Hypocrisy in to Kill a Mockingbird

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The biased opinions in Maycomb County led to a tumultuous outcome for the children. “I don’t understand how they were able to find Tom Robinson guilty, but they did it. They’ve done it repeatedly, and it appears that it is only children who cry when it happens.” (225) Tom Robinson represents every individual of color who has been unjustly sentenced and prosecuted within this legal system. Children are often described as open-minded and, as a result, have a certain attachment to Tom Robinson. They remain unaware of the mistaken beliefs that society has imposed upon the community.

The wrongful conviction of Tom Robinson in the corrupted judicial system greatly affects the children. Jem and Scout, who witnessed Tom’s trial, are shocked to discover flaws in their ‘perfect’ community. They understand that Tom is innocent and that all the evidence supports that. However, they are confused as to why others can’t see that. They can’t comprehend why Tom was convicted when the evidence clearly proves otherwise. The fact that Tom’s sentence is based on his race and not on facts makes the children weep. This connection between the children and the wrongly convicted drives their emotions. Miss Gates demonstrates hypocrisy by constantly shifting between extreme opinions. Some of her statements contradict her true beliefs. “Jem, how can you hate Hitler so much and yet treat people at home so badly…” (247). Although Scout may not know the word hypocrisy, she recognizes it when she witnesses it. She understands that someone who condemns something but engages in the same behavior herself, like Miss Gates, is two-faced.

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How can a teacher, who is supposed to be a role model to her students and others, possibly think or say that? Miss Gates is essentially saying that the people of Maycomb County are not prejudiced and therefore do not persecute anyone. However, this statement reveals Miss Gates as a hypocrite, and it has a significant impact on the citizens of Maycomb County. As a role model, she is supposed to set a good example for others, but the example she is providing is far from ideal. Children often look up to others, and if Scout were to trust Miss Gates completely, then Scout would likely adopt Miss Gates’ questionable beliefs and behaviors.

Another judgmental person in the world. If this cycle were to repeat endlessly, then equality would never be visible on Earth. This is the reason why individuals such as Miss Gates, who possess power and influence over others, ought not to be hypocritical. Because if students and children were to emulate their actions and behavior, what would become of our world? How would our world operate? A classroom discussion uncovers yet another illustration of hypocrisy and the biases people have towards others.

In this case, the third-grade teacher of Scout defends the Jews and expresses gratitude for living in a democracy. She emphasizes the difference between America and Germany, highlighting that America is a democracy while Germany is a dictatorship. She firmly believes that in America, nobody is persecuted because persecution stems from prejudice. This statement by Miss Gates shows her ignorance towards the persecutions happening in Maycomb County. She is hypocritical because she denies the presence of prejudice in Maycomb County but herself discriminates against the African American community.

The citizens of Maycomb county may be harmed by Miss Gates, who convinces students that the actions of people in Maycomb County are not harmful and they are not persecuting anyone, despite this being untrue. As a result, students like Scout would be confused and could potentially grow up unintentionally persecuting others. Miss Gates serves as an influencer but is a hypocrite. Having hypocritical individuals like Miss Gates can be detrimental to the citizens of Maycomb County, as they may struggle to “practice what they preach” due to a lack of knowledge.

The inability to overcome this flaw is what destroys the unity in the Maycomb County community. An example that highlights this issue is the conversation among the ladies in Aladean’s missionary circle. Mrs. Merriweather’s message to the black community reveals her hypocrisy. She suggests that forgiving and forgetting will resolve the situation, while she herself is judging Tom Robinson. This contradicts her sympathy for the oppressed because the Mrunops are also being judged unfairly.

Mrs. Merriweather’s statement that “if we just let them know we forgive’em” suggests that she believes the accused is guilty. This indicates that she is judging people, while also feeling sympathy for those who have been judged and harmed, highlighting her hypocrisy. It creates a double standard as she can be biased against some individuals but feel compassion for others. Mrs. Merriweather’s words contradict her actions, exposing her true insincerity. The conversation in the Alexandra’s missionary circle then shifts towards discussing the “darkies”.

Mrs. Merriweather expresses her hatred towards African Americans, using a derogatory term to refer to them. She complains about having a sulky African American in the kitchen, stating that their mouths go down to a certain point, which she finds highly bothersome. However, she also feels pity for others who are taken advantage of, such as the Mrunos, an African tribe. The contradiction lies in the fact that she discriminates against African Americans in her own community while feeling empathy towards those in another part of the world. As an adult in Maycomb County, she possesses the ability to use her influence to effect change within the community.

However, Mrs. Merriweather’s hypocritical behavior obstructs her efforts to save her own community. Despite being genuinely kind towards the Mrusons, she simultaneously spreads gossip about the ‘blacks,’ who are similar to the Mrunos. Such actions can prove immensely detrimental to the citizens of Maycomb County as individuals like Mrs. Merriweather perpetuate rumors about the ‘blacks,’ making their lives even more difficult. Furthermore, how can the residents of Maycomb County truly practice what they preach if nobody else in the community does? Despite having numerous beliefs, people frequently fail to live up to them.

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Hypocrisy in to Kill a Mockingbird. (2018, Jun 20). Retrieved from


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