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A Comparision Of The Degree Of Racism In "To Kill A Mockingbird" And "Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry"

5591 words - 23 pages

From Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela and many more in between, people have tried to encourage the condemnation of prejudice. Harper Lee and Mildred D. Taylor have tried to do this using the medium of the novel. Many people would feel that the books could be set in the 19th century due to the significance of the prejudice and racism involved. They are actually set in the 1930s and, whilst these childhood accounts were written in the second half of the 20th century, the prejudice still existed at the time of writing and still occurs in inexcusable amounts today. Throughout both books, there are many instances where characters endure or cause suffering due to their unreasonable prejudice. ...view middle of the document...

Little Man is the one of the youngest in the class but he is the first child to be affronted enough by what he sees to raise the issue with the teacher. The teacher has obviously been faced with this fact for many years. Most of the other children either weren't affected by this, or completely overlooked the problem. This may have been because they have been subjected to prejudice for such a long time, that they are starting to feel that what is stated in the table is true; they only deserve the decaying books. This is appalling and clearly encourages the reader to condemn the prejudice highlighted to them. The government is likely to consist of those from white society and therefore what is even more scandalous, but not surprising, is the fact that the Board of Education would even find the need for a 'Race of Student' column. This indicates that when the books were first handed out in 1922, the Board of Education had already decided that when the books were in a very poor condition they would be sent to the black people. The incident condemns the institutional aspect of racial prejudice.Several people at the Wallace store, owned by the most prejudiced and racist man in the whole area, openly jeer at the black children, who are all very young. The white people clearly find no pain in insulting small children. "Melvin Simms said, "Just look at all the little niggers come to dance," and the laughter of men filled the room." The manner in which the white men treat the children is disgraceful. The white men talk about the children, not expecting the black children to understand them. Unfortunately the black children understand all too well. You have to admire Cassie's courage in being able to cross this room, showing the strength of character she has been able to develop in the face of all this adversity. This is incredibly effective at condemning prejudice, calling on everybody's own abhorrence of bullying. Imagine being a young girl, aged about 12, and you enter a room where everyone laughs because of what you look like. Now imagine that happening with a roomful of huge, dangerous and probably inebriated men. This is exactly what happened to Cassie, and is completely unjustifiable. The way the author enables you to feel empathy for Cassie is what condemns prejudice.More of this open prejudice appears in Mr. Barnett's shop, as he plainly ignores the black children in favour of a white woman, who had a lot more shopping than the black children:"Mr Barnett walked to another counter and began filling the order, but before he finished a white woman called, "Mr. Barnett, you waiting on anybody just now?" Mr. Barnett turned around, "Just them," he said, indicating to us with a wave of his hand. "What can I do for you, Miz Emmaline?" The woman handed him a list twice as long as T.J.'s and the storekeeper, without a word of apology to us, proceeded to fill it."After Mr. Barnett had displayed this blatant show of prejudice, Cassie went on to ask him why he...

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