Did the author mean this statement but not say it in To Kill a Mockingbird? "Lula's attitude shows prejudice was not confined solely to whites."Did the author mean this statement but not say it...

Did the author mean this statement but not say it in To Kill a Mockingbird? "Lula's attitude shows prejudice was not confined solely to whites."

Did the author mean this statement but not say it in To Kill a Mockingbird? "Lula's attitude shows prejudice was not confined solely to whites."

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I do not think I agree. Lula is too tricky an example. The most likely explanation for Lula's behavior, in my mind, is that she is acting out the inverse of the Golden Rule. Lula is treating people as she has been treated. 

Her poor treatment at the hands of those in power in her community has led her to reciprocate. 

This does not, in itself, prove that prejudice is a wide-spread occurance. It may prove, instead, that "white prejudice" is echoed in other communities but it remains "white prejudice". 

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

We all know that prejudice is not confined solely to whites and that therefore Harper Lee would not be hesitant to acknowledge as much if asked. What her intent was in Lula's role in TKAM is perhaps more complicated. While much is made clear about the various reactions in the white community of Maycomb, not a lot is demonstrated about how the larger African American community in Maycomb reacts to circumstances involving Tom and the Ewells. Lula may be the one instance of a representation of the true reaction in that quarter rather than an instance of prejudice. Lula may be the voice of outrage toward events and toward destructive white prejudice that is uninfluenced--unfiltered--by the shadow of Atticus Finch in the person of his children.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Yes, Lula is prejudiced against the children and white families in general. In some ways, you can't blame her. She likely has not been treated well by whites for her entire life. I think that the purpose of including the incident with Lula is to demonstrate that there was animosity, hatred and even racism everywhere.
kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I think that Harper Lee was trying to illustrate that prejudice in general is not restricted to race, age, background culture or belief. Racism is a virulent form of prejudice in  the novel, but as we see in the way that the Ewell's and the Radley's are regarded, race is not the only factor causing hatred in Maycomb.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Yes, it is somewhat problematic to put down Lula's attitude entirely to racism. Certainly, the skin colour of the children is important to Lula's objection about their presence in the "black" church, but we must remember that forming an alternative and rival community was perhaps a natural instinct in a group that had experienced so much discrimination from the white community. Having been shunned from the white community, it is hardly no suprise that the blacks are shown to form their own community, and that Lula is angry to see that line which was drawn by the whites first, being transgressed.

herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that it is true that Lee could have said, but did not specifically say, that Lula's attitude shows that racism is not entirely a white person phenomenon because Lula did specifically refer to the children by their skin color. However, I do agree with the previous posts because Lula was not only prejudiced against whites but she was also angry at the way whites had subjugated and mistreated the black people of Macomb.

Therefore, Lula was reaction out of anger and rebellion even more so than the mere fact that the kids were white. She wanted to preserve the feeling of belonging to a community that treats its own well than the "outsiders" do. Hence, why mix it up? If the whites have the right to reject the blacks, the blacks should have the same right. In my opinion, that is exactly what Lula was thinking.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not necessarily disagree with Post 2, but I would point out that this is not necessarily a prejudiced attitude.

Lula does clearly want her church to be for black people only.  But is this necessarily a prejudiced attitude?  I would say that it is not.  When a group is oppressed like the black people of Maycomb are, they might want a space where they can be themselves and not have to deal with the presence of the whites.  They might want to be able to forget about acting the way that whites expect them to act.  In this case, the church becomes a refuge from the white people and Lula's attitude is more understandable and less a manifestation of prejudice.

bullgatortail's profile pic

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

Posted on

Oh, absolutely true. Racism is certainly not restricted to white people; there are many African-Americans who display the trait as well, and Lula is the prime (and probably only) example in To Kill a Mockingbird. It is clear that Lula objects to Jem and Scout attending her church because they are white--not because they are non-members.

"I wants to know why you bringin' white chillun to a nigger church."

A further statement shows that Lula prefers (though possibly unhappily) the segregation that exists in Maycomb.

"...--they got their church, we got our'n."

Calpurnia tells the children that Lula is a "troublemaker" with "fancy ideas and haughty ways." Lula might fit in perfectly with the black power movement that begins a quarter of a century later, but her views are rare among the blacks of Maycomb in the 1930s--at least to Scout's limited scope.

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