Prejudice is a form of discrimination evident in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird and Langston Hughes' proem Let America Be America Again. Birth composers explore the concept of prejudice to reveal their judgments as to how it is morally wrong.
Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, we can see how the author Harper Lee has used racism to convey her judgments of prejudice. Blacks were seen as second-class citizens and were even lower than the white criminals. Harper Lee conveys this through the sheriff, Heck Tate, when he arrests Boo Radley “he hadn’t the heart to put him in the jail alongside Negroes”. Through the use of colloquial language, we realize that Boo may be a criminal but Heck Tate wouldn’t put him in jail alongside Negroes because it doesn’t matter what you have done if you are white, you are never equally as bad as a Negro. Lee, therefore, reveals to the audience the inequity of prejudice. Lee also expresses racism through the use of Atticus. Atticus uses a simile in hiss summation; “which gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson’s skin…” to analyse the falseness with Tom’s skin color. We can identify that Harper Lee is stating that we need to judge people as individuals rather than their race. Atticus calls the lie of racist stereotypes as black as Tom Robinson’s skin” combining evilness with blackness, in a more metaphorical way. Therefore, Lee informs the audience of the hideous of prejudice. Racism is again conveyed by Atticus. During his summation to the jury he states “there is one human institution that makes pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein…” Atticus is alluding two of the most famous man of the era. Lee is communicating that no matter if you black or white we should all be equal. Skin colour should not make any differences as we are all equally the same. Hence, conveying the bleakness of prejudice.
The readers again see how another author, Langston Hughes, has used racism to expose their judgment on prejudice. Blacks are not the only people discriminated against due to their race. In the poem Let America be America Again, it is made known that poor man, Indians and Negroes are being forgotten and that they need more recognition. An example of this would be, “I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars”. Hughes uses alteration to highlight how the scars of slavery can be both physical and mental. They are everlasting; therefore, they stay with them forever. Hughes has emphasized the personal nature of prejudice. Hughes reveals to the audience that Let America Be America Again has many different forms of techniques to help communicate the idea of prejudice e. Langston Hughes has stated “I am the red man driven form this land, her is expressing how the read man has also known as an Indian’s , are being taken form their land. Through the use of emotive language, the audience see how the Indian’s did not willingly move from the land they were driven therefore they were forced. Hughes expresses how prejudice makes people act unjustly to others different to them.
Differences in social status are widely analysed through the complex social hierarchy of Maycomb. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee utilise various techniques to furthermore highlight their significance. The Ewells for example, represent on the lowest class citizens in Maycomb. They are considered as “white trash” by the Maycomb community due to the fact that they are a disgrace and are not trusted. The use of colloquial language states that they are ‘trash’ and nothing more. The Ewells are still not classified to be at the lowest part of Maycomb’s social hierarchy as they are still white. The Negroes will always be at the bottom of the social hierarchy not matter how good they are. Hughes also uses Jem to express the social hierarchy of