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Is “To Kill a Mockingbird” (by Harper Lee) a novel about racism?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Context of the novel.
    1. The background of the novel written by Harper Lee.
    2. The town where the story takes place.
    3. The most interesting character to analyse.
  3. Is racism a minor theme of the book?
  4. An efficient plea against racism.
  5. Conclusion.

Writing To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee has chosen to make a description of the Deep South during the Great Depression of the 30's through the eyes of a young girl, leaving us uncertain about the qualification of this novel. Indeed, reading the biography of the author, the reader realizes that To kill a mockingbird could be a fictional way to describe her own childhood, both having a lot of common points: is it the beginning of an autobiography or simply a novel describing social conflicts in a small town in the south of the United States? Even if trying to qualify the novel would be an interesting exercise, we are more interested in this essay by the fact that the novel is actually told by a young girl who discovers the conflicts of life through naïve eyes. Indeed, her first experience with evils of the world is going to be racial prejudice , with her father defending in courts an African American from trumped-up rape charges.

[...] Reading what Chris Jones thinks about To kill a mockingbird[6], we are told that this novel has several main themes. Indeed, it deals with personal responsibility, paternal obligation, alienation, importance of empathy and racial conflict, which all appear to be as much important as the others. The fact that Scout is ?used' as the narrator let the author to emphasise most of the first themes later quoted than the last one. Indeed, through the young girl eyes the reader is given a view of the society which is not objective at all: lacking the perspectives of an adult she does not see Maycomb's society with its main features: racist and narrow minded[7]. [...]

[...] As R A Dave says: universality of To kill a mockingbird is essential?[11]. As a matter of fact this book deals with racism in a very strong way, putting a black man at the centre of an injustice. The fact that Tom Robinson is judged by a jury which is supposed to represent the people for a crime that everybody know he has not committed is relevant: the majority of the persons in the trial know that Bob Ewell is a bad man who beats his daughter and could easily have invented the rape by Tom Robinson to hide his own sin. [...]

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