herent NatureTo Kill A Mockingbird: Prejudice Is Part of Our Inherent NatureWhy did Atticus defend a nigger? What was the point of being the advocate for ablack man? It doesn’t matter if their guilty or innocent, you can ceaselesslyand effortlessly convict the animals for their colour vice. You can even turn ablind eye to the obvious truth. And so did the “people”, the white, narrow-minded, bigoted and hypocritical people of Maycomb.The justification for why Atticus broke from the norm, and acted unlike mostothers in his community, can be compared to the motive of the central characterin the novel, A Time To Kill, written by John Grisham. The comparativecharacter, a lawyer named Jake, also endangers not only his own life but hisfamily’s, by defending a Negro. He is compelled to undergo such a risk as hebelieves he is protecting an innocent man.
Despite the fact that he is black.Jake could not live with himself if he failed to give his utmost effort inclearing the accused, Carl Lee Hailey’s, name. The lawyer feels that it is hisobligation to humanity to do so. Similarly, the case Atticus accepts issomething which goes to the essence of a man’s own conscience. Atticus isunable to treat the underdogs of the town how the majority of people act towardsthem. Clearly the people of Maycomb are narrow-minded, bigoted and hypocritical,and Atticus Finch is not. Nothing can be done to make the prejudiced, perversepeople hear the truth.
This dogmatic attitude does not occur exclusivelybetween the whites and the Negroes either. The community’s unsubstantiatedstories about other citizens also demonstrate their heedless to the truth andprejudiced natures.Arthur Radley, otherwise labelled Boo, has for decades been maliciouslyslandered, in the county.
The people that have done so do not know Arthur, andthe reason they can make such judgments escapes me. When there was a series ofpets being mysteriously slaughtered, the consensus was that it was performed byBoo. Later, when the culprit transpired to be someone else, most people werestill rooted in the belief that Boo was to blame. They could not believe thetruth. And all unsolved crimes committed, in the area, have been manufacturedsolely by him. If your garden freezes it is because he breathed on it and nutsand other fruits, grown on the Radley property, are considered poisonous.
Whyhave these allegations been targeted on Arthur? All that distinguishes him fromother folks is that he isolates himself from the community. Is privacy a crime?Do we all have to act like sheep and follow the flock? Are none of us able toact unconventionally and live how we wish to live? According to the communityof Maycomb, the answer the last question is no. Just another example of thepeople’s narrow-minded and bigoted mentalities. Arthur saved both the lives ofScout and Jem Finch.
He left them gifts. Yet, very few people can look beyondhis damning past. And he is white!Tom Robinson, would be a free man, living with his family, if it was not for thecitizens of Maycomb. I admit, he was guilty.
Guilty of being a neighbour tosomeone in trouble. Guilty of helping Mayella a great amount doing odd jobsfor her, without pay, but from the goodness of his soul. Guilty of wishing tomake her long-suffering life easier. Guilty of refraining from her physicaladvances. Guilty as charged. Oh, how he should suffer. Yes, Tom has manydamning weaknesses.
However, his main sin is being black, and in Maycomb countythat is enough to discard all evidence and logical reasoning, exclude allrational thought, and convict him of rape and battery. Atticus stated, “TomRobinson was a dead man as soon as Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.”(p266) He had no chance of an acquittal as no-one will hear the truth, onaccount of the dire racism that has been embedded into them.The jury, representing the “typical” kinsmen of the community, pronounced Tomguilty. All evidence pointed to Mr. Ewell as the offender, a man who spends hisrelief cheques on whiskey and lets his children cry with hunger pains. Poorwhite trash. While, Tom Robinson is a good citizen, with a good job and a goodfamily but with a bad, bad skin colour.
And that’s the important factor. Isn’tit essential to obstruct the world from