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How are Prejudice and Hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird?

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* They see that anything not Christian is barbaric.

* Moral Blindness, they are planning to fix things out in Africa, but do not realise the effect on Tom Robinson’s death on Helen. They try to sort things out thousands of miles away but do not think about sorting things out in their own town first.

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* Claims that her maid Sophy is “Complaining”. She calls her “Sulky Darky”.

* Gertrude, I tell you there’s nothing more distracting than a sulky darky. Their mouths go down to here.

Just ruins your day to have one of ’em in the kitchen. You know what I said to my Sophy, Gertrude? I said, ‘Sophy,’ I said, ‘you simply are not being a Christian today. Jesus Christ never went around grumbling and complaining,’ and you know, it did her good. She took her eyes off that floor and said, ‘Nome, Miz Merriweather, Jesus never went around grumblin’.’ I tell you, Gertrude, you never ought to let an opportunity go by to witness for the Lord.

* She treats Sophy very badly. Anyways, what was Sophie complaining about?

* “God created everyone equal” Racial discrimination in Maycomb contradicts this. Christian teaching that there is no social status and hierarchy. White population is using the Black community to do dirty jobs, and treats them as lower class citizens.

* “Love thy neighbour”

* HELEN ROBINSON is a good Christian, she deserves financial support for a widowed parent and fatherless children. These Christian missionaries do not see this.

* “Most devout woman in Maycomb”

* Her first name is “Grace” she does not understand the concept of grace according to the bible.

* ESPOUSES great emotional ignorance, moral blindness.

* “Blue in the face” No hope for Blacks to be a good Christian.

* Cannot be educated.

* “No woman is safe in their bed” Every black man is like Tom Robinson, very dangerous citizens of the community, ironically, he didn’t even commit such crime.

* “My Sophie” like ownership and belonging, “Wool” sound slike hair is like sheep, like an animal.

* She keeps Sophie because she is too important. Won’t admit that Sophie is important. She says Sophie is “Depressed”. Atticus proudly admits that the house and family would not survive without Calpurnia.

* “His food doesn’t stick going down, does it?” Referring to Atticus. This is about Calpurnia. You’re quite lucky to enjoy Calpurnia’s cooking and Atticus’ increadient. yet you they are criticising. They are hypocrites, rude, no manners, don’t criticise him, no gratitude. Don’t be so rude on black people in a house where people respects them so much. “Calpurnia cooked it?” Does not believe that a black servant can cook so we;;/ “Stick”, the food was ,ade well that it wouldn’t stick.

* “Born hypocrites, People up there set em free” The divide between north and south. Mrs Merriweather accuses the north of telling the blacks free from slavery. This is a real problem, because even now, she still treats black people like slaves so the thinks that.

* “she just fell down in the dirt. Just fell down in the dirt, like a giant with a big foot just came along and stepped on her: Just ump” Similar to Scout and the Roly-Poly, Tom Robinson. This symoblises the strength of the White Community and the weakness of the Black Community.

* “Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom’s death for perhaps two days” Prejudice in the white Community. They do not value the life of a black person, treats it as unimportant. However, for Helen Robinson, his family and the Black Community, its like a life sentence.

* “To Maycomb, Tom’s death was typical. Typical for a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind as fast as he saw.” This is a very racist comment. Deeply unfair and untrue. Stereotyping an entire race. Assuming that the black community is reckless. Ironically, Tom Robinson lived a clean and upright life, like a Mockingbird. Also, Tom Robinson had absolutely no choice, he was fighting for his life, he could not wait for an appeal, it was his best chance to break free.

* “Easy come, easy go, Just shows you, that Robinson was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down the line the veneer’s mighty thin. Nigger always come out in ‘em.” To Mrs Merriweather, veneers means on the surface, it seems that they are good Christians, but what she is saying is that inside them, they are mean and nasty.

* “Mr Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children would understand.” Mr Underwood writes to children so that the future generation would understand, there is no way to change the stubborn minds of the current generation, he gives more hope and faith in the young generation.

