Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
“It is a sin to kill a mockingbird.” This quote was said by Atticus Finch, who was a lawyer and the father of Jean Louise Finch. It is known that mockingbirds would not harm anything, so why kill it? In this book a black man is said to be guilty of beating a white woman by the people of Maycomb County. This character who was portrayed as good for nothing far throughout the book was truly harmless and selfless. Why should the innocent have to suffer for something they did not do? This goes to say there was a great nature of stereotypes in this book.
Most of the people in To Kill a Mockingbird stereotype others. Racist stereotyping is major in this book. The time and age of this book helps the reader understand why it was shown so much. The black class was known to be the lowest of all classes. They got the least amount of money and the least amount of respect. Most worked for a white man or did not have a job. Characters throughout the book called black people by an inappropriate word. The town discriminates against them greatly simply because the color of their skin. They see them as low down, stealing, dangerous people. However, Atticus Finch seems to see them better than others. As he takes a case to defend Tom Robinson, the black man, he gets a lot of hate from the town. They tend to call him “a nigger lover.” The book quotes “My folks said that your daddy is a disgrace,” which Cecil Jacobs says this to Jean Finch also known as scout. It also says that Atticus is “a nigger lover and no better than the trash he works for,” which was said by Mrs. Dubose. These refer to Atticus defending Tom Robinson. All these things are said because of the discrimination they have against black people.
Since Tom Robinson is black and Bob Ewell accused him of beating his daughter, he is almost certain to be found guilty, even though he did not do it. Atticus understood that he did not do it and believed he should stand for what is right. He went against the stereotypical thoughts. He said “some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. 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 man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.” Atticus shown in much detail that he was not, but Tom was still said to be guilty. This was simply because the jury discriminates against the black man and chose to pick a white man’s word over what is right.
Atticus tells Jem Finch, his son, that the jury has convicted innocent black men “before, and they did it today, and they’ll do it again.” The people of this time judged black people as if they were all the same and were not good people. Atticus believed differently though, and wanted to take up for Tom in hopes to change his community. Soon after Tom was shot for trying to escape the prison. Atticus said in the book “How could they shoot Tom?” putting it in comparison to killing a mockingbird. This bring out how prejudice people were. Atticus said” To them he was just an escaping prisoner. He wasn’t Tom to them.” It comes to say killing a black man is so much easier if he is not considered fully human.
This book also stereotypes by what people consider to be normal. Jean Louise Finch is the daughter of Atticus Finch. She is often judged throughout the book because of her looks. She was considered a Tom boy. She seems not to understand that she should grow up to act how other girls would, and do things other girls do. They stereotype that she is not lady like because she wears overalls and acts like a boy. Mrs. Dubose says “what are you doing in those overalls? You should be in a dress and camisole, young lady! You’ll grow up waiting on tables if somebody doesn’t change your ways.” Scout’s Aunt Alexandra moves in with the Finches to take the role of feminizing her. She makes her wear dresses and sit with them at the ladies talk table and other things. She is young of age and grows older to understand how to act. She also is not allowed to do certain things because she is a girl. This also goes along with how people are treated differently because of their gender.
Another thing that is stereotyped in the book is the unknown identity of Arthur Radley, also known as Boo Radley. In the beginning of the book he is talked about as if he is a scary person. There is rumors all over his name. They had grown so big because it is believed he has not been seen in public for 15 years. He was a victim of society’s prejudiceness. The book quotes “ People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows.” It says “When people’s azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them,” not knowing if he really did these things. He was viewed to the town as someone not to mess with. Black people would not walk on his street at night. Scout and Jem, her brother, had huge suspicions about him. They would play a game to try to find a way to see him and talk to him. They dreamed of what it would be like when they finally met him.
Throughout the story it came known he would give them gifts through a tree by his house. It started to change their opinion about him. Towards the end of the story Jem got injured by Bob Ewell who was trying to get back at Atticus Finch, Jem’s father, for the whole Tom Robinson case. It was Boo Radley who saved Jem and took him to his house. Scout got to see him and talk to him. It came clear of Boo’s true personality and that he was to be compared to a mockingbird. He was peaceful to the community and that all the rumors said about him were not true. He was kind hearted and did not want to be judged by the world. The uncertainty of someone’s lifestyle leads to prejudice thoughts and stereotypes.
As said before there is a great amount of stereotypes in this book. An innocent man had to suffer for something he did not do. In the time of age people would judge you without knowing you. People seen each other in different classes. There was a great deal of prejudices, but to kill a mockingbird is a sin. The nature of stereotypes was very big at the time.