Harper Lee’s novel “To kill a mockingbird” is seen as one of the best classics of American literature. “To kill a mockingbird” is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. In the 1930’s, America was in a time of racial segregation. The novel consists of a lot of different themes and ideas such as: innocence, injustice, courage, molarity and class but the most recognised theme is prejudice, as the middle class, Atticus Finch is charged with defending Tom Robinson, who is black, and is charged of rape against Mayella Ewell, a white woman with an abusive, alcoholic for a father. Everyone in Maycomb and the audience know that Tom will be deemed guilty, given the racial prejudice of the jury.
The theme of racial prejudice is introduced into part 1 through a few characters, Cecil Jacobs announces in the school yard that Scout’s daddy defended niggers. Racial prejudice also seeps into part 1 through Mrs Dubose when she says “your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for” to Scout and Jem. Atticus decides to take the case because he feels that it is the right thing to do and he is a lawyer so he wouldn’t turn someone away if they could be innocent even if they are black. The quote that backs my reason up is “if I didn’t I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again”.
A mockingbird in the context of the novel symbolises innocence. Tom Robinson is not described in great detail but he is still very important in developing the theme of racial prejudice as he is innocent but the reason he is found guilty is because the whole jury was white so it was inevitable that Tom would be made guilty. The information that we learn about Tom Robinson which might make us believe his innocence is when Heck Tate and Bob Ewell say that is was Mayella’s right eye thatw as black which means that a left handed person would have punched her but Tom Robinson’s left hand had been damaged since he was a child so he obviously could not have hit her in the right eye so some other left handed person must have for example Bob Ewell. Atticus asks Bob Ewell to write his name on a piece of paper and he uses his left hand so he is a possible child abuser. “You’re left handed, Mr Ewell.” Judge Taylor says this after he has just watched Mr Ewell write his name with his left hand.
Harper Lee introduces the Ewell’s into part 1 when Scout is at school and Burris Ewell has lice in his hair and he calls Miss Caroline a “snot-nosed slut” we can already tell that the Ewell children weren’t brought up well because they are swearing at their teachers, not washing properly and not being told to go to school.
Before the trial for Tom Robinson a mob of country folks turn up to the jail where Tom is being held, guarded by Atticus. The mob is at the jail to kill Tom Robinson. The lynch mob are stopped because there are children present and they don’t want a blood bath in front of children, especially because Mr Cunningham was in the mob and Scout spoke to him about Walter, his son, which made him think that if it was his children that were present would he want them to see a man be killed considering how innocent children are. In my opinion I think that Jem knew that it was a serious situation but not the full seriousness of the situation because he let his little sister just walk into the mob and speak to an armed man and when Atticus, the father they respect so much, told him to take Dill and Scout home he didn’t, so he must not have thought it was dangerous as it was. I honestly don’t think that Scout knew the…