Social Issues In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee


Throughout one’s life, there will be periods of time where things do not go as planned. The fiction novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee takes place during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The characters live in Maycomb, a small town in Alabama. This novel takes place through the eyes of Scout Finch, the main character. The novel starts when she is around six years of age and ends when she is about eight. She lives with her brother Jem, her widow father Atticus, and Calpurnia, an African American maid. Throughout the book, many characters face hardships, such as sexual abuse, racism, murder, court trials, and surprise attacks. The tough reality is that in life, bad things happen to good people. 

Racism was one of the biggest problems in the 1930s. Alabama was one of the most segregated states in the United States, and racism was worse there than any other state. Many of the white people in Maycomb were against the black community and wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. The black community for the most part was filled with innocent, great people, but they were not treated with respect. The Finch family was one of the few people who was supportive for the black community. Atticus Finch, a lawyer, helped innocent Tom Robinson in a court trial. Tom Robinson was a black male being accused of sexually assaulting Mayella Ewell, the daughter of Bob Ewell. Despite being proven innocent because of the fact his left arm is shorter than his right, he is still thrown in jail. To make matters worse, Tom Robinson wrongfully was shot and killed in jail. “Tom’s dead (...) They fired a few shots in the air, then to kill (...) Seventeen bullets in him. They didn’t have to shoot him that much'' (315). To be thrown in jail even after proving your innocence is one thing, but being killed just proves how awful racism was. This news left the Finch family, especially Atticus heartbroken. Robinson was an innocent man and even though this devastating news was hard, it pushed Atticus to be stronger and to keep fighting. Tom Robinson was a good person, but unfortunately the reality is that awful events happened to the wrong people. 

Throughout the book, Scout and her family were seen as great characters. Most people in Maycomb liked the Finch family, except for one person who absolutely despised them, and that was Bob Ewell. Bob Ewell was portrayed as the antagonist throughout the book. It was obvious that Bob Ewell was the one who sexually abused his daughter, and even though he won the court case, he still wanted revenge on the Finch family. After the court trial and Tom Robinson’s death, Bob Ewell had a plan to attack Jem and Scout. While the kids were walking home from a Halloween pageant, Bob Ewell had a plan to attack. “The man began moving around, as if searching for something. I heard him groan and pull something heavy along the ground. It was slowly coming to me that there were now four people under the tree” (352). Scout and Finch were innocent children who had nothing to do with their father’s actions during the court trial.  Although they were portrayed as good humans, they still were attacked. The hero who ended up saving Scout and Jem from the attack was Arthur “Boo” Radly. Throughout the book, he was portrayed as terrifying in Maycomb. Rumors were that Boo had a dark past that involved stabbing and family members. He was known as the villain, but in the end if it were not for him, Scout and Jem would have been murdered. Boo might have been known as the bad guy, but in the end he actually ended up being a hero. Even though the people of Maycomb may not be able to see it, the Finch family could see that deep down, Boo was not a bad guy. A person could do everything right, but still end up going through struggles and hard times. 

Harper Lee shows that just because you are a delightful person, does not mean your life will be easy. The Finch family was known as a pretty wealthy family, but going through struggles is what made them be the very best family they could be. When you see a strong, wonderful person, you may wonder how they got there. The struggles in life are what push people to become even better. Good people will go through hardships and challenges, but that is the way life is.

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