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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What quotes from To Kill A Mockingbird represent social class prejudice?

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In Chapter 3, Scout criticizes the way Walter is eating. Calpurnia takes her out of the room and scolds her. Scout replies, "He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham-" Scout knows the Cunninghams are one of the poorer families in town. Walter has to work with his family and, as a result, he has trouble finishing school work and moving on to the next grade. So, with less money, there is less opportunity to be educated. Scout, as is the general custom in Maycomb, thinks the Cunninghams are therefore not as good as those with more money and more education. Cal scolds her for using this class prejudice. 

Racism and classism are tied together in this novel and this is often the case in society in general. So, when the black community is oppressed and/or there are prejudices against them, there will be racist motivations for those prejudices but class issues play roles as well. The black community in Maycomb is largely poor and therefore are of a lower social class. When Mrs. Merriweather criticizes her maid (Sophy) and the black community in general of being "stirred up" by Tom's trial and conviction, she shows her true hypocrisy and her racist, classist ways of thinking. This is hypocritical because she claims to be a good Christian woman and one who supports the work of missionaries in other countries. But she is quick to condemn the lower classes in her own town, notably when they are upset with the injustice of Tom's conviction: 

Folks in this town who think they’re doing right, I mean. Now far be it from me to say who, but some of ‘em in this town thought they were doing the right thing a while back, but all they did was stir ’em up. That’s all they did. Might’ve looked like the right thing to do at the time, I’m sure I don’t know, I’m not read in that field, but sulky… dissatisfied… I tell you if my Sophy’d kept it up another day I’d have let her go. It’s never entered that wool of hers that the only reason I keep her is because this depression’s on and she needs her dollar and a quarter every week she can get it. (Chapter 24) 

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