The heroic character of Atticus Finch has been held up as a role model of moral virtue and impeccable character for lawyers to emulate. To Kill a Mockingbird has endured as a mainstay on high school and college reading lists. It was adapted to film in as a major motion picture starring Gregory Peck.
In order to sift through the many layers of prejudice that Lee exposes in her novel, the reader needs to understand the complex history of race relations in the South. Many states — particularly in the South — passed "Jim Crow" laws named after a black, minstrel show characterwhich severely limited how African Americans could participate in society.
The first Jim Crow law appeared in ; the laws increased from there and lasted until the civil rights movement of the s. Many whites at the time believed that instead of progressing as a race, blacks were regressing with the abolition of slavery.
Southern churches frequently upheld this racist thinking, which also helped give the Jim Crow laws some of their power. Ironically, African American churches were as likely to uphold the Jim Crow laws as white churches were. The continued oppression of one group over another is largely psychological.
The dominant group first uses force to obtain their power. Slowly, the group being oppressed begins to feel hopeless that the situation can change and begins to unwittingly buy into the oppression as the norm.
Before the civil rights movement gained momentum, many African American churches concentrated on helping their congregations deal with the oppression rather than trying to end it. Jim Crow laws extended into almost every facet of public life. The laws stipulated that blacks use separate entrances into public buildings, have separate restrooms and drinking fountains, and sit in the back of trains and buses.
Blacks and whites were not allowed to be served food in the same room in a restaurant, play pool together, share the same prisons, or be buried in the same cemeteries. Black children were educated in separate schools.
Not every law applied in every state, but the Jim Crow laws were demoralizing and far reaching, all in the name of protecting white culture and power. Interracial Marriage At the time Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, white people had control over the communities they lived in, but many members of the elite class feared that African Americans would make inroads into the white world by marrying and having children with whites.
Thus, interracial marriage was outlawed in many states. Biracial children were referred to as "mulatto," a word derived from "mule," because, like mules, these children were thought to be the offspring of an unnatural union.
Ironically, biracial children born to black mothers were not seen as a threat to white superiority, so most people looked the other way when a white man — like Dolphus Raymond in the novel — chose to marry a black woman. The fear of interracial unions reached its apex in a widely held, unrealistic fear that African American men would rape and impregnate white women as a means of penetrating white society and, worse, white power.
This sort of crime virtually never happened.
However, the frenzy that characterized the "rape complex" led to drastic and deadly results: Lynching became the primary means of dealing with any accusation of rape of a white woman was pinned on a black man.
When the mob comes to lynch Tom Robinson at the jail, Lee alludes to the reality of black men who lived on the receiving end of this treatment.
In the Scottsboro case, two white women accused nine black men of raping them as they traveled from Tennessee to Alabama.To Kill a Mockingbird Essay - Download as Word Doc .doc /.docx), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.
Scribd is the world's largest social reading and publishing site. [In the following essay, Jolley discusses her approach to teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to high school students in conjunction with the study of poetry treating themes of courage and compassion.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a book written by Harper Lee. The To Kill a Mockingbird study guide contains a biography of Harper Lee, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a f. Apr 19, · To Kill A Mockingbird Essay In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird a major theme is the loss of innocence.
Whether from emotional abuse, racial prejudice or learning, Boo, Tom, and Scout all lose their innocence in one sense or another.
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee (Born Nelle Harper Lee) American novelist. The following entry provides criticism on Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Essays and criticism on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - Critical Essays.