To Kill a Mockingbird essay -Could i please have some Feedback

***Analyze how specific events reinforced your understanding of one or more ideas. ***
(theme, character, setting).

Harper Lee uses specific events in her novel “To kill a mockingbird” to reinforce the readers understanding of racial discrimination within a small town.

The author uses specific events within “To Kill a Mockingbird” to show the understanding of discrimination and injustice within Maycomb. Harper Lee grew up in Alabama in 1930 and observed the Civil Rights movement in the 1930s-1960s. In her classic novel ‘To kill a Mockingbird’. She uses specific events within the novel to comment and show the ongoing theme of discrimination and injustice within the town of Maycomb. Lee uses events such as the rabid dog (symbolizing Maycomb’s racist society) getting shot by Atticus, the lynch mob which comes to kill Tom Robinson (a black man accused of raping a white woman), The verdict of Tom Robinson’s trial, and the First Purchase church raising money for Helen Robinson (Tom Robinson’s wife).

The American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s was significant and led to a major change in American society. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and others were all a 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 an important issue that was easy to understand emphasizing the possibility for positive change and racial harmony. Unfortunately, 60 years, despite improvements, America still suffers from some racial inequality.

In Chapter 11 of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, a key event occurred when Atticus (A white lawyer who is also the father of Jem and Scout) shoots a wild rabid dog in the street of Maycomb. The author was trying to convey the message that the dog was a symbol of Maycomb’s racist society. A clear example of this is when Atticus puts himself in between two powerful faces and doing a difficult thing. This relates to the similar situation of Atticus defending Tom Robinson and he protects the community from the most dangerous racial tendencies. “Maycomb’s usual disease is racism”. The dog and its disease of Rabies symbolize Maycomb’s disease of racism and how easily the disease can spread. Atticus (known as being great at rifle shooting) is the only shot to killing the rapid dog so it does not infect anyone else. This means that Atticus is Tom Robinson’s only shot at showing the town what real courage is. It is clear from the quote above that Atticus is the only one able to stop the ‘disease’ from spreading. Lee was intending to symbolize the ‘mad dog’ to the institutional racism that has unfairly accused a handicapped black man of raping a white woman.

It seems that the event in the novel where the local white men (the lynch mob) try to kill Tom Robinson is a key event in the novel that relates to the theme of discrimination and injustice. This is seen when the men want to kill Tom due to him being accused of raping a local white girl Mayella Ewell. This clearly states the idea of segregation and separation between the races. Scout interferes with the mob going ahead with the attempt to kill Tom due to her pointing out Walter Cunningham’s father. The Mob then becomes composed of people who act differently as individuals. “A mob always made up of people, no matter what. Mr Cunnginham was part of the mob last night, but he was still a man. Every mob in every little Southern town is always made up of people you know - doesn’t say much for them does it?”This is significant because it suggests that individuals which people know can be affected by society and other people to do bad things. This is called mob mentality, people being influenced by peers to adopt certain behaviour. This important event in the novel links to how Maycomb has the issue of discrimination and this event shows specifically racial discrimination with many white men wanting to kill Tom Robinson. This is powerful as it shows how white power can scare and also affect black peoples lives as they think it is okay to have control and treat blacks poorly.

Tom Robinson’s trial was used to show true inequality and injustice within the Maycomb community. A clear example of this was having the coloured balcony, where the blacks sat at the top on the balcony and the whites sat on the bottom floor and there was a white jury who was blinded by racism. “In our courts when it’s a white man’s word against a black man, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life” The author uses this quote as an example to show Maycomb’s society. Black people have no equality before the law. These 2 key ideas within the event can relate to the 1876-1965 Jim Crow laws where there was segregation in Public spaces. This links to Tom trial in the Courthouse where the coloured and whites were separated and there was an all-white jury running a black mans case.

The Verdict of Tom Robinson’s trial shows true racial discrimination and injustice. The use of Tom Robinsons’ trial where he was accused of raping a white woman with no true evidence. After several hours to reach a decision Tom was seen as guilty by the jury. This shows a true stereotype of Maycomb’s racist attitudes as there are no equal rights between the black native Americans and the whites. This demonstrates how the author wants the reader to recognize the true racist attitudes in Maycomb, a case which shouldn’t have resulted in Tom being innocent due to a lack of evidence and truth shows Tom as being guilty. “They’ve done it before and they did it tonight, and they will do it again” This is significant because Atticus states how racial prejudice is deep-seated in Maycomb’s culture and many people are involved in this racial discrimination. There is an important link to this event as it relates to the 1931 Scottsboro 9 incident where 9 coloured men were accused of raping two white women in Alabama. With there being all-white juries the men were all found as guilty despite there being evidence for innocents.

The First Purchase Church is another example of the theme of racial discrimination and injustice but in a positive way. Harper Lee shows how the black community helps each other out and raises $10 to help Helen Robinson (Tom Robinson’s wife) and her family it shows that the blacks have a strong faith because Jesus would always help those who are in need. Revered Sykes (the church’s “Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white people gambled it on a weekday” This is significant because it shows how the black people work hard and give their money to the white people for resources as well as give it in communion on Sundays while the white men waste the hard-earned money in the weekdays wasting it all away. The author’s purpose shows how Lee sees African Americans for good people. They are good Christians through actions. The church symbolized the freedom and faith of the black community.

Lee uses her novel to challenge whoever is reading on their beliefs whether they are religious beliefs or beliefs within the Society we live in. She wanted people to see how even small towns can be the most discriminative and unjust places in our society. Lee tries to teach readers that everyone should be treated equally and with dignity. In the gospel of Matthew the quote of “Love thy neighbour as you love thyself” is a command which Jesus said and is one which people live by. This links to how everyone in Maycomb should be treating everyone equally and with the same respect that you treat yourself.

Harper Lee uses these specific events to show discrimaintion to readers by linking it to her past, her present life when she was writing the novel. She tells readers through these events that racial discrimination is something which plays a big role especially when two races are invloved. The affects of descrimination can lead to inequalities and injustice worldwide which then leads to displacement of others in communities, in this case the African Americans. The message of don’t judge a book by its cover is seen in the novel as people presume things about others withou knowing their story.

Harper Lee uses Specific events to show a theme of discrimination and injustice. The events which show this are the Rabid dog, The lynching of Tom Robinson, The verdict of Tom Robinson’s trial, and the First Purchas Church. These events can relate to Maycomb’s disease of Racial discrimination and can also link to some outside events which happened around the time when To Kill a Mockingbird was set for example the Scottsboro 9 incident and the Jim Crow laws.

Kia ora and welcome to Studyit!

Contentwise this has a lot of really good stuff, some really good evidence and some elements of insight in your understanding.

In a couple of places you could unpick the language of your examples a little more - EG in the line " “They’ve done it before and they did it tonight, and they will do it again” - what can we infer from the repetition of the pronoun “they” - “us and them” type mentality, etc.

Great thorough introduction - I would put that first line together with the next part though, rather than having it out on its own.

In terms of structure - you have quite a few random bits that would be more effective if integrated together - The second paragraph has some great context, but would probably be more effective if it was tied in with your discussion of the events and the ideas again, rather than being on its own and not tied to the question.

You also essentially have two different conclusions - so I would shorten and integrate these together - to create clarity and cohesion in your argument.

Well done!

thank you - i really appreciate it