Although the character of Boo Radley does not reveal himself until the end of the
novel, he is important to all of the themes present in `To Kill a Mockingbird’ One of the
more dominant themes is prejudice. There are two main types of prejudice that are
explored in the novel; racial prejudice, social prejudice and fear of the unknown.
racial prejudice is present throughout the novel in the people of Maycomb’s everyday
life, as it is a novel set in the `deep south’ of America in the 1930’s. This is a period
shortly after the American civil war, so slavery’s abolishment had occurred not long ago.
Because this had not been around for long, most people’s attitudes towards Negroes had
not changed, despite efforts towards change. The situation that shows the best examples
of racial prejudice is the trial of Tom Robinson. In his trial, Tom Robinson is misjudged
and mistreated because he is black. One of the most prominent examples of this is the
way in which Mr. Gilmer, Tom’s prosecutor, calls Tom “boy.” He uses a tone of voice,
... jury and he was African American. These were examples of racial prejudice which was very prevalent in those times; also common was ... morally wrong it was. There are several examples of prejudice in the book: Tom Robinson because he is African American, Boo Radley ... Mayella Ewell. The people thought it was not right for Tom Robinson to feel sorry for Mayella because he was black ...
which one would use when talking to the lowest creature on earth, towards Tom and
makes him look foolish. This is all because Tom is Black. The worst example of racial
prejudice is Tom Robinson’s trial verdict. All of the evidence produced by Atticus makes
it clear that Tom is innocent, yet Tom is found “guilty”. This verdict is clearly based on
the fact that Tom is black, but also that he, a black man, felt sorry for a white woman. “I
felt right sorry for her” This statement would have brought any jury of Southern America
to outrage in the 1930’s. To them it was not right for a Negro to feel pity for any
member of the white community.Another example of racial prejudice in the novel is at
Aunt Alexandra’s `lady’s meeting’. It also shows the hypocrisy that took place in
Maycomb. Miss Merriweather goes on to explain the “sin and squalor” that is suffered by
“those poor Mrunas” and makes herself seem most ethnically aware, but the she refers
to Helen Robinson as; “That darky’s wife” The way that Miss Merriweather uses this term
as if it is everyday language shows that Negroes are not respected, and are given quite
offensive names. One person that contrasts this, however, is Atticus. He does not believe
in discriminating a person because of the colour of their skin. This is shown by the way
that he defends Tom Robinson as best he can, the fact that Tom Robinson is black does
not affect him. Racial prejudice does not connect directly with Boo Radley, but Boo can
be connected with Tom Robinson, who is a victim of racial prejudice. The connection is
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that they are both `Mockingbirds’ of the novel, and are both victims of prejudice.
Another form of prejudice quite similar to racial is social prejudice. Some members of
the Maycomb society are discriminated against by others due to their social status. Aunt
Alexandra is a prime example of this; her whole attitude towards everything is based
upon social status. She considers herself to be higher up the social ladder than quite a
... culture's classification of a 'successful' family and the factors that determine a 'stable' family. The social sciences paved an avenue of insight ... interconnections between human development and social situations. I will be taking in spring 2005 in American Family Diversity which will lay down ...
few people, including Walter Cunningham.”Because-he-is-trash” This is the reason that
Aunt Alexandra gives when Scout asks why she cannot speak to Walter Cunningham.
This whole `trashy’ view of Walter Cunningham is based purely on the fact that he is
part of a family that are very poor, she seems not to care about Walter’s personal
values.The Ewell family are also victims of social prejudice. The whole family is looked
down upon because of he way the father, Robert Ewell’ is irresponsible. The family is
made out to be, again `trashy’. Although some other members of the family are just
plain nasty. Like Burris. “Ain’t no snot-nosed slut of a school teacher ever born c’n make
me do nothing” Burris’ use of language gains him the title of a “real mean one”. But not
the whole family is like this. Mayella is not as “mean” as others in her family, she has a
sensitive side, as it is mentioned that she looks after flowers that could “rival Miss
Maudie’s” Boo Radley is a victim of social prejudice just like Mayella Ewell and the
Cunningham’s. The whole Radley family suffers social prejudice because Boo hadn’t been
seen for years, and people didn’t know where Mrs. Radley was. Prejudice is directed
towards some characters of the novel because they do not fit into Maycomb’s usual
behavioural patterns of society and little is known of them. This prejudice is fuelled by
fear, which leads to rumour, which leads to superstition.Boo Radley is a victim of this
fear of the unknown. The children fear him, as the rest of Maycomb does, and as a
result, there are many rumours about him. Most of these rumours are started and
spread by Miss Stephanie. For example, she claimed that she woke up in the night, and
saw Boo looking in at her through her window. The people of Maycomb liked to believe
that any unsolved, mysterious, crimes were the work of Boo due to these rumours. One
example is the `Crazy Addie’ incident. Before and even after the `Crazy Addie’ incident
was solved – Boo was innocent -, the people still believed it was Boo. Another example is
when Mrs. Radley dies and the children assume that Boo “finally got her”.
