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Essay/Term paper: To kill a mockingbird: prejudice is part of our inherent nature

Essay, term paper, research paper:  To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill A Mockingbird: Prejudice Is Part of Our Inherent Nature

Why did Atticus defend a nigger? What was the point of being the advocate for a
black man? It doesn't matter if their guilty or innocent, you can ceaselessly
and effortlessly convict the animals for their colour vice. You can even turn a
blind eye to the obvious truth. And so did the "people", the white, narrow-
minded, bigoted and hypocritical people of Maycomb.

The justification for why Atticus broke from the norm, and acted unlike most
others in his community, can be compared to the motive of the central character
in the novel, A Time To Kill, written by John Grisham. The comparative
character, a lawyer named Jake, also endangers not only his own life but his
family's, by defending a Negro. He is compelled to undergo such a risk as he
believes he is protecting an innocent man. Despite the fact that he is black.
Jake could not live with himself if he failed to give his utmost effort in
clearing the accused, Carl Lee Hailey's, name. The lawyer feels that it is his
obligation to humanity to do so. Similarly, the case Atticus accepts is
something which goes to the essence of a man's own conscience. Atticus is
unable to treat the underdogs of the town how the majority of people act towards
them. Clearly the people of Maycomb are narrow-minded, bigoted and hypocritical,
and Atticus Finch is not. Nothing can be done to make the prejudiced, perverse
people hear the truth. This dogmatic attitude does not occur exclusively
between the whites and the Negroes either. The community's unsubstantiated
stories about other citizens also demonstrate their heedless to the truth and
prejudiced natures.

Arthur Radley, otherwise labelled Boo, has for decades been maliciously
slandered, in the county. The people that have done so do not know Arthur, and
the reason they can make such judgments escapes me. When there was a series of
pets being mysteriously slaughtered, the consensus was that it was performed by
Boo. Later, when the culprit transpired to be someone else, most people were
still rooted in the belief that Boo was to blame. They could not believe the
truth. And all unsolved crimes committed, in the area, have been manufactured
solely by him. If your garden freezes it is because he breathed on it and nuts
and other fruits, grown on the Radley property, are considered poisonous. Why
have these allegations been targeted on Arthur? All that distinguishes him from
other folks is that he isolates himself from the community. Is privacy a crime?
Do we all have to act like sheep and follow the flock? Are none of us able to
act unconventionally and live how we wish to live? According to the community
of Maycomb, the answer the last question is no. Just another example of the
people's narrow-minded and bigoted mentalities. Arthur saved both the lives of
Scout and Jem Finch. He left them gifts. Yet, very few people can look beyond
his damning past. And he is white!

Tom Robinson, would be a free man, living with his family, if it was not for the
citizens of Maycomb. I admit, he was guilty. Guilty of being a neighbour to
someone in trouble. Guilty of helping Mayella a great amount doing odd jobs
for her, without pay, but from the goodness of his soul. Guilty of wishing to
make her long-suffering life easier. Guilty of refraining from her physical
advances. Guilty as charged. Oh, how he should suffer. Yes, Tom has many
damning weaknesses. However, his main sin is being black, and in Maycomb county
that is enough to discard all evidence and logical reasoning, exclude all
rational thought, and convict him of rape and battery. Atticus stated, "Tom
Robinson was a dead man as soon as Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed."
(p266) He had no chance of an acquittal as no-one will hear the truth, on
account of the dire racism that has been embedded into them.

The jury, representing the "typical" kinsmen of the community, pronounced Tom
guilty. All evidence pointed to Mr. Ewell as the offender, a man who spends his
relief cheques on whiskey and lets his children cry with hunger pains. Poor
white trash. While, Tom Robinson is a good citizen, with a good job and a good
family but with a bad, bad skin colour. And that's the important factor. Isn't
it essential to obstruct the world from becoming one that isn't bigoted? If it
was to fall into that destructive state, people that thrash their children, so
that their faces become unrecognizable, like Bob Ewell, may not triumph over
gentle and kind-hearted ones like Tom Robinson. The judge, jury, both lawyers,
practically the entire town knew that Tom was innocent and showed their utter
hypocrisy by sentencing him, nonetheless. The bigotry of the community
predetermined the verdict of the case. It was proven unquestionably that he did
not rape nor beat Mayella, but the people of Maycomb still could not hear the
truth. Why? Perhaps, this is the origin of the term "to whitewash".

Prejudice is a part of our inherent nature, to fear the unknown, to dislike
those who are unlike us. To strive to surpass this will make us part of an
enlightened society. Or does that take too much effort? Is saving the lives of
"inferior" people, like Boo and Tom too superfluous? The narrow-minded, bigoted
and hypocritical people of Maycomb endeavored to kill mockingbirds. "
Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy....they don't do
one thing but sing their hearts out for us." (Page 100) The persecutors were
deaf to the truth. They killed Boo and Tom, who in turn became two killed


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