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Essay on The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird

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In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, many minor themes are present such as gender and age. However, the largest and therefore major theme of the book is racism. All of the events and themes in the book had only one purpose, to support the theme of racism.
One of the most important events in the book was Tom Robinson’s trial, which was unfairly judged due to the fact that the jury could not see beyond the color of Tom’s skin. The put their own racist opinions ahead of what is right and just. One of the most important events in the novel circulated around racism. However, the most focused on point of Tom’s life was not the only point in his life where racism has been shown towards him. The Ewell’s are a major source of racism towards Tom. Whenever Mayella Ewell wanted Tom to help her, she was rude to him whereas Tom was very kind to her. Tom was even nice enough to refuse payment of his work for her since he saw that she was poor and realized she needed the money. For his kindness, Tom is returned with bitterness with the only reason for this being because of the color of his skin.
Mayella was not the only person who was insensitive to Tom. In the cross-examination, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Horace Gilmer was unpleasant towards Tom; acting rude and calling him boy. Although one might think this is due to his personality, as Dill pointed out “He didn't act that way when- (he was talking to his own witnesses)”. Mr. Gilmer was plain disrespectful to Tom unlike Mr. Finch who was just a humane to Tom as he was to the others he cross-examined.
Racism was just present in the attitude towards African-Americans but in the African-Americans themselves. For example, Calpurnia acted very differently when in the presence of other African-Amer...


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...not care if Tom died, and he especially did not care if Tom's wellbeing suffered.

Bob Ewell cared so little about African-Americans that he was willing to put his own wellbeing on the line so that Tom would go to jail. By lying when being examined by both Atticus and Mr. Gilmer, if Tom had been found innocent, Bob Ewell could have been arrested for Perjury. Almost all of Bob Ewell’s statements while under oath during court were lies.

If he was willing to risk going to jail to put an African-American in jail, then Bob Ewell is finds African-Americans insufferable and is therefore racist.



Works Cited

Castlemen, Tammy. "To Kill a Mockingbird." To Kill a Mockingbird: At a Glance. CliffsNotes on To Kill a Mockingbird, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "To Kill a Mockingbird" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.



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