabama through the 1930’s . Harper Lee explores the life of two young children , and the flaws of society they must overcome . Throughout this time period black citizens are mistreated by a majority of white citizens . In To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee creates a supportive and positive portrayal of black citizens .
One way which Harper Lee creates a supportive and positive portrayal is through showing the injustice that the black citizens go through . After a long wait by Jem and Scout the jury has finally reached a verdict , The slip of paper is handed to Judge Taylor who then polls the jury , ” Guilty . . . guilty . . . guilty . . . guilty . . . ” (p . 211) . This shows injustice by having Tom Robinson tried guilty when he was obviously innocent and there was proof of his innocence , but that didn’t seem to matter . When Jem and Scout are talking to Atticus Jem states he doesn’t think rape should be a capital offense , Scout narrating says for Atticus ” He didn’t have any quarrel with the rape statute . . . But he had a deep misgiving when the state asked for and the jury gave a death penalty on purely circumstantial evidence . ”
(p . 219) . This shows injustice because Tom was tried guilty with no witnesses , there should be at least one or two eye-witnesses that can say , yes , I was there and I saw him do it . When Atticus arrives home he summons Calpurnia , Aunt Alexandra , Miss . Maudie , and Scout to the kitchen announcing that tom Robinson is dead he explains his death bysaying , ” Tom’s dead . . . It was during exercise period . They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over . . . They fired a few shots in the air , then to kill . . . Seventeen bullet holes in him . ” (p.235) . This shows injustice because there was no need to shoot him he could have been easily apprehended , and if it was totally necessary to shoot him seventeen times is outrageous . Thus Showing that Harper Lee creates a supportive and positive portrayal of black citizens .
By making the reader fell a sense of sympathy for black people Harper Lee shows that the black people in this novel have rights and opinions of their own . When Jem , Scout , and Dill are having a talk about Mr . Dolphus Raymond and his mixed children Jem says , ” They don’t belong anywhere . Coloured folks won’t have em because they’re half white; white folks won’t have em because they’re coloured . ” (p . 161) . This creates sympathy by making the reader feel sorry for these mixed children , they’re not wanted by anyone black or white . Earlier in the novel When Aunt Alexandra arrives at the house she thinks it would be better that it was time for Calpurnia to leave when Atticus says , ” Alexandra , Calpurnia’s not leaving this house until she wants to . . . I couldn’t have got along without her all these years . ” (p.137) . This has the reader feel sympathetic for Calpurnia because as Atticus said he wouldn’t have got along all those years without her . Also she’s been a part of the family for so long and Alexandra just comes along and expects to take over which isn’t right . When Jem and Atticus are talking about the jury and their decision Atticus says to Jem ,
” In courts , when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s , the white man always wins . ” (p . 220) . This makes the reader feel sympathetic for Tom because he was tried guilty only because it was his word against two white people’s word . Again showing that Harper Lee creates a supportive and positive portrayal of black citizens by making the reader feel sorry for them .
By having the reader feel respect for the black people Harper Lee again shows here supportive and positive portrayal of black citizens . After the trial when Atticus is leaving as he walkes down the aisle all the black people rose from their seats , Scout in amazement said , ” They were standing . . . The Negroes were getting to their feet . ” (p . 211) . The reader feels respect for the black people for standing as Atticus left . Even though the trail was lost by him they still paid him some respect making you respect them for respecting Atticus . When Tom Robinson was on the stand being question by Mr . Gilmer Tom said , ” Seemed every time I passed by yonder she’d have some little somethin’ for me to do-choppin’ kindlin’ , totin’ water for her . ” (p . 191) . This makes the reader feel respect for Tom because even though Mayella accused him of rape and has absolutely no respect for him he still feels and felt sorry for her . Showing that Tom had respect for her doing all those chores for nothing . When Jem and Scout accompany Calpurnia to church they are greeted respectfully by the black people when Scout narrating says , ” The men stepped back and took off their hats ; the women crossed their arms at their waists , weekday gestures of respectful attention.” (P . 118) . This agains makes the reader feel respect for the black citizens for respecting Jem and scout .
This novel is based on the life of two young children and the flaws of society they must overcome . A main flaw being the lack of justice , respect , and sympathy towards black citizens . This is shown by Harper Lee in a sad but positive way , through Tom Robinson’s trial to Jem and Scout attending Cal’s church . Thus proving that In To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee creates a supportive and positive portrayal of black citizens .