Each individual is born to be unusual and it is also obligated for the public to accept those differences exist now.
However, the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird tells a story of the lawyer Atticus Finch and his children, Jeremy Finch and Scout Finch live in a small town called Maycomb which is full of prejudice in the early 20th century. In a special trail, Atticus defends a black man called Tom Robinson who convicted of the rape of a young white women and it leads both of them are being disrespectful by the people in Maycomb. (Lee 110) Finally although there are enough evidence to prove that Tom is innocent, Tom is still adjudged to be guilty because of the judge’s stereotypes and discrimination to the black people.
In this novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the different experiences of Atticus Finch, Scout Finch and Tom Robinson show the importance of not making judgment base on stereotypes. Stereotypes will make people who do something correct are framed, limit people’s physical and mental freedom and make fairness and equality are trampled on. Critical race theory is a literary theory that can help readers to understand the race discrimination in literary works. “Critical Race Theory comprises four premises. First, it posits that “race” is largely a social experience and that different racial groups experience and understand race in different ways. Second, it theorizes that the racial experiences of racial minority groups are subordinate relative to a White racial experience.
” (Vargas 1) As a black person, Tom Robinson is considered as a bad person at that time mostly because of his black skin. Racism is one of the biggest problems exist in the novel and this essay will discuss how stereotypes and racism affect to the normal life by combining the critical race theory. By doing what is correct, Atticus is threatened, stereotyped as ” nigger lover” and his children are also treated differently.(110) In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch as a lawyer in Maycomb, it is responsible for him to defend someone who is innocent.” Tom Robinson is sweetly innocent and naïve; Atticus feels a moral responsibility to defend him, as the novel’s tide attests, because a black man accused in the Jim Crow South was as helpless as a mockingbird.” (Crespino 15)In Atticus’ mind, he will not misunderstand a person because of the color of skin.
The only condition that he defends other is not stereotypes but the true justice and fairness. Mockingbird is harmless to people but the person who can recognize the mockingbird is benefit to the society. They help others without stereotypes and use their actions to actually influence people around them. Atticus is such a mockingbird because he always teaches his children being polite to everyone. He uses his actions to teach children how to protect themselves, to be able to face their weaknesses and accept the imperfections in life, always hope for growth and know how to warm others.However, since he defends a black man, people began to be unfriendly to him. In chapter nine, “Francis rose and sprinted down the catwalk to the old kitchen.
At a safe distance he called, ‘He’s nothing but a nigger-lover!'”(110) Although Atticus is defending a black man for justice, most of people want to convince him don’t to defend a black man and even called him “nigger lover” by his sister’s son. It illustrates that people in Maycomb not only judge black man unfair but also have stereotypes with the people who help the black and reflects how serious was the situation of racial discrimination at that time. In addition, Atticus had to put up with the insults of others. “It was Miss Stephanie’s pleasure to tell us: this morning Mr.
Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he’d get him if it took the rest of his life,” (290). When Mr. Ewell insults and threatens Atticus, Atticus is not very anger to Mr. Ewell. Instead, Atticus does not want Scout to hate Mr. Ewell or even revenge for him and comforts Scout that it does not mean getting along well with others when a person is doing something correctly. Atticus has been doing what he thought was right, regardless of the bad labels that others give him, and even humiliate him. Although he finally fails in the case, a great father would never be prejudiced by failure experience and will not let it become the rule of life to pass on to the next generation either.
Atticus tries his best to stop the concept of stereotypes and discrimination transmits to the next generation. Atticus is not only a model of their town, but a model of the age which is full of stereotypes. A girl always has her own thoughts, Scout Finch, is also one of the victims of the stereotypes in Maycomb. At the time when feminism was not popular, women’s body and mind are imprisoned by the society. In spite of her young age, Scout has to bear these pressures and shackles from the people around her. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I was not supposed to be doing things that required pants.” (108) In the previous vacation, Scout is already accustomed to and liked the style of a tomboy in order to be better integrated into the boys’ group.
