Explain how Harper Lee develops the theme of prejudice in the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird."

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In addition to the black/white prejudice, you've got the theme intertwined with the prejudice against Boo Radley who for some unknown and mysterious reason chooses to stay indoors.  There's also the prejudice of the town against the Ewells who are repeatedly described as "white trash" in the novel and who live near the black community.  There is also Mr. Raymond who appears to be drunk all the time and has a black mistress who is the mother of his little mixed children.  The reader isn't certain if the drunkenness or the black mistress and children are more prevelant in their treatment of Mr. Raymond, but nonetheless he is shunned by the townspeople.  Of course, you mustn't forget how Calpurnia is treated by Alexandria when she comes to live with the children during the trial for Tom Robinson which is expected to keep Atticus away from home much more than usual. 

Obviously, black and white issues are the focal point, but this is not the only prejudice that is present in the novel.  Harper Lee is a master at weaving all kinds of prejudice throughout the pages of his novel from beginning to end.  Debunking these prejudices is part of the kids' coming of age...especially Jem's.  It is an artful piece of literature.

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reidalot's profile pic

reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Prejudice is interwoven throughout the entire novel. At the beginning of the novel, Scout and Jem are taken to a Black church. The congregation is far from pleased. Scout's teacher is prejudiced against Scout for knowing how to read so well, not a very good prejudice coming from an educator. The town is prejudiced against Boo because he is mysterious and a recluse; thus, he must be evil. Of course, the driving prejudice in the novel, that of racism, is that the majority of the White population in the town of Maycomb is prejudiced against Blacks. Therefore, you have the the unjust case against Tom Robinson after he has been accused by people whose integrity is questionable at best!

bikathecreator's profile pic

bikathecreator | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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How do i put this in Essay form? As in a body paragraph.

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