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To Kill a Mockingbird: Class Structure of Maycomb County The rigid class structure and social stratification of Maycomb County had a profound effect on the events in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The impact of this class structure was especially evident in the trial of Tom Robins on, a Maycomb Negro. The extreme prejudice of the town eventually led to the unjust conviction of Robinson for a crime he did not commit. The society of Maycomb County had a definite structure. This structure contained four classes. The first and upper class consisted of white collar Caucasians who were considered rich in the post-depression years.
Characters who fit into this class were Atticus Finch, a well-off, highly respected lawyer and citizen in town, and Judge Taylor, the justice of Maycomb County and presiding judge at the Robinson trial. Other characters who belonged to this upper class were Miss Made At tilson, an open- minded, kind woman, and Miss Stephanie Crawford, the renown gossip of the town. The second class in Maycomb County included the blue collar, white workers, primarily farmers who struggled to make ends meet. The Cunningham's, Dolphus Raymond, and the mysterious Radley family represented this group. The third class of Ma maycomb County were the white trash. The Ewells, who lived at the dump, and relied on welfare for survival, were members of this group.
It is important to note that the difference between the second and third class was not a financial one. Both w ere poor. The difference, however, was in the way they interacted in society. The Cunningham's, unlike the Ewells, refused to accept charity and paid back their debts with what little they had. The Cunningham's were also different from the Ewells because they didnt take advantage of Negroes.
The fourth and lowest class in Maycomb was best described as a caste because it was impossible to escape from it. All blacks were included in this group. Prejudice ran deep in Maycomb County. Although many classes existed within the blac k community, one of color must always be in the lowest class. The blacks lived apart from the whites in their own section of town and seemed to have a society separate from the whites. The strong prejudice of Maycomb County and the negative effects of its social strata were demonstrated by the trial of Tom Robinson.
Tom was a hard-working, warm- hearted Negro who went out of his way to be kind and helpful to some poor whit e trash. He helped Miss Mayella because he felt sorry for her. His major shortcoming was the fact that he was black. Bob Ewell, a white drunk, who was an eyesore and problem to the town, accused Robinson of raping his daughter Mayella. Atticus Fi nch, Tom Robinsons lawyer, made it immensely clear to the jury that Tom was innocent. It was actually Mayella who made sexual advances towards Tom, and as a result was beaten by her father for kissing a black man.
However, despite the obvious, und enable facts of the case, the all white jury found in favor of the Ewells and sentenced Tom Robinson to death. Tom eventually died when he was shot in an attempt to escape from prison. In examining the case, the two lowest classes in Maycomb were involved. It was the Ewells who were white trash against Tom Robinson, a kind, black man. The jurys decision proved one sad, undeniable fact-when a black mans word went against a white mans word, the white man, regardless of his background, would always be victorious. Despite the jurys doubts pertaining to the Ewells accusations against an innocent black man, they had to find in favor of Mayella because she was white.
In spite of the jurys knowledge of Tom Robinsons character, they could not allow Mayella s accusations to go unanswered. To do so would have made the two races equal. There was no justice or mercy for a Negro, even one as upstanding as Tom Rob into. Atticus may have stated this point best when referring to the jurys decision, Theyve done it before and they did it tonight and theyll do it again and when they do it, seems that only children weep.
The strong prejudices and social strata of Maycomb County had a negative effect on the events in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This fact was evident in the trial of Tom Robinson, an innocent black man falsely convicted of rape. The dis appointing conclusion one draws from the novel was that when white opposes black, white always wins.
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Research essay sample on Kill A Mockingbird Trial Of Tom Robinson