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Imagine a time and place where no one is equal. Colored people have to drink from different water fountains; those who were poorer are not allowed to be involved with those who were wealthier than them. As a matter of fact, if one was different, they are shunned by society. In a perfect world, people would rejoice in each one another's happiness, but this isnt a perfect world; nor was it in the 1930 s.
The Southern states were an area of archaic, imported romanticism (Erisman, p. 1). People of the south disliked anyone who was different from them. Even people of the same race or caste often disliked one another. There was fighting between races. Some white groups had hatred for other white group that may be mediocre or inferior to them, as did the blacks.
Those who fitted the dominant race (Bloom, p. xii) were depicted as the whites. In consequently, the whites clearly expect deferential behavior of the blacks (Erisman, p. 2). The colored men were also treated much more harshly and cruelly. In prayer and church, the Negroes worshiped in it on Sundays and white men gambled in it on weekdays. (Lee, p. 118) The one single document that some believed was the cause of all of these prejudices was known as the Emancipation Proclamation. On January 1, 1863, U.
S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the document referred to as the Emancipation Proclamation, ordering that all slaves be freed. The Proclamation marked a radical departure in policy, but reflected the overwhelming public sentiment in the North. (Emancipation Proclamation, Encarta) About 3 million people were freed by the terms of the document, which is regarded as one of the most important state documents of the United States. Another prejudice of the 1930 s in the south was the hate group known as the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan is secret terrorist organization that originated in the southern states during the period of Reconstruction following the American Civil War and was reactivated on a wider geographic basis in the 20 th century. The original Klan was organized in Pulaski, Tennessee, on December 24, 1865, by six former Confederate army officers who gave their society a name adapted from the Greek word kudos, which means circle.
Although the Ku Klux Klan began as a pranks social organization, its activities soon were directed against the Republican. Their main targets were blacks, Jews and other minority groups. While all of this chaos was going on, one woman stood in the middle of it. Her name was Harper Lee. She is best known for her prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. People come into this world pure, the surrounding environment and society effects who and what they become.
The area that Nelle Harper Lee was brought into was an area of mass prejudice. This shaped the way that she lived. Being born to Alaska Coleman and Frances Finch Lee, she was brought up in surroundings that were filled with hatred and dislike. These racial differences would be soon influencing the writing of To Kill a Mockingbird.
When Lee was 5, racial incidents were commonplace; an example of this is the Scottsboro Incident. This began in 1931 and lasted for the next 20 years. This incident would eventually manipulate Lees concept of Tom Robinsons trial; where a black man was clearly innocent, but because of the prejudice in the area he was guilty due to his race. During her years of education in Huntingdon College, she edited many different magazines and books. One of which was a comic or a humor magazine (Johnson, p. xi) called Rammer-Jammer.
This particular comic was about a southern politician who proclaims that our very lives are being threatened by the hordes of evildoers full of sin SIN, my friends who want to tear down all barriers of an kind between ourselves and our colored friends. (Johnson, p. xii) This comic was one of Harper Lees starts to her honored novel. After attending Huntingdon Collage, she moved on to attend at the University of Alabama for four years. This included a year as an exchange student at Oxford University. After her stay in the University of Alabama, she left and headed to pursue a writing career in New York City. (Altman, p. 1) While living in New York, Lee supported herself by working as an airlines reservation clerk. After approaching a literary agent with the manuscripts of two of her essays and three of her short stories, she quit her job and in the late months of 1950 and with a loan from a friend, she was able to write full time for a year.
One of her short stories would soon become her one and only novel To Kill a Mockingbird. After numerous edits, the story To Kill a Mockingbird was finally published in July 1960. Harper Lees life may seem extremely different than the story To Kill a Mockingbird, but indeed it is quite the same. The story of To Kill a Mockingbird begins during the summer when, the narrator, Scout and his brother Jem meet a new playmate named Dill who has come from Mississippi to spend the summer with his Aunt Rachael. Dill is fascinated by the neighborhood gossip about "Boo" Radley. Over the next few years their interest keeps on growing about Boo Radley.
In the meantime, they learn that their father has become the defense lawyer for Tom Robinson, who is charged with raping a white girl by the name of Mayella Ewell. As the trial of Tom Robinson grows nearer, the children become more aware of the strong feeling it has aroused in everyone in Maycomb. One day their housekeeper, Calpurnia, takes Jem and Scout to visit her church, and the children realize for the first time that the black parishioners are supporting Tom Robinson's wife. At the trial, Atticus questions make it clear that Mayella and her father are lying about the rape. Nevertheless, the jury convicts him because their prejudices prevent them from taking a black man's word against two whites. Atticus is now a hero in the black community of Maycomb, but Bob Ewell, vows to get Atticus for showing him up as a liar in front of the whole town.
Tom Robinson has given up hope and tries to flee the prison, but while doing it he gets caught and killed. By the time Halloween comes around, the Finch family has begun to put Tom's death behind them. There is a pageant planned and after the pageant, Scout decides to walk home still dressed in her bulky ham costume. The cowardly Bob Ewell, seeing an opportunity to get revenge on Atticus through his children, follows the children down a dark street and tries to kill them.
It is none other than Boo Radley, who had seen the attack from his window. Boo stabs Bob Ewell to death, and carries the wounded Jem home. The sheriff decides to file a report that Bob fell on his own knife and died, thus sparing Boo the publicity that would be sure to follow. Scout never sees Boo again after that night, but she has learned that he was a good man all along. She has learned a lesson about understanding and tolerance. And through the sheriff's action she sees that sometimes there can be justice and compassion in the world.
As one may see, there is much happening in this story. In To Kill a Mockingbird, the people of Maycomb were represented in many ways, one if which was the representation of a caste syst...
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Research essay sample on The Caste System In To Kill A Mockingbird