In Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, what types of prejudice do Boo Radley and Tom Robinson face?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are innocent individuals who become victims of prejudice throughout the novel. Tom Robinson is an African American who is discriminated by the prejudiced community of Maycomb because of his race. Tom is subjected to racial prejudice after the jury believes the contradicting testimonies of the Ewells simply because they are white. Unfortunately, Tom Robinson becomes the victim of racial injustice and is wrongly accused of assaulting and raping Mayella Ewell.

Boo Radley is a reclusive individual who becomes a victim of prejudice simply because he is "different." Unlike the other citizens of Maycomb, Boo is not social and does not take part in community functions. The community members of Maycomb understand that he is "different" and circulate false rumors that depict Boo as a trouble-making, immoral individual.

jwaidmann | Student

The beauty of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is that, while set in 1936, the themes and lessons are still relevant today. 

Boo Radley is perceived as a frightening, unseen character throughout the book.  His name is whispered throughout the groups of gossiping women and the children are intrigued but frightened.  We eventually come to realize that Boo evidently has some type of disability.  This brings to light the prejudice we see today against people who don't fall into society's version of "normal."  People fear what they don't understand and Boo Radley is a perfect example of this.

Tom Robinson falls prey, of course, to the racial injustice of the time.  He is an innocent man accused of a heinous crime strictly based on the color of his skin.  Even when characters begin to realize his innocence is possible, no one but Atticus is willing to stand up for fear of judgement.

While Boo is given a chance to overcome the prejudice against him, Tom is not so lucky and meets an unfortunate end because of it.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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