What are examples of hypocrisy among the people of Maycomb that illustrate their prejudice?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can answer only one question at a time; so I have edited your question. One of the clearest examples of hypocrisy in To Kill a Mockingbird comes from Scout's teacher Miss Gates. In fact, her hypocrisy confuses Scout even though by that point in the novel, Scout has matured immensely, especially in perceiving how society  functions. In class one day, Miss Gates lectures her students about Hitler's prejudice and how evil he is for preying on others simply because of their ethnicity/religion. A perplexed Scout reflects on seeing Miss Gates exit the courthouse after Tom Robinson's trial and remembers that her teacher was talking about how Tom got what he deserved. Scout cannot reconcile that version of Miss Gates with the one who now tells her that it is morally wrong to discriminate against another person.

Similarly, when Scout helps Aunt Alexandra serve the church ladies tea, she hears their negative discussion of the African Americans in their own community coupled with their seeming desire to help the "poor" Africans in Africa. These same "moral" women badmouth Atticus in front of his family in his home while supposedly meeting to help missionaries.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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