Many people don’t realize it, but our world matures with age, and the people along with it. Society’s attitudes towards things, its moral education, and its general opinion on the world have all changed to adapt to the problems of today. In Harper’s Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee shows how the world was before our moral development, and the evilness that the world once lived in. To Kill A Mockingbird shows the causes and effects of injustice through oppression of the innocent, racism, and existence of social inequality. Throughout the novel, a symbol of “mockingbird” appears.
The title “To Kill a Mockingbird” has a true meaning to it, and that is: the oppression of the innocent. Miss Maudie explains in the novel that, “’Mockingbirds don’t do one thing, but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ‘” In the novel, the mockingbirds are innocent people who are harmed by injustice, and in unnecessary ways. Several times in the novel, the oppression of the innocent is displayed. Jem for one, is a mockingbird. He is innocent, but assaulted by Bob Ewell, purely on vengeance, only because Atticus defended Tom Robinson, and he wanted to get pay back.
Boo Radley is also a mockingbird. He is emotionally damaged by his cruel father as a child, but everyone leads to believe that he is a creepy maniac. Scout mentions near the end of the book, “’Well it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it? ‘” (page 370) This refers to Boo Radley and how Scout feels if they were to hurt Boo Radley anymore; he has suffered enough from their injustice community. Another mockingbird is Tom Robinson. He was charged guilty of raping May Ewell, even though he was likely to be not guilty. There was not enough evidence against him, but he was still convicted. After his death, Mr.
Underwood compares his murder to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds”. This is once again, referring to mockingbirds, and the oppression of the innocent. In the town of Maycomb, the existence of social inequality is very, very vibrant. Everyone is Maycomb is on a social standing pyramid. Depending where you are on the pyramid determines how much respect you’ll receive from the towns folk. For example, in the novel, Aunt Alexandra forbids Scout to invite Walter Cunningham over for dinner. The following quote from Aunt Alexandra describes why: “’Jean Lousie, there is no doubt in my mind that they’re good folks.
But they’re not our kind of folks. ‘” (page 299) This represents that Aunt Alexandra and the Finches are higher up on the social standings, therefore making the Cunningham’s lower, and not in he same social class. The Finches are on pretty much the top of the social standings, with the towns people below them. The farmers, like the Cunningham’s are lower than the towns people. Below them are the Ewells, disrespectful and inferior. And even farther below them are the Negroes or coloured folk. During the day of the trial, people sat in the square to eat lunch. Only the people in the same social class would sit together.
This quote from Scout represents just that: “In a far corner of the square, the Negroes sat quietly in the sun. ” (page 214) This shows that the Negroes sat together because they are in the same social class, which is indeed the lowest in Maycomb. With that in mind, people like Bob Ewell, can take advantage of that. He picks on those who are below him because he wants to make himself feel more powerful, like bullies do. This shows the effects of inequality of social classes in Maycomb. Racism is also a factor of social inequality, and is a huge element in To Kill A Mockingbird.
It is displayed by almost every character in the book with racial slurs, and derogatory terms, many of which refer to Tom Robinson. For example, this quote from Cecil Jacobs verbally harasses Tom Robinson: “’My folks said your daddy was a disgrace an’ that nigger oughta hang from the water tank. ‘” (page 102) Although it may seem like only the white people are being racist to the coloured folk, it’s also the other way around as well. Jem and Scout experience this first hand. When they go to the First Purchase Church with Calpurnia, the people there did not accept them because of their different skin colour.
So just like the expression, “what’s go around comes around. ” Although, this does not happen often between the two skin colours because there is a huge segregation between them. They live in completely different areas of Maycomb because the coloured folk are isolated from the white people, unless you work for a white person. That brings us to how coloured folk are not aloud to be employed to anything they want. They’re basically slaves to the white people, and do not have the choice to do what they heart desires.
Although we have matured from this stage, there is still quite a bit of racism in today’s world. To Kill A Mocking has taught many of the past generation and even the new generation many lessons about injustice. This novel shows the causes and effects of injustice through oppression of the innocent, racism, and existence of social inequality. Harper Lee’s, To Kill A Mockingbird, made many people realize how unjust the world was and still is in some countries. With one step at a time, there will soon be a day without any injustice or crime in the world thanks to moral messages like this novel.
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