However, Scout is not considered as a lady by her aunt just because she is wearing her favorite clothes, the breeches. In fact, it is everyone’s right to choose not only the clothes but also the life they want. “To insure development in woman’s dress, it must be placed under the second condition of progress, and to that end areformulated the requirements of a perfect dress : 1. Freedom of movement. ” ( King 557) This quotation illustrates that one of the most important part of women dress is freedom of movement. It is not just refer to the freedom of the body but also the mentally release. Although women’s dress requirements are only a small limit to women’s life, this is more representative of a woman’s right and social status at that time.
It is clear through her experience that women are shackled by decadent ideas at the time because aunt Alexandra offers the initiative that women should not wear breeches. Nevertheless, female should have the same power as men to wear the clothes they like and get the life they want. In other words, female does not need to wear like women because they are still women whatever they wear.
The other kind of stereotype that Scout suffers from is about her age. “I was bored, so I began a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me. “Besides,” she said. “We don’t write in the first grade, we print.
You won’t learn to write until you’re in the third grade.”?24?From Miss Caroline’ s perspective, she cannot believe that a grade one student is supposed to write because most of students she has been seen are not as that educated level as Scout has and children of every age only fit the skills of their age. It is not appropriate for her to treat different people in the same way of teaching. This stereotype is completely disregarded of the difference.
Every life in this world is unique, from appearance to personality; Everyone has its own characteristics and roles that display in the society. Miss Caroline may be have enough responsibility for the teacher’s career in knowledge and teaching aspects but lacks the best virtue to treat others which is respect for each person’s differences. Furthermore, the color of the skin should not be the basis for judging a person’s innocence. At that time, a black person will never treat equally because one of the most important of evidences that the jury judge a person is guilty or not is the color of skin of that person.
Tom Robinson is such a quiet and modest black man but all of his characteristics are ignored and be considered as a “guilty” man by the unfair jury. “Tom Robinson’s powerful shoulders rippled under his thin shirt. He rose to his feet and stood with his right hand on the back of his chair. He looked oddly off balance, but it was not from the way he was standing. His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and hung dead at his side.
” (248) This quote demonstrates that although it is a powerful evidence to prove that Tom cannot rape Mayella because he is disable. The jury is mostly willing to believe that Tom Robinson is wrong base on the stereotypes on black people. In the Great Depression of the American small towns, the color bias is so ingrained that no fairness and equality exist at all in a trial between a white man and a black man. “Regardless of the health and implicit quality of the “specimens” under study, the description focuses on difference in such a way that the physical is implicitly seen through the lens of evaluation of the workhorse, judging its worth through its skin and teeth.” (Murray 86) In the research, what Scout thinks can actually reflect the attitude of black people in the whole society at that time. The black skin is a symbol of the low social position and status.
Actually Tom Robinson is another typical mockingbird in the novel. He does not really do anything bad. He is just a hard working and honest man, but he is treated unfairly just because of his skin color. After a ruthless trial, though Atticus is ready to continue to fight for justice for Tom, white public opinion always publicizes the blacks’ barbarous nature and they believe that black people are prone to murder and rape others. The racial discrimination and psychological oppressions of the American society force Tom to have no more faith in the law. Later, when he tries to escape, he is found and to be shot by the guard. (315) They don’t have to shoot so many bullets at Tom at all.
As a symbol of the mockingbirds, Tom is brutally murdered by the society and becomes the victim of racial prejudice and stereotype.This is a sharp contrast that Tom Robinson loses his left arm because of his job, he still can earn his own living while Bob Ewell is fond of eating and averse to work and like to slander others. Although Bob Ewell is at the bottom of the society, he still hates black people. By enjoying the privilege of being superior to blacks in the law, Bob Ewell wins this case eventually by relying on the stereotypes of black people and racism. Justice and equality are finally trampled.
In conclusion, at that time, people’s misunderstanding and distortion of the correct facts, fixed thought for age and gender, and unfair treatment of different color of skin and color are due to stereotypes of different jobs, ages and races. This constitutes a society full of resentment and negative energy so it is significant to measure things without a stereotypical eye. In real life, everyone has their own unique sparkle. Therefore, do not be too entangled in people’s differences and shortcomings, appreciate others’ virtues and view their lives from the perspective of others in a sympathetic way, which can promote the harmonious development of the society. People of different races should make concerted efforts to solve the problems about stereotypes.Works CitedLee, Harper.
To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006.Murray, Jennifer. “More Than One Way to (Mis)Read a “Mockingbird”.
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