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Who is discriminated against in To Kill a Mockingbird?Obviously Tom Robinson, but...

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fool96 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:32 AM via web

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Who is discriminated against in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Obviously Tom Robinson, but besides him. Discrimination having to do with reputation and rumors or anything else.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:24 AM (Answer #1)

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Aside from Tom Robinson, the one character who suffers the most discrimination is undoubtedly Atticus Finch, the main character of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Nell Harper Lee.

There is a lot of discrimination in the novel, though. Atticus is just an example of how people discriminate against those that opt to go against the status quo and fight for what they believe in, no matter how much they oppose the majority. In his case, Atticus is discriminated for defending a black man. Yet, more characters also suffer from prejudice as well.

The moment Atticus takes the case, his children are direct targets of the people. Notice how Lula gets upset when Cal takes the children to her church. However, they are nowhere near more detested as is the lowest ranking white family in Macomb, the notorious Ewells.

Although the Ewells were the black hole of Macomb, they still were thought to be victims of Tom Robinson simply because they were white. However, even the white folk at Macomb secretly detested the Ewells because of their nasty lifestyles, their dinginess, and their horrid social behavior.

Additionally, we see discrimination from the children towards other children. We know that Scout discriminated against her fellow schoolmate because he was too poor and did not have table manners. She also discriminated against Boo Radley because he is reclusive and has a weird reputation. All that changes, but it is evidence of how discrimination can surpass the racial realm, extending itself to social status, and financial stability.

In all, To Kill a Mockingbirdteaches a lesson on ignorance and how it can bring an entire town into chaos. It is a novel that depicts how people view each other even though they do not know each other. It is a wonderful illustration of the mentality of those who refuse to accept change, and those who are too narrow minded to see beyond the superficiality of appearances.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 14, 2011 at 8:36 AM (Answer #2)

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CHARACTER DISCRIMINATION IN TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

  • TOM ROBINSON.  Tom is discriminated against by the jury, the Ewells, and the prosecutor, Mr. Gilmer.
  • SCOUT & JEM.  Mr. Avery blames the unseasonal cold winter on Scout and Jem: "It's bad children like you makes the seasons change."  Lula, a member of the First Purchase Church, also looks down upon the children because they are white.
  • BOO RADLEY.  Many people gossip and tell untruths about Boo because of his supposed mental instability.
  • BOB EWELL.  Bob is looked down upon by most of Maycomb because of his lowly socio-economic situation--and his family name. "The Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations."
  • BURRIS EWELL.  Miss Caroline picks on Burris because he is dirty and lice-ridden.
  • MISS CAROLINE.  Burris utters discriminatory remarks to his teacher because she is a woman--a "snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher..."
  • SOPHY, THE MAID.  Mrs. Merriweather repeatedly denigrates her maid because she is a Negro.
  • HELEN ROBINSON.  Tom's wife is stalked by Bob Ewell, who refers to her as a "nigger."
  • MISSES TUTTI & FRUTTI BARBER.  Maycomb's children targeted the two unmarried sisters for a Halloween prank because they were deaf (and had a basement).
  • DOLPHUS RAYMOND.  Dolphus, a white man, is discriminated against because has a black mistress and chooses to socialize with Negroes.
  • CALPURNIA.  Aunt Alexandra believes Cal spreads the Finch family secrets throughout her black neighborhood.
  • WALTER CUNNINGHAM JR.  Aunt Alexandra refuses to allow Walter to visit the family home because "He--is--trash!"  

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