The theme of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird is the existence of racism and prejudice in the 1930 – 40's. Harper Lee succeeds in presenting the topic in a manner that is not overly simplistic and thus achieves the task of allowing the reader to fully appreciate the complex nature of unjust discrimination. Harper Lee's inclusion of characters such as Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond and many others, aid the reader to grasp the concept of racism and its central role in the town of Maycomb. To Kill a Mocking Bird is narrated retrospectively from the view of Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch a lawyer of Maycomb, and younger sister of Jem. The informal vocabulary of the narration is still good enough to suggest it is spoken from the view of an adult Scout, (looking back at her childhood) but is casual enough to be understood by most readers. Maycomb's racist attitude in To Kill a Mocking Bird is fueled by the events which occurred soon after World War I. After a devastating stock market crash, many employers lost a substantial amount of money and therefore could hardly afford to hire staff. Many resorted to buying slaves; it was cheap and required little responsibility on their part. This event led to the employment of Negroes. The Industrial revolution did not occur in South America since it was only logical to simply buy slaves rather than expensive machinery. The civil war soon followed, and declared that Negroes were no longer considered slaves and if they were unhappy with work conditions they could leave. Few did, since jobs were already dangerously scarce and by about 1930 racism toward blacks was obvious. Negroes were accused of stealing the jobs of white people and this led to a system of separate public transport, schools and even drinking fountains. To Kill a Mocking Bird expresses the racist attitudes of Maycomb most dominantly in the court case involving Tom Robinson (who's lawyer is Atticus Finch) and Mayella Eule. The trial makes blatantly obvious to the reader that Tom Robinson, the black man accused of rape is innocent and yet the jury finds him guilty. It also establishes that Mayella was actually beaten by her father and although the evidence that points to this occurrence is circumstantial, it is made perfectly clear. The court case also clarifies to the reader the frightful nature and obvious abundance of racism within the small town of Maycomb.
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