* “Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters” He is trying the shame the whole community. People understand this, but don’t take them seriously.

* “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.” Deep down inside them, they have already made a decision. It seems that there is justice, a court trial. Although Mr Underwood is racist, he still sees the injustice and shame of the community.

* “Tom Robinson’s existence was ever brought to their attention” Sad, just a black person.

* “Washing the feeble minded?” In fact, wash means getting rid of the Jews.

* “Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced.” “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me” As Miss Gates continues criticising Hitler’s of social injustice and unfairness in Nazi Germany, meanwhile, in Maycomb, the Black Community is being treated unfairly. As Miss Gates say that there are Equal Rights for everyone, she does not see that there are segregation and different coloured schools in Maycomb. No better people than the black community, who are such obedient citizens of Maycomb and serve well. Without the black community existing in Maycomb, the white community simply wouldn’t survive. They contribute to the economy and are good Christians. As Atticus had said earlier in the novel “Without Calpurnia, our house simply wouldn’t survive.”

* “An inquiring soul in the middle of the room said, ‘Why don’t they like the Jews, you reckon, Miss Gates?’”

How are prejudice and hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee’s to kill a Mockingbird

* Tom Robinson. Court Case. The Jury.

* “I am not. ’t’s morbid, watching a poor devil on trial for his life. Look at all those folks, it’s like a Roman carnival.” Although Tom Robinson’s trial seems like a major moment for civil rights in Maycomb, the white men perceive this as a ‘Gladiator’ fight, where men were put into an arena and confront lions, gladiator and other gruesome methods. Tom Robinson is the gladiator, fighting for his life with no change of survival.

* The community has foregone a conclusion that Tom Robinson was guilty before the trial even began. However, this made them think.

* Tom Robinson does not stand a chance because of their inferior skin colour. A black man against a white woman.

* Tom Robinson actually ‘Felt sorry’ for Mayella Ewell, this angers them.

* Judge Taylor gives this case to Atticus because Atticus is Tom Robinson’s only chance. Tom Robinson is dependent on a ‘White man’s chance’.

* Helen – Ant being squished.

* Black community is well organised and cleaner.

* Link deas protects Tom Robinson.

* Mr Underwood describes killing Tom Robinson is a senseless slaughter of a songbird.

* Educates children.

* ‘How can you hate Hitler and be bad to black folks at home?’ Hypocracy.

* Jem is shakened by the trial.

* Miss Gates/Hitler.

* Jews and the Black Community genocide.

* Irony {‘contribute to society’, ‘deeply religious}

* This troubles her, Scout overhears Miss Gates. ‘getting way above themselves…be ugly about folks right at home’. Unkind, unfair, cruel. Makes Scout feel uncomfortable.

* ‘They’re white ain’t they?’ If you’re white, you’re protected. Colour is subjected to your background. If you’re white you’re superior. This is a bad lesson, people cannot accept the fact that this is taught in schools in wrong.

* Ewells, white, lying trash. People forget about him and forgets about him.

* Missionary Table.

* Dismissive of other cultures ‘Sin and Squalor’

* Claim to be ministering the poor black Mrunas tribe, but do not support the poor black people in the society, especially Helen Robinson who is a good Christian.

* ‘We educate them until they are blue in the face’ They will never be educated and are unequal.

* ‘No lady is safe in her bed’ Every black person is a rapist, dangerous.

* ‘Good but misguided’ Mrs Merriweather, do not respect Atticus’ actions.

* ‘Sulky Darky’

* Being a good Christian.

* Cunninghams.

* Democracy.

* Language – Mr Gilmer.

* ‘Boy’, ‘Robinson’.

* Atticus calls Mayella Ewell as ‘Miss Mayella’, Mam,

* Black/White Visit to Church.

* ‘They got their church, we got ours’ Lula.

* Attitudes to Atticus in the black community, regard him as bright, smart, capable and reliable.

* Atticus is recognised as a good person and is re-elected.

* Aunt Alexandra.

* The cakes, Calpurnia’s cooking.

* Cunninghams ‘Streak’

* Inferior history.

