ToPrejudice is a many faced demon which comes in many shapes and disguises. Thepoint that it often goes ignored or unnoticed and shows up in the most unlikelyplaces is what makes it an even more dangerous thing. This is extremely evidentin the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The first sign of prejudice in thenovel is shown by the Finch children regarding Arthur (Boo) Radley. They see himas a type of monster or a malevolent phantom as Scout so aptly put it.
Anysmall crimes which were committed in Maycomb were said to be his work. At nightwhen the moon was down, he went and peeped in windows. When peoplesazealeas froze in a cold snap, it was because he breathed on them. Even thechildren were affected by all these rumours, they refused to touch the pecanswhen the trees from the Radley place dropped into the school yard- according tothem Radley pecans would kill you. All of this could be attributed to theirprejudice against Boo, just because he never came out of his house to orsocialised with outsiders, people just made up all these rumours about him as areason for why he stayed inside. The next type of prejudice shown in the book isclass prejudice.Order now
It is unconsciously shown by Scout as well as a few of hercompatriots on her first day at school. They attributed certain qualities toeach family in Maycomb and expected these traits to be hereditary. For examplethe reason which Scout gave as to why Walter refused the quarter which MissFisher offered was because “hes a Cunningham” and the reason whyBurris was so dirty and impudent was, as far as the children were concerned, wasbecause “Hes one of the Ewells”. This shows the complacent way inwhich they treat class prejudice in Maycomb, in Maycomb it is just taken forgranted, no questions asked.
In fact the children, in stating thesecharacteristics of the Cunninghams and Ewells did not even realise that theywere being prejudiced, they had just been brought up that way. Later, when Jeminvited Walter to tea and Scout criticised his table manners, Cal and Atticuswere not pleased at all. Cal scolded Scout roundly by saying that Walter wascompany and that he could eat whatever way he wanted. When Scoutretaliated by saying that Walter was not company that he was just aCunningham, Cal did not let that serve as an excuse for her humiliatinghim. In this way, Cal tried to stop Scout from gaining the class prejudice ofMaycomb and to treat all people equally.
Racial prejudice against Negroes areshown with regard to Dolphus Raymond and Tom Robinson. Dolphus Raymond isconsidered to be a type of oddball in Maycomb, because he is a white man yetprefers to live with the Negroes. In town, he has a reputation for being adrunkard, but he tells the children that that was just in pretence. Actually, heis a very sensitive man who loathes the society which makes blacks and whiteslive separately and hates the “hell white people give coloured folks,without even stopping to think that theyre people, too”.
Tom Robinson isfound guilty of raping of Mayella Ewell, in the face of very strong suspicionthat his accusers are lying. One reason he was convicted was because it was awhite mans word against a black mans one, and in Maycomb, a white mansword was always taken without any regard as to how trustworthy he was. I thinkthe other reason he was convicted was because he went against the acceptedposition of a Negro by daring to feel sorry for a white person. All theseprejudices are a result of people holding on to preformed ideas of a certain setof people. It is not just racial prejudice which is present in Maycomb but thenarrow, rigid, intolerant codes of behavior which the townspeople wish to imposeon others.
These prejudices all show the inability of the people to, as Atticusputs it, “consider things from his point of view” and the lack ofunderstanding between them.English Essays