"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
To kill a mockingbird
Why did Atticus defend a nigger? What was the point of being the advocate for a black man? It doesn’t matter if their guilty or innocent, you can ceaselessly and effortlessly convict the animals for their colour vice. You can even turn a blind eye to the obvious truth. And so did the “people”, the white, narrow-minded, bigoted and hypocritical people of Maycomb.
The justification for why Atticus broke from the norm, and acted unlike most others in his community, can be compared to the motive of the central character in the novel, A Time To Kill, written by John Grisham. The comparative character, a lawyer named Jake, also endangers not only his own life but his family’s, by defending a Negro. He is compelled to undergo such a risk as he believes he is protecting an innocent man. Despite the fact that he is black. Jake could not live with himself if he failed to give his utmost effort in clearing the accused, Carl Lee Hailey’s, name. The lawyer feels that it is his obligation to humanity to do so. Similarly, the case Atticus accepts is something which goes to the essence of a man’s own conscience. Atticus is unable to treat the underdogs of the town how the majority of people act towards them. Clearly the people of Maycomb are narrow-minded, bigoted and hypocritical, and Atticus Finch is not. Nothing can be done to make the prejudiced, perverse people hear the truth. This dogmatic attitude does not occur exclusively between the whites and the Negroes either. The community’s unsubstantiated stories about other citizens also demonstrate their heedless to the truth and prejudiced natures.
Arthur Radley, otherwise labelled Boo, has for decades been maliciously slandered, in the county. The people that have done so do not know Arthur, and the reason they can make such judgments escapes me. When there was a series of pets being mysteriously slaughtered, the consensus was that it was performed by Boo. Later, when the culprit transpired to be someone else, most people were still rooted in the belief that Boo was to blame. They could not believe the truth. And all unsolved crimes committed, in the area, have been manufactured solely by him. If your garden freezes it is because he breathed on it and nuts and other fruits, grown on the Radley property, are considered poisonous. Why have these allegations been targeted on Arthur? All that distinguishes him from other folks is that he isolates himself from the community. Is privacy a crime? Do we all have to act like sheep and follow the flock? Are none of us able to act unconventionally and live how we wish to live? According to the community of Maycomb, the answer the last question is no. Just another example of the people’s narrow-minded and bigoted mentalities. Arthur saved both the lives of Scout and Jem Finch. He left them gifts. Yet, very few people can look beyond his damning past. And he is white!
Tom Robinson, would be a free man, living with his family, if it was not for the citizens of Maycomb. I admit, he was guilty. Guilty of being a neighbour to someone in trouble. Guilty of helping Mayella a great amount doing odd jobs for her, without pay, but from the goodness of his soul. Guilty of wishing to make her long-suffering life easier. Guilty of refraining from her physical advances. Guilty as charged. Oh, how he should suffer. Yes, Tom has many damning weaknesses. However, his main sin is being black, and in Maycomb county that is enough to discard all evidence and logical reasoning, exclude all rational thought, and convict him of rape and battery. Atticus stated, “Tom Robinson was a dead man as soon as Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.” (p266) He had no chance of an acquittal as no-one will hear the truth, on account of the dire racism that has been embedded into them.
The jury, representing the “typical” kinsmen of the community, pronounced Tom guilty. All evidence pointed to Mr. Ewell as the offender, a man who spends his relief cheques on whiskey and lets his children cry with hunger pains. Poor white trash. While, Tom Robinson is a
View Full Essay