University of Costa Rica
School of Modern Languages
Sonya K. Jones
Out of Class Essay
To Kill a Mockingbird
Susana Vargas Ramirez
To Kill a Mockingbird suggests that there are many human conducts such as racism, intolerance, prejudging and classism that only lead society to a vicious cycle of violence and repulsion against what or who is differentbringing humans apart day by day. With a brilliant use of symbolism and plot Harper Lee gives us lesson on how biased and cruel humans tend to be when it comes to acceptance, tolerance and respect.
Lee Harper writes a novel resembling a tragedy in which a “hero” (Tom Robinson) takes the reader through a journey to teach a lesson about human behavior and values. In To Kill a Mockingbird, plotplays a crucial role in describing many situations where society is undoubtedly wrong and unfair with no reason. Through four stages in the novel, these actions are emphasized. At the beginning of the story, the initial situation presents the issue of social inequality; the Finch family, first of all, had had a black woman as their maid for a long time, this woman (Calpurnia) had no otherobjective in live aside serving the family. The Finches were a little bit different than the rest of the people though; they treated her well, were fond of her and respected her as a human which was very unusual toward black people at that time. Then, we are told about the Ewell family. This was a very numerous, poor and uneducated family full of violence and psychological aggressions. The members of thisfamily were, perhaps because of ignorance, extremely racist and tried to take advantage of every situation that could represent and economic reward for them. Bob Ewell along with his nine motherless children is significantly different from the Finches who have had the access to high quality education and to seeing the world from a different perspective. The comparison between these two familiesand Calpurnia is a clear example of social inequality. But this was not the only issue in Maycomb County; racism took the first place in the novel’s conflict. In this important part of the plot, Atticus Finch agrees to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who is being accused of raping a white woman. As expected, the public opinion is against him; people in the town cannot conceive that AtticusFinch, a respectable and honorable man, decided to defend a “negro” in court; for these people “negroes” are more or less animals. It was well known that in court white people always won against black people; therefore, Atticus also sees in this trial the opportunity of changing people’s minds and teaching them that humans are all the same no matter the color of their skin or the God they believe in. Aproof of this is when Mr. Finch tells his children, “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life” (p. 252). This tells how strong segregation is in Maycomb and the world at that time in general, butalso proves the intention of Atticus of showing his kids that this attitude is quite far from correct.
Later on, in the novel’s climax, the jury finds Tom Robinson guilty, despite Atticus best efforts. The stereotype against “negroes” wins one more time and Scout and Jem are absolutely disappointed, for they believed that there was some hope on Tom’s case. However, it took a long time for thejury to decide whether Tom was guilty or not, given that he had very good evidence on his side. This fact gives the reader a slight sensation that the overall mentality has changed, or at least attempted to change, yet the values of this town continued to be aberrant and biased. Atticus expresses his disconformities when he tells Jem, “I don't know [how they could convict Tom Robinson], but they...
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