Injustice To Kill A Mockingbird Essay, Research Paper
A world without stereotypes would mean a world without injustice. Yet, there is a long way to go until the world is rid of its injustices; for injustice has always been a part of society and will be for many years to come. Injustice, the unfair treatment of people through actions and words based on stereotypes, which ignorance and fear have fueled, has been prevalent throughout the ages. The prevalence of this injustice from the period of the 1930’s in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is shown through the unfair treatment of people based on racial, societal, and gender stereotypes.
Racial injustice, the unfair treatment of people based on their race, is a frequent occurrence in To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom Robinson is an excellent example of this. The entire trial, from the accusations of him raping Mayella, to the guilty verdict, were all racially biased.
The entire town formed the opinion that it was typical black man behavior, and that Tom was guilty. The court gasped when he commented about his pity for Mayella, because for a black person to feel sorry for a white person was unacceptable; it was to be the reverse. The verdict of the all-white jury came right down to the color of his skin, even though Atticus had more than proved Tom’s innocence. The “Old Sarum” mob played a part in this injustice as well, when they came to harm Tom and instill fear in Atticus so that he would decline from defending him. However, it was not only the black community that endured this injustice. Dolphus Raymond was white, yet was discriminated against just as much because he lived with his black mistress. This was wrong in the eyes of the people of Maycomb. His mixed children suffered from this as well. In the words of Jem, “They don’t belong anywhere. Colored people won’t have em because they’re half white; white folks won’t have em cause they’re colored . . . “(pg. 161). Just as he said, in the town of Maycomb, they don’t belong, they are only small children, but because of their skin color the town has already formed a negative opinion of them.
Other children have fallen victim to injustice, such as Walter Cunningham, and the rest of his family, were all victims of societal injustice, the unequal treatment of people based on a social hierarchy. The town does not care to socialize with them because they are considered poor and dirty. In the eyes of Maycomb, they are but one step above the Ewells, though they have totally opposite morals. Aunt Alexandra in particular sees the Cunninghams this way. After the trial Scout is talking of having Walter over to play when Aunt Alexandra said, “Jean Louise, there is no doubt in my mind that they are good folks. But they’re not our kind of folks” (pg. 224). Although they are decent people, she cannot see beyond the fact that they are viewed as low class, and therefore, disapproves of them. The Radleys are very much victims of this injustice also. The town creates rumors that fly about and create a fear of the Radleys even though, like the Cunninghams, they are wholesome people. They live differently and reclusely, this is alien to the town, and the town treats them in turn with inequity. Jem, Scout and Dill create plays and skits about the Radleys’ so called life. They dislike like the Radleys because of the rumors that make them appear frightening. The rumors come from the simple fact that they have no social life.
Societal is not the only other form of injustice, gender injustice is found throughout the novel. Women are the main focus of this injustice. There were certain standards they had to meet, or were regarded as aberrant. Scout was constantly being told that she needed to dress and act more “like a girl.” They also have not allowed women to serve on a jury. When Jem asks why, Atticus answered, “I doubt if we’d ever get a complete case tried-the ladies’d be interrupting to ask questions”(pg. 221). This is a stereotypical opinion that women talk too much, and prevent men from getting their work done. Not only do individual people discriminate against women, but entire groups, in particular, the “Foot Washing” Baptists. They take the Bible literally, and believe that because of the sins that Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, that all women are evil and sinful. This is not only extremely unjust, it also implies that men are the superior, and that women are to be obedient to that “superiority,” all of which are fallacies.
Harper Lee gives a very accurate depiction of the injustice that was so prevalent in the 1930’s in her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by the unequal treatment of people based on racial, societal, and gender stereotypes. Though it may seem the world has advanced, it has stayed very much the same in terms of injustice and stereotypes. Yet remember, when the world is freed of its stereotypes, it will be freed of its injustices as well.