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Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

Uploaded by unknownscreenname on Jul 17, 2006

What you don't know can't hurt you, or so they say. Ignorance seems to course its way through the lives of the inhabitants of Maycomb, the fictional town in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, either directly or indirectly. Racism is a direct result of ignorance, and many of the people in To Kill a Mockingbird were racist, and those that weren't were greatly affected by it. Then there were the Ewells, who were ignorant on many other levels too. Even Scout's schoolteacher, whose job it was to impart knowledge, was hypocritical and racist!

Racism in Maycomb was the norm. Any attempt to deviate from that way of thinking was shunned, and you as well as branded on your forehead `nigger-lover'. As Atticus told Scout, ."..nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything - like snot-nose. It's hard to explain - ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody's favoring Negroes over and above themselves."(p.113) Very few people in Maycomb dared risk the scorn of the town, but those who did were completely admirable. Tom Robinson's trial brought out the true characters of all the townspeople. The Ewells were proved to be ignorant and crass, while others, such as Atticus and Tom Robinson, shone through with their honesty and integrity.

The Ewells were on an entire other level of ignorance than the rest of Maycomb. Bob Ewell and his clan were the lowest of the white people in the Maycomb hierarchy, only slightly above the blacks. "All the little man [Bob] on the witness stand had that made him any better than his nearest neighbors was, that if scrubbed with lye soap in very hot water, his skin was white." (p. 175) Bob, as a single parent on welfare, gets food stamps to provide for his seven children. But does he use the stamps to buy them food? No, instead he buys whiskey, and gets drunk. To allow him to provide for his children, the town has granted him amnesty to the hunting regulations. All the Ewell children just attend school for the first day in order to thwart the truancy people, so they are ignorant on an intellectual level too. The Ewells, though above the black society, were so much lower as far as morals and even cleanliness go. They are the most despicable and cowardly characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Scout's teacher was Miss Caroline...

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Uploaded by:   unknownscreenname

Date:   07/17/2006

Category:   To Kill a Mockingbird

Length:   3 pages (670 words)

Views:   32911

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