Two major strands of prejudice structure the parallel—and finally interwoven—plots of To Kill A Mockingbird. Each plot centers around a "mockingbird" or compassionate innocent who is misjudged: either Tom Robinson or Boo Radley.
Robinson is the most obvious illustration of prejudice in the novel. The white community of Maycomb, because of racism, pre-judges him as guilty of rape because he is black and his purported victim is white. The perceived need to uphold racial apartheid in Maycomb is so great that the white community is collectively angry at Atticus for planning to mount an adequate defense of Robinson.
Scout and Jem have to face the reality that although Atticus proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Tom Robinson could not have raped Mayella—and that he was trying to treat her with helpfulness and kindness—he is nevertheless falsely convicted of the crime because white society feels it must uphold the principle that the word of a white person is worth than that of a black...
(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1029 words.)