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Essay about To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

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Many view America as a land of opportunity, one that preaches freedom and has specific laws to ensure the equality of this pursuit of freedom. Despite the intention of promoting freedom and equality, many American laws transcend these values and mirror the true sentiments of our nation’s constituents. These laws cannot serve to uphold equality if that intention does not come to fruition in their practice and application to societal issues. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson, a black man in a mostly white community, faces accusations and a subsequent trial for the rape of Mayella Ewell, a white girl of the town. As the Southern setting of the novel implies, the racial aspect of this trial consumes the town of Maycomb, Alabama leading to escalating tensions and violence among those with opposing views. The racial components of this case evident outside and inside of the courtroom such as a communal bias, stereotypical arrest, layers language and predisposition of the jury force the reader to ponder the integrity of the Maycomb justice system and the ethnic stigmas that accompany it. However, these biases and racist hindrances of true justice are not unique to the 1930’s South. Tom Robinson’s treatment by the Maycomb justice system reflects a double standard and racial inequality prevalent in the entire American Justice system.
Manifestations of the collective racism of Maycomb during the trial of Tom Robinson demonstrate how cases in the American Justice system can fluctuate based on the sentiments of a particular region. Local individuals comprise a bulk of the provincial courts so it comes as no surprise that the popular regional sentiments factor into the verdicts of these courts. Although as a final domain for...


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...time of racism, these limitations to the American Justice system still haunt us throughout the nation today. Issues such as rigid communal sentiments, unfair arrests, accusatory language by lawyers and impartial juries thwart the American justice system’s pursuit of equality and freedom. Although the current American justice system protects the rights of some, it does so at the cost of negligence towards others – for what is America without the guaranteed liberty and equality that we preach not only to others, but ourselves?



Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central, 1960. Print.
Taslitz, Andrew E. Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom. New York: New York University Press, 1999. Web.
Walker, Samuel, Cassia Spohn, and Miriam Delone. The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity and Crime in America. 5th ed. California: Wadsworth, 2012. Web.



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