Can you help with my essay on To Kill a Mockingbird: are all men  created equal?My essay question is "are all men created equal?" I need help on essay outline. I planned my essay but it's not...

Can you help with my essay on To Kill a Mockingbird: are all men  created equal?

My essay question is "are all men created equal?" I need help on essay outline. I planned my essay but it's not clear. I'm going to describe setting and describe prejudice and unfairness in the novel, and then I'm going to use Atticus' quote that says all men are created equal by law. And my teacher wants me to relate this to our real life, today's world.

Asked on by tpdus

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Atticus' speech in To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic, and he makes a compelling closing argument which contains the line to which your question refers.  His use of the words makes an important distinction, one which you will probably need to address in your essay in some fashion.  He says:

Now, gentlemen, in this country the courts are the great levelers.  In our courts, all men are created equal.

Notice what he says and what he does not say.  He says that every person is the same according to the law.  In other words, all men and women in this country have equal rights.  He does not say all men are equal.

What that means for your essay, then, is that you have to distinguish between these two concepts.  For example, if equal means "same," a quick look around will tell you that all men (humans) are not equal.  Some are short, some are tall; some are skinny, some are not; some are brilliant, some are just average; some can sing, some can't carry a tune; some can draw throw or run, and some can't.  We are not all the same (equal), and that's a good thing.  This is not Atticus' position.

We do, though, have equal rights, both according to the Declaration of Independence and according to Atticus' speech.  That means if a poor person and a rich person each commit a crime, they are guaranteed a lawyer, a speedy trial, and a jury of their peers.  We also have equal responsibilities as citizens.  That means the laws of the land apply to the rich and the poor, the rural and the urban, the old and the young.  We also have equal opportunities, with all that entails.  It's true that there is some "warping" of these equalities, as those who are rich or who "have" can buy better lawyers, work the laws to their advantage, and find more opportunities; however, the pure system is designed for equality for all. 

Your essay can cover any number of these aspects, and there are plenty of real-life examples to support them. 

 

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