The Greatest Friend of Truth Is Time, Her Greatest Enemy Is Prejudice and Her Constant Companion Is Humility

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lynnh
Words 1302
Pages 6
Scout: “You aren’t really a nigger-lover, then, are you?”
Atticus: “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody…”
Analyse how the theme of prejudice pervades the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Prejudice stems from several interconnected factors: the absence of self-respect and moral education and the presence of ignorance. The lack of self-respect can lead to an individual feeling unsatisfied with themselves and when this happens, they instinctively lower others in order to raise themselves up. This leads to ignorance as one does not empathise with someone that they have dehumanised, thus they cannot gain knowledge of the other person leading them to assume knowledge without evidence. Because of this, they cannot raise their children to become empathetic human beings, causing them to develop into ignorant and prejudicial beings themselves. The nature of prejudice and the factors affecting its existence are pervaded in Harper Lee’s novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Through the dual narration of Scout Finch and drawing inspiration from her own life, Lee allows for the reader to gain insight into the fatalities of a society steeped in prejudice.
The absence of self-respect is destructive for both the individual lacking the quality and the people surrounding them. An individual not employing self-respect is unable to respect others and through this, prejudice can be created. This is demonstrated through Bob Ewell’s actions against Tom Robinson. In the court room when Mr Ewell is giving his testimony, he ‘stood and pointed his finger at Tom Robinson… “I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!”’ This clearly shows that Mr Ewell does not respect himself, evident through the crude language that he uses in public. His body language shows that he does not respect Tom Robinson either, pointing and refusing to address him by name. By doing this, Mr Ewell…...

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