* Aunt Alexandra does not encourage Scout to play with the Cunninghams. Just because their history.

* Aunt Alexandra believes family background is most important.

* prejudice among white community.

* Cunninghams are upright, repay what they owe, would not borrow if they can’t repay.

Paragraph 3, 4, 5 key points.

Paragraph 6, counter arguments.

Paragraph 4 – Key Quotes

* That boy is trash

* Not our folks

* Scrub till he shines

* What is best for the family

Paragraph 5 – Key Quotes

* These women are criticising African culture, as describing it “Sin and Squalor”

* They see that anything not Christian is barbaric.

* Moral Blindness, they are planning to fix things out in Africa, but do not realise the effect on Tom Robinson’s death on Helen. They try to sort things out thousands of miles away but do not think about sorting things out in their own town first.

* Claims that her maid Sophy is “Complaining”. She calls her “Sulky Darky”.

* “God created everyone equal” Racial discrimination in Maycomb contradicts this. Christian teaching that there is no social status and hierarchy. White population is using the Black community to do dirty jobs, and treats them as lower class citizens.

* “Love thy neighbour”

* HELEN ROBINSON is a good Christian, she deserves financial support for a widowed parent and fatherless children. These Christian missionaries do not see this.

* “Most devout woman in Maycomb”

* Her first name is “Grace” she does not understand the concept of grace according to the bible.

* ESPOUSES great emotional ignorance, moral blindness.

* She keeps Sophie because she is too important. Won’t admit that Sophie is important. She says Sophie is “Depressed”. Atticus proudly admits that the house and family would not survive without Calpurnia.

* “To Maycomb, Tom’s death was typical. Typical for a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind as fast as he saw.” This is a very racist comment. Deeply unfair and untrue. Stereotyping an entire race. Assuming that the black community is reckless. Ironically, Tom Robinson lived a clean and upright life, like a Mockingbird. Also, Tom Robinson had absolutely no choice, he was fighting for his life, he could not wait for an appeal, it was his best chance to break free.

Paragraph 6

* Dill in the courthouse ‘It makes me sick”

* Jem “It ain’t right”

* “Mr Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children would understand.” Mr Underwood writes to children so that the future generation would understand, there is no way to change the stubborn minds of the current generation, he gives more hope and faith in the young generation.

* “Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters” He is trying the shame the whole community. People understand this, but don’t take them seriously.

* “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.” Deep down inside them, they have already made a decision. It seems that there is justice, a court trial. Although Mr Underwood is racist, he still sees the injustice and shame of the community.

* Link Deas walks Helen Robinson.

In this novel, we see an upright, clean and respectable black man charged for a crime that he clearly didn’t commit, which epitomises how prejudice and hypocrisy is naturally adopted in human nature. Fortunately, as time progresses, we have seen and experienced many glimpses of hope for a world with less of these qualities, but we must admit the fact that it will never be ceased, that we faced it right from the dawn of human history and would still face it till the end.

How are prejudice and hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird?

In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee brings the readers to the roots of human nature – prejudice and hypocrisy. She deliberately isolates various characters and cleverly depicts the way it is used through the eyes of Scout and Jem, innocent children of Atticus Finch who is a rightful and respected lawyer. Although Maycomb seems riddled with such despicable attributes, there are still some moments of hope.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was mainly focused in the 1930s, although slavery was abolished, they enforced racial segregation between the white and black community. Hypocrisy and prejudice is seen in many ways throughout the novel, it not only does evolve around the black and white community, is also engulfs an entire white community itself. In Harper Lee’s Maycomb, hypocrisy and prejudice is demonstrated within a focus of events such as the Tom Robinson case, and various characters such as Calpurnia, the Cunninghams, the Ewell’s, Tom Robinson, and the Finch family.

