To Kill a Mocking Bird Essay- Feedback please

To Kill a Mocking bird by Harper Lee.

Would like some response on how to make my essay better.

  1. Analyse how the ending of the text reinforced or challenged your understanding of one or more ideas.

In “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee, Lee can comment on injustice by emphasizing institution racism throughout the small town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. She uses the ending of the novel to highlight the discrimination rooted in Maycomb with Tom Robison’s trial, To reinforce the theme of racial discrimination link throughout the whole of the story.

The American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s to 1960s was significant and led to major changes in American Society, Martian Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and others, were all part of the public landscape as they fought for racial equality. Lee’s audience would have been aware of these events as they read her novel and would have seen the real-life parallels in their society. In this way, Lee contributed to the civil rights movement by highlighting important issues in a manner that was easy to understand and emphasized the possibility for positive change and racial harmony. Unfortunately, 60 years later, despite improvements, America still suffers from some racial inequality.

Throughout the story, Lee hints at and shows racial discrimination within the story, the way she
reinforced this idea was in the Maycomb Courthouse, a place of justice and equality, with Tom Robison’s trial. Throughout the trial there are many hints to the racial discrimination in the courthouse, Mr. Gilmer’s ( A lawyer who wants the prosecution of Tom Robison) case is not held together with proper evidence but with manipulation. An example of this is how he manipulates the jury to remind the jury on where Tom Robison’s (Tom is a Black man who is being accused of rape allegations) “place” in society is, he does this when Mr. Robison says he is sorry for Mayella Ewell ( The lady who was raped) and says “ you felt sorry for her, for her.” This is the first sign of his racial intent to manipulate the court. Another tactic Mr. Gilmers uses is he tells the jury that Tom is nothing better than the animals, and degrades him by calling him “boy”.
He does this to build off the prejudice in the court and in the jury, to remind the court that it is a Black man who is on trial. He tries to build off Maycombs racial prejudices and get not just the jury wound up but the crowd so the jury feels socially pressured. Lee does this to reinforce that almost everyone has Maycomb’s usual disease of racism and how deep of a hold it has on the town. The parable that she links her story to is the story of the Scottsboro 9, story about 9 colored men accused of rape by 2 white women, there was an all-white jury and like Mr. Gilmer, there was no medical evidence of rape.

Just like in the Scottsboro 9 court case, Tom Robison’s jury was all made up of white men, Scouts describes these men as “sunburnt farmers.” And we also get told by Reverend Sykes
“I ain’t ever seen a jury side in favor of a colored man over a white man.”
This helped reinforce the theme of discrimination because it shows that the courthouse’s
Jury cannot be relied on, to bring about social justice. The micro setting of the courthouse also highlights discrimination, Harper Lee does by showing the Jim Crow Laws (segregation of the black people from the white people) within the courthouse, she talks about the colored balcony how the colored community had to sit upstairs, while the white community is seated downstairs, just to show discrimination inside of the courthouse. We also get a description of the courthouse and its Victorian and Greek architecture, Lee adds this in because she wants to show us how non-progressive racism is, racism prevents Maycomb from being a harmonious society.

But the main part to link it all together came in at two parts at the end of the novel, the first part is it took the jury took 3 hours to come to a final decision, That means even after being heavily persuaded by Atticus and his evidence to say that Tom Robison is guilty, Lee added this to show reinforce the idea of racial discrimination by showing that Tom never stood a chance for proper justices because the jury was too blinded by their racial behavior from the truth we get told by Atticus that “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” and this meant that like many other Tom didn’t stand a chance being a colored man on trial in the 1930s in Alabama. We also get the quote that says “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.”
But the second part is when Tom is sent to a prison camp and is shot trying to escape, the discrimination comes here because we find out he had “Seventeen bullet holes in him.”
This means that Tom knew that the court system would probably fail him and would rather risk his life and escape and take fate into his own hands. “ The Seventeen bullet holes” Lee added this in to show the discrimination from the guards and their angry intentions. This relates to the senseless slaughter of Mocking birds, Tom is symbolically a mockingbird who is innocent and killed for the sins of others. Lee adds this to reinforce the idea of racial discrimination to leave the reader feeling lost and emotional seeing that this discrimination is bad and needs to be solved to help influence people in the modern era to change, and not be blinded by the truth due to racism.

1 Like

Kiā ora and welcome to Studyit.
This is an interesting question - the use of the words reinforced and challenged implies that you need to establish what your own ideas were and whether or not they changed. You could go a little deeper into this in the intro. Eg. For many of us it is difficult to comprehend just how alienating and wrong systemic racism can be and how it can render victims powerless, this is clearly reinforced in the end of the novel…
You have some great evidence and show a clear understanmding of the issue, with some excellent references to wider society.
Making the conclusion a little stronger would be a good idea - come back to the question and how the ending has reinforced your attitudes.
It is a solid effort.
Hope this helps