Many forms of injustice in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird
As Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird portrays many forms of injustice, the problems that occur in the town of Maycomb only seem to increase due to the fact that the town is divided in the sense of diversity. In the novel, Tom Robinson encounters the idea of social injustice, whereas he experiences many times where he is treated unequally from the community as a result from their judgements of his race. Fundamentally, this novel divulges that social injustice comes from prejudice.
Toward the middle of the novel, the character Tom Robinson experiences discrimination during his trial. Atticus proves Tom's innocence, provides pieces of evidence and concludes his case by stating, "You know the truth, and the truth is this: 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" (Lee 273). By emphasizing the fact that not all people of color are immoral and untrustworthy, Atticus introduces the idea of social injustice. The use of the phrase "some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white" indicates that not everyone who is a person of color should immediately be considered a bad and dangerous person, therefore, no one should automatically assume that. In addition, the use of the phrase "this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men" indicates that no matter the color of one's skin, there will always be people who are not to be trusted. Furthermore, this occurrence clearly explains how Tom is being unfairly treated by society and the all-white jury. This event introduces the theme as it is evident that Tom will lose the case, despite the fact that he has more evidence when compared to Mayella Ewell, due to the color of his skin. Later in the novel, the idea of social injustice continues to appear. Tom's death leaves a small mark in the town of Maycomb as the Finch family, along with a few other families, mourn his death. Mr. Underwood writes an editorial regarding Tom's unfortunate death in which Scout narrates, "He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds" (Lee 323). As Mr. Underwood expresses his thoughts and opinions about Tom's death, the concept of social injustice is revealed, whereas he relates Tom's death to a "senseless slaughter of songbirds." Mr. Underwood refers to Tom as a songbird who died an innocent death, meaning he has no intentions of harming anyone or anything, yet he still is sent to jail because he is black. This event helps the reader understand the theme because it demonstrates how Tom is innocent yet still dies solely because he is a colored man opposing against a white girl. These examples show that Tom Robinson faces social injustice as a result from prejudices from people in the jury because he is a black man, even though in reality, he did not do anything wrong.
Throughout the entirety of the novel, it becomes apparent that preconceptions about others tends to cause oppression within society. In particular, Harper Lee reveals the theme through Tom Robinson, who suffers numerous forms of injustice from the society's unfair preconceptions about him. Along with this, Tom still faces jail time because he is black, despite the fact that he has more evidence in his case, indicating he is stereotyped. Lastly, the town overlooks the injustistified issues within it as if they're normal. Through these examples, it is clear that when there are misapprehensions about someone or a group of people, it often leads to division across communities.
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