Essay about Racism and Harper Lee

Submitted By djchen1031
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AP English: To Kill A Mockingbird Quote analysis

“It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”(90).

Discrimination erects a wall among people’s emotional communication. Especially, in 1930s, racial tension establishes a gulf between the blacks and the whites in south American society. In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses Atticus’s voice “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”(90) to indicate the horrifying situations within the townsfolk in Maycomb. The term “Mockingbird” is a symbol of innocent and weak people who suffer from the horrible social surroundings. For instance, African Americans endure prejudices from the authorities. Besides, the novel develops under the setting of the Great Depression when the low classes cannot deal with their livings. As a consequence, financial problems make low income people a victim of society. Atticus’ ideologies demonstrate that black people and white people have equal societal status, however, traditional belief emphasizes there is always a gap separates “colored skin” from citizens. Atticus is open-minded as evidenced by Calpurnia’s positions in the Finch family; “Calpurnia’s not leaving this house until she wants to”(137), it shows Atticus’ respect to African Americans. His defence of Tom Robinson’s case even stronger underscores he is equitable to everyone. Nevertheless, even though Atticus does his best to reduce prejudices, the townspeople’s ingrained thoughts do not decrease. This is further exemplified when Mr. Cunningham and the mob come to trouble Atticus, “You got fifteen seconds to get ‘em outa here”(153), it illustrates the racists’ virtues gradually deteriorate since they consider Tom is “predestined criminal” and themselves as superior. As long as Atticus involves into Tom’s tragedies, he is also a victim of racism. “Nigger lover” displays Atticus’ difficult conditions in Maycomb; his attitude toward African Americans seems to challenge the society. He knows he will eventually fail, but, he prefers to be a “mockingbird” as Tom rather than give up his justice. The economic crisis makes people vulnerable; it further increases the mob of “white trash”. As a result, the lower whites choose to join Ku Klux Klan in order to search for protections. “The Ku Klux’s gone. It’ll never come back”(147), it contrary supports that Mr. Cunningham who is one of the sufferers beset by financial difficulties belongs to the organization. He feels he is no longer a “mockingbird” by joining the group. Having power to punish Tom Robinson, he enjoys “the moment to be something” (from article “Why I Joined the Klan”), this underscores his inferiority. Because he is impecunious, he concerns his “mockingbird” status will bring no attention from the society. He tries to get rid of…