The Tom Robinson case in one of the main events where prejudice and hypocrisy is focused on. As we can see, there is no way for Tom Robinson, the novel’s main mockingbird, to win the case due to his skin colour. “Tom Robinson was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth.” Sadly, ignoring justice and social order, we can see a presupposed conclusion for the Tom Robinson case, a shameful and stubborn “moral” (inequality in the 1930s) code that the word of a black man will always be weaker than a white person’s one. To the powerful white community, this “code of conduct” will supposedly maintain social order. During the case, Bob Ewell claims “I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!” Testifying in court, Bob Ewell uses the worse possible words in the English language to refer to Tom Robinson. The phrase “Black Nigger” suggests that all he sees of Tom is his skin colour, who is only a black man. He does not even use the words “He”, “Tom” or “Mr Robinson”, but just “Black Nigger”.

Furthermore, the use of “Rutting” is referred to animals, defining Tom Robinson only worth as much as an animal. Prejudice can also be seen from Mr Gilmer towards reference to Tom Robinson, he says “”You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?” Mr. Gilmer seemed ready to rise to the ceiling… Below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson’s answer. Mr. Gilmer paused a long time to let it sink in.” Because Tom Robinson pities Mayella Ewell and decides to help her, and due to strong racial segregation, a black person feeling sorry for a white woman is totally unacceptable, given by a black person’s low status, feeling sorry for a white woman would put themselves in a higher position.

In Atticus’s final speech he says “–the evil assumption– that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women… There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing” This passage suggests the racial patterns prevalent in Maycomb, that given by your skin colour, the person who you are underneath is already defined regardless of personality. Even worse, the white community assumes that all black people are rapists, dangerous, and immoral, which means that there can be no justice served for black people, that it is ironic that there is indeed no morality to stereotype an entire race of people.

In addition, during the missionary circle, Mrs Merriweather and her missionaries make negative remarks on the black community. Firstly, they intend on bringing peace and order in Africa to a tribe called the Mrunas. “Oh child, these poor Mrunas…Mrs Merriweather’s brown eyes filled with tears when she considered the oppressed…The poverty, the darkness, the immorality.” Mrs Merriweather wants to help the black tribe Mrunas, whom she considers lives in virtual oppression and sadness. This example espouses great emotional ignorance and moral blindness. Her team of missionaries are planning to improve situations in Africa, but ignore or do not realise the effect of Tom Robinson’s trial on Helen Robinson, who is widowed with fatherless children to feed. “We can educate ‘em till we’re blue in the face, we can try till we drop to make Christians out of ’em, but there’s no lady safe in her bed these nights.”

Mrs Merriweather believes that no matter how hard they try to educate the Mrunas, they’ll still never be educated. “no lady safe in their bed” Mrs Merriweather refers to the Tom Robinson case and says that all black men are very dangerous members of the community, ironically Tom Robinson has not committed any crime. She also ignores the fact of how the black community in Maycomb are the real people being “oppressed” and living in “poverty”. Meanwhile, rants about the Mruna culture as “Sin and Squalor”. Again, she recognises something that is not Christian as barbaric and uncivilised. “Mrs Merriweather was the most devout lady in Maycomb”, this quote tells me that she is a deeply devoted Christian who follows everything Christianity teaches. However, examples of Christian teachings are “God created everyone equal” and “love thy neighbour”.

Racial discrimination in Maycomb contradicts this. Christian teaching that there is no social status and hierarchy. In addition Helen Robinson is a good Christian, who deserves financial support but does not receive any. Moreover, she comments on Tom Robinson’s death as reckless and unintelligent. “To Maycomb, Tom’s death was typical. Typical for a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind as fast as he saw.” This is a very racist comment which is deeply unfair and untrue, as she is stereotyping an entire race as being reckless, dull-witted and foolish. Tom Robinson had absolutely no choice, was fighting for his life. For Tom Robinson, it is entirely understandable that he couldn’t wait for an appeal and running away was his best chance to survive. In addition, she remarks “No woman is safe in their bed at night”

However, not only does prejudice and hypocrisy evolve around the white and black community, Harper Lee also includes prejudice within an entire race. For example, this happens when Aunt Alexandra does not approve of Scout’s permission to invite Walter Cunningham into their house and play with Scout. Aunt Alexandra says “But they’re not our kind of folks…he—is—trash, I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what.” Aunt Alexandra does not allow Scout to play with the Cunninghams, as she refers to them as lower-class citizens and does not look up to them. Playing with the Cunninghams would damage Scout’s reputation and would follow their bad habits. “You can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he’ll never be like Jem. Besides, there’s a drinking streak in that family a mile wide.

