To Kill a Mockingbird Themes: Racism

Spider diagram of how racism is expressed in the novel.

  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 19-05-13 14:45
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  • To Kill a Mockingbird Themes: Racism and Intolerance
    • Racism
      • Most white people in Maycomb think black people are inferior.
      • Racism was rife in the AMerican South in the 1930's.
      • Prejudice is a normal part of life for most of the characters.
      • The characters don't think twice about using racist language like "darky" or "******".
        • Scout tells Atticus that's "what everybody at school says".
        • The don't think it's offensive - they think black people are inferior and don't need to be treated with respect.
      • The white community don't have any respect for the black community - the white men gamble in the black community's church during the week.
      • Atticus calls racism Maycomb's "usual disease".
        • The word "usual" shows how common racism is, and how hard it'll be to change what so many people have believed all their lives.
    • Standing up to racism
      • Atticus realises he is "licked" before the trial even starts - the court won't take the word of a black man over a white man.
        • Even if that white man is "trash" like Bob Ewell.
      • People's prejudices are stronger than cold, hard evidence.
        • Atticus proves that Tom couldn't have attacked Mayella because of his crippled left arm - but the jury still find Tom guilty.
      • The people of Maycomb aren't afraid to show their feelings about the trial - they call Atticus a "******-lover".
        • Scout and Jem have to put up with insults from children and adults.
      • Defending Tom Robinson makes Atticus vulnerable to violence too - he's threatened by a lynch mob and Bob Ewell.
        • Tom Robinson's trial is similar to the real-life Scottsboro Trials in 1931.
    • Attitude changing
      • The jury takes several hours to reach a verdict - and one jury member argues that Tom Robinson is innocent.
        • Miss Maudie says that this is a "baby-step" towards a more equal and tolerant society.
      • Mr Link Deas gives Tom's wife a job and stands up for her when Bob Ewell tries to frighten her.
      • Aunt Alexandra is horrified by Tom's death - she's begun to realise the consequences of Maycomb's prejudice/
  • Cecil Jacobs - school boy.
    • Scout and Jem have to put up with insults from children and adults.


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