How is prejudice covert within the Maycomb community in To Kill a Mockingbird? Relate to Boo Radley, the children, telephone conversations and racial prejudice.
Please include quotes and, if possible, describe the literary techniques used.
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Much of the prejudice found in the novel is practiced in secret. The jury verdict, though unanimous, is based entirely on the racial hatred the all-white group of men harbor, and Scout recognizes afterward that "in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case." The lynch mob bent on hanging Tom Robinson plans their actions under the cover of darkness: When the children appear to stand alongside Atticus at the jail, the men decide that their murderous act is not appropriate for such young witnesses. The women of the missionary circle pretend to be God-fearing Christians bent on doing the Lord's work among the black heathens in Africa, but they spend most of the afternoon ridiculing the black citizens of their own home town. Dolphus Raymond is criticized by the white population for preferring to spend his life with his black mistress, but most of the gossip about Raymond is done in whispers.
Racial prejudice is not the only form found in Maycomb. People who are different are considered outcasts or unusual. Boo Radley's mental instability is a source of gossip for most of the townspeople, though they rarely discuss the Radley family in public. Boo's activities are also covert, and he is said to only come out at night. Many of the women in the novel are treated with skepticism since so many of them--Miss Maudie, Miss Stephanie, Miss Rachel--are single and childless. The Misses Tutti and Frutti are outcasts because they are deaf and Northern born. The Cunninghams and Ewells also face prejudice from both whites and blacks, and even Atticus looks down upon the Ewell family, calling them the "disgrace of Maycomb for three generations." Mayella lures Tom inside her house in order to seduce him, an act so socially reprehensible in Maycomb society that it can only take place behind closed doors. As for the use of the telephone, conversations were rarely truly private since the local operator, Miss Eula May, was privy to most of the calls herself.
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