To Kill A Mockingbird: Prejudice


Miss Harper Lee has chosen Scout as a first person narrator in
this story. This narrative technique has many strengths and some
weaknesses. Scout is a bright, sensitive and intelligent little
girl. For all her intelligence, she is still a child and does not
always fully understand the implications of the events she
reports. This is sometimes amusing, as the time she thinks Miss
Maudie's loud voice scares Miss Stephanie. Scout does her best to
inform us of the happenings at the Tom Robinson trial. Yet, she
is not certain what rape is, and is neither aware of the prejudice
state surrounding her. Ultimately she represents the innocence
within society.

In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout Finch, a little girl growing up in
a small Southern town, tells the story of her childhood, when she
witnessed the trial of a Negro falsely accused of raping a white
woman. The Negro's lawyer is Scout's father, Atticus Finch. He
defends the Negro vigorously, though he expects to lose the case.
As well as being the story of childhood, it is also the story of
the struggle for equality of the American Negro.

To Kill A Mockingbird can be read as the story of a child's
growth and maturation. Almost every incident in the novel
contributes something to Scout's perception of the world. Through
her experiences she grows more tolerant of others, learning how to
" climb into another person's skin and walk around in it." On her
first day of school she finds that there are both social and poor
classes in society, some are respectable and others not. She also
learns that her father is an extra-ordinary man, fighting for a
Negro's rights in court. At the trial of Tom Robinson Scout
learns about equality and inequality, about justice and injustice
and finally about racial prejudice.

Many times during the course of the novel the idea of the
mockingbird comes to mind. We first hear of the bird when the
children are given there first air rifles for Christmas, There
father warns them to never shoot the songbird, saying to do so
would be a sin. During the trial of Tom Robinson, it occurs to
the reader that the Negro has many characteristics he shares with
the mockingbird, He is a gentle man, who has never harmed anyone
and only tried to help. His murder is as much a sin as the
killing of any innocent creature. By the end of the novel we see
that the hermit Boo Radley is also like the mockingbird. He is
shy and gentle, living quietly and harming no one. Near the end
of the novel, Boo saves the children from being killed. Scout
realizes that bringing Boo into the limelight would only be like
killing the songbird. Many themes and ideas are presented in this
novel, the sympathy theme is one of the main ones.

Throughout the novel, Atticus repeats to Scout an Jem the
importance of seeing things from another point of view in order to
understand what the other person is feeling. The theme of
childhood is also another important one. The story takes place
over a period of years, and the reader takes part in the adventure
of the child growing up in a small Southern town.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a fascinating story about a trial of a
Negro man in a small Southern town. This novel is a must for
every person to read because it not only displays the racial
tensions in a small town and the effects it has on it's citizens,
but it displays it through the eyes of a young innocent, six year
old child.