Finch women aren’t interested in that sort of people.” Aunt Alexandra believes that the Cunninghams are not worthy of respect because of their inferior history and bad reputation. She also despises them because they are poor. Aunt Alexandra believes that whatever the Cunninghams can achieve, their history of being lower-class citizens would not change the way they are as citizens of Maycomb nonetheless. Although the Cunninghams do not lend what they can’t pay back, voting “not guilty” of the Tom Robinson trial as they can relate to Tom Robinson’s injustice and respecting Atticus as a citizen and a lawyer, Aunt Alexandra does not recognise their dignity and integrity. This can be related to how the black community are, that because of the skin colour, the person beneath them is already defined.

However, Maycomb does have a good side, a side that is not entirely prejudiced and hypocritical. This can be seen from the court case, as Judge Taylor firstly chose Atticus as the lawyer for a reason, so Tom Robinson would have his best chance. “Judge Taylor would have had reasons for naming Atticus…It was no accident because he’s the only man in these parts who can keep up a jury out so long in a case like that” Ignoring racist perceptions on the black community, Judge Taylor did something that many people in Maycomb wouldn’t have done – he appointed Atticus to give Tom Robinson the best chance to win. Judge Taylor believes that Tom Robinson was innocent in the first place, and does not deserve to be found guilty for a crime he certainly didn’t commit.

Other signs of hope are seen when innocent children Jem and Dill are utterly disgusted by the way black people are being treated. “It makes me sick” and “It ain’t right” These two quotes from Dill and Jem suggest that they believe that it is not right to treat someone with different skin colour badly. Jem and Scout both are able to recognise the injustice of Tom Robinson’s persecution. After the case, even Mr Underwood, who is totally irritated by black people, still sees that it is wrong to treat someone badly due to their race. “Mr Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children would understand…senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters” Mr Underwood writes to children so that the future generation would understand, there is no way to change the stubborn minds of the current generation, as gives more hope and faith in the younger generation, and attempts to change the face of the community. Also, Tom Robinson’s death was of no apparent reason, but was harmed due to prejudice and strong racism.

In this novel, we see an upright, clean and respectable black man charged for a crime that he clearly didn’t commit, which epitomises how prejudice and hypocrisy is naturally adopted in human nature. Fortunately, as time progresses, we have seen and experienced many glimpses of hope for a world with less of these qualities, but we must admit the fact that it will never be ceased, that we faced it right from the dawn of human history and would still face it till the end.

Possible additions

Cut out sentences

The court case effect on Atticus. “Ruining the family” Francis “Nigger lover” Cecil Jacobs “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” Mrs Dubose. Atticus and his children have already received discrimination prior to the Tom Robinson court case, even worse, he also receives volleys of hideous insults from his own family. We can see that the community not only does not support Atticus defending a black man, but also despises him.

Mr Underwood also adds “Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters” A senseless slaughter of songbirds suggest that Tom Robinson is a Mockingbird, who was innocent and was killed for no apparent reason, but died because of racism and injustice. He is trying the shame the whole community. People understand this, but don’t take them seriously.

Also, Link Deas, the boss of now deceased Tom Robinson, makes a job for Helen Robinson. “Mr. Link Deas made a job for Helen. He didn’t really need her, but he said he felt right bad about the way things turned out.” When Mr Link Deas “Made” a job for Helen, this tells me that although he didn’t need her, he still felt sorry that Tom Robinson died wrongly and offered her a job so that she will be financially stable to raise her children and family.

Cite this How are Prejudice and Hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird?

How are Prejudice and Hypocrisy explored in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird?. (2017, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/prejudice-hypocrisy-explored-harper-lees-kill-mockingbird/

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