Influence of Society In To Kill a Mockingbird

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“This world that we live in would be perfect if there were less prejudice and people who think they are better than others.” – Werley Nortreus. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, is set in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. The main character, Scout Finch, is a young girl who sees the violent world as innocent. She grew up with her older brother, Jem Finch, where they both learned high moral standards from their attorney father, Atticus Finch. As the novel progresses, a trial takes place showing how white people are prejudiced to colored people. The trial was about an African-American man named Tom Robinson, who allegedly raped a white girl, also known as Mayella Ewell. Society influences individuals, including Harper Lee, which impacted her to write her novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which led her to set the main character and narrator to be a compelling young girl named Scout who experienced the influence of society firsthand, and like myself can relate to some of the experiences taken place in the novel.

Harper Lee lived through a racist time period where colored people were falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. When she was a child, the Scottsboro Boy’s trial took place where nine young black men were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train. This event, along with others, inspired her to base what occurred in real life to her novel. Just as the Scottsboro trial was about how several African-American boys were unlawfully indicted due to the color of their skin, the Tom Robinson trial showed the superiority of white people and how they view their society. “There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads — they couldn’t be fair if they tried. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Page 220).

Portrayed as a young, innocent girl, Scout Finch was based off of Harper Lee’s life and experiences that occurred in her small town. Scout was a tomboy who loved to read and venture around in her neighborhood with her brother Jem. Before the trial, she was unquestionably naive and curious and didn’t see the significance of how influential her society really was. The events of the trial stripped Scout of her innocence and compelled her to realize that society viewed others based on their social standing, such as wealth and the color of ones skin. Additionally, her mindset changed when she witnessed unnecessary racial injustice during the trial and understood what it was like to be Tom Robinson. “You never really understand a person until you walk around in their skin.” (Page 33).

Compared to the society lived by Harper Lee and by Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, it is much different today. In this modern society, both white and black people have overcome differences and now work together, live together, and are no longer segregated. The two races are now viewed as equal and it shows how society has evolved in the way that it influences people to think and act. From personal experiences, there is still some racism and discrimination seen today, such as white people thinking the worst of black people and blaming them for their unperformed actions. “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life — whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” (Page 221).

Several people are affected and influenced by society, including Harper Lee, the main character Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, and myself. Harper Lee gathered events and experiences from her childhood in the 1930’s and used similar characters to her real life in the novel to portray how society influenced her to write her novel. After the trial, Scout realized that society influenced her to think differently than the morals Atticus taught her. Society influenced me to be appreciative of how much the world has evolved in equality for both white people and African Americans, despite the minor racism still left in the world today.

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Influence of Society In To Kill a Mockingbird. (2021, Mar 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/influence-of-society-in-to-kill-a-mockingbird/

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