Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird Much too often one is judged by the shallow exterior, rather than looking inside, deep into the person to accept their quirks and differences. If a person does not fit classic stereotypes, they are most of the time, sadly, rejected from peers and family. Characters from To Kill a Mockingbird such as Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, and Atticus Finch experience prejudice, but in unlike ways. Yet, similarly, when strangers get to truly understand these three men, the accusers realize they are at fault.
Being different is sometimes hard to think of in a positive light, but once it is noticed, they are often honored or respected. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the theme prejudice is ignorant is displayed through different kinds of prejudice. The first character faced with prejudice, ageism particularly, is Atticus. Since he is a wise and older man, Atticus has trouble keeping up with his young children. After his long days at the office, he enjoys sitting down on his sofa chair, and quietly reading the newspaper.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
When stressed, he does not have any patience to wrestle around and make a ruckus. Jem, being a juvenile boy, he is often disappointed that his father cannot join the community baseball game or even toss around a football in the backyard. All he wants in a father is the ability to be on the go and vigorous. At this point in his maturity, Jem does not respect his father’s vast knowledge and gentle nature. After always refusing to shoot a gun, Atticus was put on the spot to kill a dangerous, rabid dog, Tim Johnson.
Killing him with one bullet, Jem admired this unique and unexpected skill. To prove wrong his ageist thoughts even further, Jem starts to realize how impressive Atticus is when he fights and defends Tom Robinson in the courthouse. He respects his father in other areas that athletics and playfulness. Jem takes pride in his father after this realization, proving wrong his prejudice mindset of the strong man he loves. Xenophobia is the fear or prejudice against people, culture, and ideologies from foreign backgrounds.
Scout, Jem, and Dill are afraid of the unknown concerning Boo Radley. The adolescents make up untrue and hurtful stories about this lonely soul. They simply cannot grasp the idea that he is different, so they find it easier to create jokes and games about him. So very quickly, they associate that trait with evil ideas and destructive motives. Instead of being a friend to this “alien” as they call him, the kids torment a misunderstood man. But, when Bob Ewell seeks revenge on Atticus, Boo saves the ignorant children’s lives and makes sure they are back home safely.
After all Jem and Scout put him through, he still stays true to his morals. Scout, realizing her judgments about Boo were wrong, thanks him for saving her and Jem and agrees to walk him home. When she hugs him goodbye, she calls him Arthur. By calling him this, it signifies her new found respect for him, differences and all. Tom Robinson, an innocent black man, is accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. When taken to court, the jury convicts him, although they truly know he did not touch Mayella in any way.
Just because he is an African American, the jury selected from Maycomb knows it would be politically incorrect to go against the white man’s word. Knowing so, they send him to jail. Since Tom is innocent, he is going mad in a prison with corrupt and evil people. He tries to escape and is shot to death. When Atticus goes over to the Robinson’s house to deliver the news of Tom’s death, the family is stricken with grief. The racist jurors now have to live with the shame of seeing a broken family who is missing their devout father and husband.
Although never spoken aloud, these racist men know Tom was a respectable and honest man, and now they are faced with guilt. Harper Lee shows many types of prejudice through different characters and relationships. Each example comes from a different walk of life and social position. In To Kill a Mockingbird, there are forms of prejudice such as ageism, xenophobia, and racism. Not one type is less hurtful that the other. We can all learn something from the wrong presented in this story. Prejudice is awfully ignorant and is illustrated beautifully in this novel.