In To Kill a Mockingbird, what do you believe to be the answer to this question?"How can you hate Hitler an' then turn around an' be ugly about folks right at home"? Think about what you learned...

In To Kill a Mockingbird, what do you believe to be the answer to this question?

"How can you hate Hitler an' then turn around an' be ugly about folks right at home"? Think about what you learned about Hitler and the Holocaust and what makes people have hate in their hearts. What makes people "ugly" toward other people? Use a quote to support.

Asked on by zbarker95

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bullgatortail's profile pic

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

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At the time in which To Kill a Mockingbird took place (the early 1930s), Hitler had not yet taken his Final Solution to its terrible conclusion. European Jews were being persecuted to be sure, but Hitler's murderous attempt at extinction had not yet begun. It must have seemed very far away to the isolated people in Maycomb, who could sympathize with the Mrunas in Africa and the Jews in Germany, but not with the African-American population of their own town. The bottom line was that many Southern whites still saw Negroes as inferior, and most of Maycomb wanted to keep them in their lowly social position. Even Jem, who grew up adhering to Atticus' belief in treating all people the same, saw the reality in this.

"There's four kinds of folks in the world. There's the ordinary kind like us and the neighbors, there's the kind like the Cunninghams out in the woods, the kind like the Ewells down at the dump, and the Negroes."

Though the people of Maycomb weren't ready for a change in their own town yet, it was easy enough to judge others who lived an ocean away.

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Human beings have an amazing capacity to maintain a double standard. No one has a patent on virtue or vice, all fall somewhere in between. People hate Hitler because of what he does, but that hatred is abstract, his victims were people that most others never knew; they were simply numbers. That is a hatred based on principal, perhaps the principal that Hitler was evil and one should hate evil. Personal animosity towards others is exactly that, it is more of an emotional response than anything else. The person or people we dislike may not be evil; but they may represent a threat, a competitor, or just simply a disagreeable person who makes our lives miserable. So to compare hatred of an abstract evil such as Hitler, and animosity towards individuals with whom we have issues is to compare apples and oranges.  Perhaps the best quote to substantiate the point is from A Separate Peace in which the remark is made that war is caused by something ignorant in the human heart.

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