In To Kill A Mockingbird, who are the Mrunas and who is J. Grimes Everett?
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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee traces the discriminatory practices and the effects of such prejudice as it exists in the fictitious Maycomb County. The story is told through the eyes of Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout, the daughter of Atticus, the lawyer who will defend the wrongly accused Tom Robinson. There is racial prejudice, arrogance, superiority and certainly religious bigotry in Maycomb County as the townspeople judge everyone else but never themselves and base their judgments on misguided principles applied separately. As Dolphus Raymond tells Dill:
"Cry about the simple hell people give other people- without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people too."
The residents of Maycomb County do think that they help those less fortunate and that they are "fighting the good fight." The references to J Grimes Everett, although the reader never meets him, show the duplicity of many of the townspeople as they preach about Christian values whilst only selectively applying them themselves. Grimes Everett is a missionary, working in Africa with the Mruna Tribe, as the only "white person'll go near'em," and Aunt Alexander is meeting with her missionary circle who will presumably raise funds for the "saintly" J Grimes Everett and his work with the Mrunas who live in "sin and squalor."
When Aunt Alexandra meets with her missionary circle, Mrs. Merriweather talks about J. Grimes Everett, who is a missionary working with "those poor Mrunas." This is a tribe of people living in Africa for "not a white person'll go near'em but that saintly J. Grimes Everett." Harper Lee's satire is cutting here, for the "good" women pretend to worry about the black Mrunas while having no respect for the black people of her own community. In addition, her attitude is not caring but condescending and paternalistic. Note the way Lee names the missionary "J. Grimes," so that his name says something about his personality--that it is "grimy."
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