Honors English II, Period 2
3 May 2013
Southern Pride and Prejudice
The residents of the pocket sized, rural town called Maycomb are consumed by their pride for their town history, and only a small majority of them have an unprejudiced mindset when it comes to race and social equality. In Harper Lee’s provocative novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the author concentrates mainly on two ideologies, racism and social inequality, both practiced by hypocritical people. She depicts two story-lines: one of the town recluse and the other about an incriminated black man, both of which demonstrate the town’s lack of tolerance for those below them while showing ...view middle of the document...
As the trial proceeds and the verdict is about to be deliberated, he communicates to the court that they should remember that their duty is to be just and unprejudiced. In hope of successfully changing the minds of the jury, he implores the court to think with a different perspective. “There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no living man who has looked upon a woman without desire” (173). He makes the thought provoking argument that one cannot pass these judgements on a man simply because of the color of his skin, because all are guilty of sin. A white man does not always have a pure heart by default; in fact it can be as black as an African man’s skin.
Atticus respects the neighborhood outcast, Arthur Radley, or “Boo” as the children call him because he is the subject of the community’s eerie and ghostly legends. Though he has not been seen for years, Boo is said to be a malignant man, as labeled by the wild rumors going around. Because of their absence in daily activities, the town is hostile toward the Radley family. “The Radleys, welcomed anywhere in town, kept to themselves, a predilection unforgivable in Maycomb. They did not go to church, Maycomb’s principal recreation, but worshiped at home” (6). Subsequent to their reticent behavior, the townspeople resort to creating ludicrous tales about what happens behind the perpetually closed doors of their run down house. The children believed this hearsay and are infatuated with this fearsome entity. They are quickly reprimanded by Atticus when they start to center their asinine games around Boo and mock him. Atticus, who is easily able to see things from the perspective of others, teaches his children not to follow the example of the townspeople who make fun of outsiders but to respect those who are prey to harsh gossipers. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.....until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (22). Atticus reiterates the significance of trying to understand another person’s point of view instead of jumping to conclusions and defining them without proper knowledge of the person. Another reason why he teaches his children this is to make them aware of the impact their words have on people. Instead of antagonizing people along with the majority of the town, Atticus sets an example and encourages them to be supportive toward Boo and empathetic toward the loneliness he must endure.
Though people question his unrealistic moral ethics, Atticus does not let this change his view of those who criticize him. Atticus and his children are persecuted by family and neighbors because of his choice to represent a black person. When Scout calls to his father’s attention that he is labeled the derogatory nickname “Negro lover” by their elderly neighbor, he responds, “I most certainly am. I do my best to love everybody....I am hard put sometimes....so don’t...