Summary: a Powerful Story About the Racial Discrimination

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“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, published in 1960 is a powerful story about the racial discrimination that was rampant in 1930’s Alabama. The small town of Maycomb is segregated into two categories: white and black. Rarely is such racism bridged with the exception of a small girl named Scout Finch (narrator of the story and main character) and her father Atticus (lawyer and main character, also the novel’s moral guide and voice of conscience). In To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee selects such stylistic devices as symbolism, foreshadowing and irony to present her theme of inequality and tell the story of a brave man who fights for those that do not have a voice during the Great Depression. This essay is going to analyze how Harper Lee has relate Tom Robinson (a black man in the story) as in the concept of race in to kill a Mockingbird.

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A Mockingbird is a bird that doing nothing instead of singing, it does not eat any farm product, it is harmlessly and innocent, just like some people in the world, they never hurt other people. However, these people normally are not treated in a justice way due to their innocence. Change to another word, innocent sometimes will be destroyed by evil. Therefore Atticus said that in chapter 10 “it is a sin to kill a Mockingbird”.

Tom Robinson is the ‘Mockingbird’ in the story. In the novel he was falsely framed and charged by a white man called Bob Ewell, that he had raped his daughter Mayella. Under the special political condition at that time, most people do not support Tom Robinson, although all evidence points to Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell, as the perpetrator the jury decides that Tom is guilty primarily because he is black. In this case, Tom is the mockingbird; shot down although he has done no harm. This is why when Atticus lost the trial Miss Maudie (Atticus’ neighbor) said that in chapter 22 “ I waited and waited to see you all come down the sidewalk, and as I waited I thought, Atticus Finch won’t win, he can’t win, but he’s the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that.” This quote reaffirms Atticus’s exceptional character (justice, strong-minded, sympathy and understanding), a theme throughout the novel, and emphasizes that structural injustice made the case unwinnable from the start. It also suggests that social change does not occur quickly but is accumulated over time; from this perspective, prolonging the jury deliberation indicates potential future change and represents a step in the right direction. This statement maintains a thread of optimism despite the tragic outcome of the case.

In the literary sense, symbolism is used to enhance the description of a story and give the reader a deeper meaning. The title of the novel is the most obvious use of symbolism. The mockingbird is an animal meant for enjoyment. It sings a sweet song and hurts nothing. When Scout receives an air gun as a gift, Scout is instructed to leave the mockingbirds alone for they pose no threat. Lee uses the mockingbird as a symbol of purity and innocence. Another example of symbolism in the novel is the rabid dog that Atticus shot at. The dog, because it has rabies, is a dangerous threat to the community. In shooting the dog, then, Atticus is trying to protect the community from its most dangerous elements. Similarly, in defending Tom Robinson, Atticus tries to protect the community from its most dangerous, racist tendencies.

‘Mockingbirds’ do not just appear in the novel. In real life, there are many good and innocent people who have been discriminated against by others and treated unjustly. Simply because they have a lower status than others, or because their races are different. In the novel the author used easy language and shows lots of very important problems caused by prejudices and self-identification through the child’s eye, it is hoped that this social phenomenon can arouse concern and attention in society, so as to reduce the ‘Mockingbirds’ in life. In this world, the status of people, although there are distinguish between nobility and inferiority, and differences between races, however people should be treated equally, injustice should not be condoned. lastly, again please remember, it is a sin to kill a ‘Mockingbird’.      

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