Discuss Harper Lee’s presentation of prejudice Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 01:47:02
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Category: Poetry

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After Calpurnia handed him a note saying the children had been missing all day he tells the judge if he can leave at which point the children descend from the stands. His immediate reaction is one of relief we share his relief, as we no longer know something that he doesn’t. Atticus is such a good-natured person that when we have an unfair advantage over him we are discontent and relieved when the knowledge is equally shared. Atticus then changes his mind from making the children go home to letting them stay in the court.
This is a climatic point in this scene as we can now witness if Atticus truly is the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets or at home with his children. We will be able to witness if he really is completely honest. Harper Lee hints that there may be a darker side to Atticus, but this merely remains a hint. Scout says, “I was beginning to notice a subtle change in my father these days, that came about when he talked with Aunt Alexandra, it was a quiet digging in, never outright irritation.
” We see that the injustice and prejudice that lingers in the town especially in people like Aunt Alex begins to eat away at Atticus’ good nature. Whereas he would normally tolerate these ignorance’s we see him beginning to vent his frustration at his sister. This is another way for Harper Lee to show how wrong the injustice is as it causes a change in his truthful character. Harper Lee chooses Scout as the narrator. The reason I think she does this over any other character is because it is told in a retrospective way.
This means that scout is telling the story looking back at the events that had happened. Jem has learnt many of the lessons that scout is still yet to learn. Therefore if he were to tell the story there would not be as much progression or lessons of growing up that we see evident in Scout. Scout is able to look at her life’s events at these times and then explain to us, the reader, their significance. Also because of her age when retelling the story compared to when actually being described we are able to learn how well she has been brought up.
This highlights how much of a good father Atticus is. Also the fact that Scout acts in the story as a young child strips her of the usual self-conscious attitudes that occur, say at Jem’s age. It also means she is a lot more curious and we learn through her curiosity, “I didn’t think so: Atticus was trying to show, it seemed to me, that Mr. Ewell could have committed the crime. ” Harper Lee uses Dill, a character who is sweet and innocent to convey the enormity of the wrongdoing imposed on Tom Robinson.
Dill is usually happy and most frequently described playing with Jem and Scout. Therefore when we see him begin to cry not through the hostility of the court but because of the cruelty Tom Robinson suffers at the hands of the Ewells we sense the dramatic change in his character. We feel he is not only crying because he feels genuinely upset for Tom Robinson but he is also crying because of the unnatural cruelty that he suffers. This would never happen to a white person and Dill cannot understand why treated differently.
A concept that Harper Lee enforces throughout the book. Why should all black people be treated differently just because their skin is a different colour? Atticus’ behaviour and attitude in the court is constructed in such a way that it effortlessly belittles Bob Ewell. He questions his ability to write and his ability to hold up a decent conversation. His language is very sophisticated and Atticus is able to reveal to the court, judge and jury that it was in fact Mayella’s father who committed the rape without actually saying so until the verdict is being given.
“Did you think the nature of her (Mayella) injuries wanted immediate medical attention? ” Bob Ewell replied with “what? ” letting us firstly know that the question had struck a nerve and secondly that they should have been Bob’s intentions. Atticus remains genuinely polite and not being sarcastic at any time. In one way this highlights a direct contrast between the Finch family and the Ewells, which is made obvious to the reader.

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