Discrimination and Childhood Activities in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
This essay is a look into the themes of discrimination and childhood activities as brought out in the novel entitled to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is structured as follows:
Introduction: Talks about the novel; To Kill a Mockingbird and extends to touch on the two themes.
The Body: The themes
Here, the two themes of discrimination and childhood activities are dealt with under the appropriate headings.
This is a brief statement that captures the general content covered in the essay.
Discrimination and Childhood Activities as covered in Harper Lee’s novel; To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is the famous novel by Harper Lee. The setting is in Alabama and the time is in the 1930s during the economic crisis that later came to be known as the depression. The story revolves around a man named Tom who has been accused of sexually assaulting Mayella, the daughter of Ewell, the shameless and cold racist (Lee 26).Atticus Finch, a white man who believes in equality and above all the innocence of Tom decides to be his lawyer. He however loses the case and Tom is sentenced to death.
Discrimination is one of the major themes or issues discussed in the book. To be precise, the whole book is centered on the issue of discrimination.
The Atticus family and especially Atticus Finch gets isolated from the rest of the racist white community and they brand him “nigger lover” because of his decision to defend Tom Robinson. Atticus becomes the object of derision and abuses and this does not make Jem happy.Maudie Atkinson calls Atticus Finch “the deadest shot” in Maycomb County (Lee 112).He begins harassing anyone who tries to make fun or abuse his father. The isolation of the Atticus Finch family by the rest of the whites’ community is discrimination. Of course Atticus Finch as well as the children are led by conscience and they are not shaken by the discrimination. They move on with their lives and try as much as possible to lead their lives.
Leaving the above aside, Tom is accused of harassing Mayella, he is taken to court. It is clear that he is innocent and Atticus Finch, the good lawyer tries to prove this. The people in the courtroom cannot hear any of this. The guiding factor is the color of the skin of the accused. Being a black man, he is guilty as charged. This is discrimination in the discharge of justice. The discrimination is done on the grounds of race.
Another area where discrimination surfaces in the novel is when after the sentencing of Tom Robinson, evidence is found that he actually did not harass Mayella. Under normal circumstances, the person who has been made to suffer for no good reason including being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit is supposed to be compensated by his accusers. But in this particular setting, the man is given a life sentence instead of being killed. This is all they are able to do for him. Again the reason is the color of his skin. No one cares to ensure that the innocent black man is served with his fair share of justice. This is discrimination on the basis of race.
Apart from the above, we are told in the novel that the racist Ewell Mayella comes from a section of Maycomb that is referred to as “trash”. Their interaction with the rest of the community is not the normal one. So they are subjected to a level of discrimination.
This is another area that Harper Lee explores in the book as a way of showing how deep the crisis of racism was. It was so serious such that even children knew what was going on.
The Finch children, Scout and Jem play with Boo. They are curious to find out whether what they have heard about him is true. The way they sneak into Boo’s house is characterized by childish playfulness and activity.
In the course of their playfulness, the children find a package in the knothole of a tree (Lee 53).The gift is shiny and the tree from which they pick it is live. All this is in line with their activities as children.
As the book closes, Scout Lee brings in a new dimension of childhood activities. She says that neighbors give back in return but they did not take anything back to the tree (Lee 320).She says she is very sad due to that. Harper Lee is showing how things are meant to be. If childhood activities can be that thoughtful and meaningful, what about adulthood engagements? They are supposed to be definitely better.