After Aunt Alexand to live with them, Scout finds herself confronted with all sorts of my prescripts as to the natural, proper order of society, none of which her very intelligible: Pride and Prejudice and Emma.
In order to sift through the many layers of prejudice that Lee exposes in her novel, the reader needs to understand the complex history of race relations in the South. Many states — particularly in the South — passed "Jim Crow" laws named after a black, minstrel show characterwhich severely limited how African Americans could participate in society.
Supreme Court paved the ways for these laws in when the court ruled that it couldn't enforce the 14th Amendment at the individual level. The first Jim Crow law appeared in ; the laws increased from there and lasted until the civil rights movement of the s.
Many whites at the time believed that instead of progressing as a race, blacks were regressing with the abolition of slavery. Southern churches frequently upheld this racist thinking, which also helped give the Jim Crow laws some of their power.
Ironically, African American churches were as likely to uphold the Jim Crow laws as white churches were. The continued oppression of one group over another is largely psychological.
The dominant group first uses force to obtain their power. Slowly, the group being oppressed begins to feel hopeless that the situation can change and begins to unwittingly buy into the oppression as the norm. Before the civil rights movement gained momentum, many African American churches concentrated on helping their congregations deal with the oppression rather than trying to end it.
Jim Crow laws extended into almost every facet of public life. The laws stipulated that blacks use separate entrances into public buildings, have separate restrooms and drinking fountains, and sit in the back of trains and buses. Blacks and whites were not allowed to be served food in the same room in a restaurant, play pool together, share the same prisons, or be buried in the same cemeteries.
African Americans couldn't play professional sports with white teammates or serve in the armed forces with white soldiers. Black children were educated in separate schools. Black barbers couldn't wait on white female clients, and white female nurses couldn't attend to black male patients.
Not every law applied in every state, but the Jim Crow laws were demoralizing and far reaching, all in the name of protecting white culture and power. Interracial Marriage At the time Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, white people had control over the communities they lived in, but many members of the elite class feared that African Americans would make inroads into the white world by marrying and having children with whites.
Thus, interracial marriage was outlawed in many states. Biracial children were referred to as "mulatto," a word derived from "mule," because, like mules, these children were thought to be the offspring of an unnatural union.
Ironically, biracial children born to black mothers were not seen as a threat to white superiority, so most people looked the other way when a white man — like Dolphus Raymond in the novel — chose to marry a black woman.
The fear of interracial unions reached its apex in a widely held, unrealistic fear that African American men would rape and impregnate white women as a means of penetrating white society and, worse, white power. This sort of crime virtually never happened.
However, the frenzy that characterized the "rape complex" led to drastic and deadly results: Lynching became the primary means of dealing with any accusation of rape of a white woman was pinned on a black man. When the mob comes to lynch Tom Robinson at the jail, Lee alludes to the reality of black men who lived on the receiving end of this treatment.
Scottsboro Trials Lee may have gotten the inspiration for Tom Robinson's case from the Scottsboro Trials ofwhich were a result of the ideals and laws discussed in the preceding sections.
In the Scottsboro case, two white women accused nine black men of raping them as they traveled from Tennessee to Alabama. Both of the women, the nine black men, and two white men hopped a freight car and headed south.
During the Great Depression, jobs were scarce, and the unemployed frequently rode from place to place in empty boxcars in search of work. Although unemployment among blacks was much higher — and in spite of the Jim Crow laws — blacks and whites ultimately competed for the same jobs, a fact that whites greatly resented.
During the train ride the two groups of men fought, and the white men were forced off the train. When the rest of the hobos arrived in Alabama, they were arrested for vagrancy. Both women were of questionable background; one was a known prostitute. Although a doctor's examination revealed no signs of forced intercourse or any sort of struggle, eight of the nine men were sentenced to death.
The Supreme Court ordered a second trial for the Scottsboro "boys," during which one of the women recanted her testimony, denying that she or the other woman had been raped. Nonetheless, the eight men were convicted a second time.
The appeals process continued for several years. Some of the men escaped prison, others were paroled. The last man was released from prison in ; one of the men received a pardon in Because of deep-rooted anti-black sentiment, two white women with skeletons in their own closets were able to deprive eight men of several years of their lives.The publication of Charles Shields’s biography of Lee, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Lee, as well as the publication of solid scholarship in books like Alice Hall Petry’s critical collection On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections, may give rise to further work on the novel in various disciplines.
Check out Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Video SparkNote: Quick and easy To Kill a Mockingbird synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and. John Green does it again. Race, Class, and Gender in To Kill a Mockingbird: Crash Course Literature - YouTube.
(Born Nelle Harper Lee) American novelist. The following entry provides criticism on Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
See also Harper Lee Contemporary Literary Criticism. To . In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the narrator, a young girl by the name of Scout, comes to realize all of the different types of discrimination.
Her father Atticus is a lawyer and fights for the rights of others; Scout is taught by her father at a young age, that discrimination is erroneous. An Analysis of the Stereotypes in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird PAGES 2. WORDS View Full Essay. More essays like this: harper lee, to kill a mockingbird, human rights, life in south.
Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.
The much-hyped second novel of Harper Lee, the Pulitzer prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is to be published tomorrow.
But the transformation of Atticus Finch is a shock to EMILY RHODES.