In To Kill a Mockingbird, what are some examples in which fear and racism overpowered reason and intelligence?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

BOB EWELL'S ACCUSATION.  The most obvious example comes when Bob Ewell accuses Tom Robinson of raping his daughter, Mayella. Bob's hatred of Negroes is even greater than his dislike of nearly everyone else.

THE LYNCH PARTY.  The otherwise upright citizens who attempted to get past Atticus at the jail allowed their fear of Tom to override their good senses. Luckily, Scout's words of wisdom brought them back to reality.

BOB EWELL STALKS.  Tom's death wasn't enough for Bob. He felt the impulse to stalk and frighten Tom's wife, Helen, as well.

DOLPHUS RAYMOND.  Raymond's decision to spend his wife with Maycomb's Negroes makes the rest of Maycomb's white community think he is mentally unstable and/or a drunk.


mkcapen1 | Student

The first incident was when they arrested Tom Robinson.  Bob Ewel knew that if he had his daughter accuse Tom of raping her, that the townspeople would not even look his way.  He was smart enough to now that a black man would not stand a chance if tried in court.

Another incident is when the people gather at Atticus' home to make him feel bullied into dropping the case.  Atticus stands tall though and continues. 

The mob scene is a pretty good example of fear and racism.  The people can not see Tom Robinson as a man.  They only see a black man.  What they fear is that he will live for what he had done.  They want him dead because they are afraid of the idea of a black man with a white woman as well as rape.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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