Racism was a large issue in Southern America in the 1930’s and this is imprinted into To Kill A Mocking Bird from Scout’s view. Since the novel is based on the fact that Scout was very young, she misunderstands the many derogatory terms which are addressed to her father when he’s defending Mr. Robinson in the court case at the end of the novel. The novel itself has a universal meaning as it spreads the clear message about how racism isn’t a positive thing. This message can be interpreted anyhow as there’s still racism in today’s world.
My essay will show how racism was one of the most important themes in the novel. Our first inclination of racism is when a mob of white people come to lynch Mr. Robinson before his court case. The mob use words like, “nigger-lover",” to Atticus, who later informs Jem and Scout that he took no notice to these snide remarks and says that only, “ignorant trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favouring Negroes over and above themselves.” It shows the mind set of people in those times and again shows how this theme is so important as it was such a huge issue in all of Southern America. Moreover, the scene is a bad influence on Scout as she is naïve and believes that all things adults say are right. This is an example of how racism lasted so long in America. Parents spread the extreme form of prejudice to their children and the vicious cycle continued.
During the novel Atticus says that he does not want Jem or Scout saying, “Nigger",” as he regards the word as ‘common’. It suggests that Atticus associates racist language with lack of education, Scout is quick to point out the irony in this as she herself goes to school only to ‘common’ speech and that racial slurs are used at her school by the children in her class. This shows the connection between institution and racism and intern relates to the idea of ostracism and that the black community or the ‘Other-ing’ as they’re referred to in the novel being secluded from such institutions. This point proves how racism is one of the dominant themes in the novel as it proves that racism was an everyday thing.
One element of Scout’s characterisation which enables her to affect the lives around her is her naiveté. When she and Atticus are approached by the mob shows how childlike behaviour can have a great affect than the actions of the mob as they are shamed into stopping their aggravated behaviour when they are shown what they’re doing from the view of a child. The fact that the adults are too blind to see what they’re doing is pointless