To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

1152 words - 5 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird


In the town of Maycomb people are racist. Even today people still have a prejudice side. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird there are two races, the people of European decent, and the African American decent. The black characters in To Kill a Mockingbird contribute to the development of the white characters rather than appearing as individuals in their own right. The black characters are there in the novel but, the author doesn’t really expand on their personalities. Harper Lee shows us in the book, that back then in the south the communities saw all African American people as the same; but they do help to develop the white people.
Overall the black community in Maycomb helps to shape the white community; as the whites are very rounded characters and the blacks are two dimensional (flat) characters. We have many different examples from the novel that helps us to understand how the blacks unfold the white characters. There is one in particular that stands out, it is the scene where Tom Robinson is in courts and is questioned by Gilmer. “You’re a mighty good fellow, it seems – did all this for not one penny…“Yes, suh. I felt right sorry for her; she seemed to try more’n the rest of ‘em” (lee 197). This quote stands out from the entire book because here was have a black person feeling sorry for a white person. Back in the 1920’s that was an unwritten rule to be sorry for a person of European decent. You might question how this shows how a black person develops a white person but it subsequently does. When Tom says that he felt sorry for her everyone is shocked, because a black person can never feel sorry for a white person. So Tom saying that shapes the white community because it shows that the whites feel like they have more power than the blacks. Tom cannot feel sorry for Mayella because she is white; she is part of the white community that over powers the black community. Even though we know Mayella is not a wealthy person she is of European decent she has more of a right. Thus, black community establishes the white community by showing that the white people feel like they have more power and authority than the black community.

In To kill a Mockingbird there are various examples of different African American individuals shaping a European individual. Calpurnia, a character of African American decent, helps to shape Scout, one of the main white protagonists in the novel. Calpurnia is a very flat character, and does not have many characteristics, but she does help to expand Scouts character. Calpurnia shapes Scout by teaching her various life lessons. Calpurnia is in many parts of the novel but, we do not learn much about her. We do not know where she lives, how she lives, or anything about her family. There is a time in the beginning of the novel where we see Calpurnia teaching Scout a very important message. This is the time where Walter Cunningham joins them for dinner and he pours syrup all over his...

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