... a Mockingbird, through a child's eyes Harper Lee develops a character named Arthur Radley. Arthur is know to the children simply as Boo. The ... no right to ruin his innocent personality with horrendous stories. Scout and Jem's curiosity and wild imagination, plus the ... people are afraid of Boo. Because the children hear some adults talk about Boo Radley and how bad his family is, they believe that ...
Another major part of `To Kill a Mockingbird’ is courage. This is a more positive
theme than that of prejudice, and courage is shown by almost all of the characters in the
novel. Atticus has strong views on courage. He taught Jem and Scout to be brave,
especially Scout when he told her to stop fighting people that mock her. One person
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Atticus looked up to as having “real courage” was Mrs. Dubose. He makes Jem go and
read to her because he wanted Jem to learn from her. “I wanted you to see what real
courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand” This
shows how much Atticus respected Mrs. Dubose for her courage. He called her “the
bravest person I ever knew”. Atticus is trying to teach his children that he is not
courageous for shooting a crazy dog dead with one shot; he is in fact courageous for
defending Tom Robinson fairly. He teaches them that being courageous is standing up
for what you think is right.
Although Boo is not seen at all by the children in Part 1, and it is said that he “was not
seen again for fifteen years”, he does come out of his house a few times. One time is
when he brings the blanket for Scout at Miss Maudie’s house, and another is when the
children are trying to look through the shutters at the Radley place in chapter 6. A
shadow, belonging to Boo, comes up behind Jem and “stopped a foot beyond Jem”.
When the shadow stops Boo realises that it is Jem and he goes away again. Boo is not
really present during Part two until the end, but the author does no let Boo Radley slip
he readers mind. Many of the characters of the trial share characteristics with Boo. For
example, Tom Robinson is a victim of prejudice, just like Boo. But the one person that
has the most important similarity to Boo is Mayella. Like Boo, Mayella is lonely “Mayella
must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo
Radley” The mention of this similarity between Boo and Mayella makes the reader
... Mockingbird the reader sees Jem ... Jem] What? [Dill] Boo Radley [Jem]” (pg 41). This portrays Jem ... Jem ... Boo Radley. When Jem ... Boo) Radley. Jem ... Mockingbird ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Boo ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... of Jem’ ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem and Scout. One day Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Jem ... Boo Radley. “Dill and Jem ... Jem to care for Scout. Atticus entrusts Jem ... Jem invites Walter over for dinner because Jem ... Jem put ... readers in a positive way by having Jem ...
remember Boo and look for more similarities between the two. The author is very clever
in how she makes the reader want to see Boo. All throughout part 1 Boo is being
mentioned, and the children want Boo to “come out”. The author makes the reader share
the desire and excitement so much that the reader feels as though the story will not be
over until Boo is seen. And that is exactly how the story does end. It is because of the
sharing of the children’s excitement that the story is completed when Scout “gazed at
him in wonder” and uttered. “Hey, Boo” These are the words that the reader has wanted
to hear ever since the children first looked upon the Radley lace. There was probably no
more a perfect way to give the story that finishing touch. The most important symbol in
this novel is the mockingbird symbol. Most of the characters can be related to this
symbol in one way or another. A mockingbird is a small plain bird with a song that
mimics the song of other birds. The mockingbird represents kindness, innocence and
harmlessness, as is explained by Miss Maudie. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but
make music for us t enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, they don’t nest in corn
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cribs…” One group of people linked to the mockingbird for completely different reasons
are Atticus, Jem and Scout. The reason is their name, “Finch”. The mockingbird is part of
the Finch bird family. The mockingbird’s significance is emphasised not only by the
novel’s title, but also by Atticus saying; “You can shoot all the blue jays you want, if you
can hit `em, but remember it is a sin to kill a mockingbird” Scout mentions that this is
strange for Atticus to call anything a “sin”. So this places the importance of the
mockingbird in the readers mind.
Boo Radley and Tom Robinson’s representation of the mockingbird symbol is not
... Mockingbird Summary To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Alabama, the story is narrated by the main character, a little girl named Scout ... at a house near the Finches. The children are curious to know more about Boo, so they create a mini-drama to ... on his own knife so that Boo won't have to be tried for murder. Scout walks Boo home. He goes inside and ...
drawn together until the end when Scout says that the public exposure of Boo Radley
would be “sort of like shooting a mockingbird.” Both characters show mockingbird traits
such as, Kindness, innocence, vulnerability and being a victim. Boo shows kindness to
the children by leaving them gifts in the tree. He is vulnerable to, and a victim of, the
town’s prejudice, but is innocent of this. Tom shows kindness to Mayella by helping her.
He is vulnerable because he is unable to use his left arm. He is a victim of racial
prejudice, and he is innocent of his accusation of raping Mayella Ewell.