In chapter fourteen of To Kill a Mockingbird, cite examples of prejudice and lack of human understanding.

2 Answers | Add Yours

missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Scout first overhears a comment in town one day that she doesn't really understand:

"They c'n go loose and rape up the countryside for all of 'em who run this country care."

Although Scout doesn't get this, we as readers can infer that she is referring to black folks as the "they" and the "'em" refers to the government. This shows a man who believes there are two separate classes and he's mad about what the lesser class has done to the upper.

When Scout asks to get to go to Cal's next Sunday, Aunt Alexandra answers quicker than Atticus, "You may not." This shows Alexandra's fear and prejudice of the black community. This shows too how Alexandra doesn't understand that Scout is curious and enjoys what she has experienced of the black community.

Aunt Alexandra also wants to get rid of Cal. She is showing her prejudice toward Cal. She doesn't understand that Cal is a part of their family. She can't comprehend that a white person would have love for a black person. But Atticus and the children love and respect Cal.

Jem understands in this chapter that Atticus is worried by the case... more than any other case in his life. Aunt Alexandra's presence and prejudice makes things feel awkward in the home because Atticus is not prejudiced.

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

To Kill a Mockingbird if full of examples of people showing prejudices and lack of human understanding because the town is split down racial lines. Many in Maycomb don't like the fact that Atticus Finch plans to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, with the intent to win. They feel that Atticus should not do his best for Tom and be loyal to his race in the process. In fact, many disrespect Atticus completely for doing his best for Tom Robinson. For example, Scout hears the following from townspeople:

"There's his chillun . . . Yonder's some Finches . . . They c'n go loose and rape up the countryside for all of 'em who run this county care" (135).

People in Maycomb only care about upholding their prejudices, not justice or truth. Because of people's narrow-mindedness, human understanding takes a back seat to pride. 

By chapter 14, Aunt Alexandra has been living with the Finches for a couple of chapters. Scout and Jem don't have a prejudiced father, so when Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them at the end of chapter 12, they have to deal with her prejudices. This causes some conflict between Aunt Alexandra and the others in the house. For example, when Scout asks about the definition of rape, Aunt Alexandra does not worry that a little girl is asking about sexual assault, she is upset to find out that the children have gone to Calpurnia's colored church. Then, Scout remembers that Calpurnia invited her to visit her home sometime and Aunt Alexandra forbids it without any discussion. Later, Scout overhears Aunt Alexandra say the following to Atticus:

". . . you've got to do something about her . . . You've let things go on too long, Atticus, too long" (136).

Aunt Alexandra does not want her niece and nephew visiting colored churches or homes because she is prejudiced against friendships between races. She believes that any interaction between blacks and whites should be for business purposes only, not for social ones. Once Aunt Alexandra realizes that Scout is getting too close to Calpurnia, she suggests to Atticus that Calpurnia should be fired. She argues that since she can cook and clean for Atticus, there is no reason to keep Calpurnia employed at the house. Fortunately, Atticus does not listen to Alexandra's manipulative and prejudiced advice. Because Aunt Alexandra does not see Calpurnia through human understanding and kindness, Scout is unable to visit Cal's home or forge a deeper friendship with her. 


We’ve answered 318,021 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question