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TallulahLefkowitz
OConnor
HonorsEnglish
14December2015
ThePowerintheSystem
Weliveinacountrywhereequalopportunityisbiased,andthebalancedjudicialsystem
islopsided.
ToKillaMockingbird
byHarperLeeisatimelessnovel,andthetopicsitaddresses
arestillverymuchrelevanttoday.Itmayseemthatinthisdayandage,atrialverymuchsimilar
toTomRobinsonscouldneveroccur,butithappenseveryday.Thestoryistoldthroughthe
vulnerable,developingeyesofachild,andweseeheropinionsandpersonalprejudiceschange
throughoutthestory.
ScoutandJemaregrowingupinthesmall,ruraltownofMaycomb,Alabama.Thesouth,
inthistimeperiod(andstillsomewhattoday),waspartakinginasilentwar,andthekidswere
fullyexposedtoitsproducts.BobEwell,atrashywhiteman,forcedhisdaughtertolieabout
beingrapedbyablackmaninordertoavoidhisownembarrassmentofhisdaughtersactions.
AtticushasstrongopinionsabouttheEwells,asshownhere:Noneofthemhaddoneanhonest
day'sworkinhisrecollection...Theywerepeople,buttheylivedlikeanimals(Lee40).Atticus
mayseethemthisway,butmanyresidentsofMaycombstillsawtheEwellsasrespectablefolk
basedonthecoloroftheirskin.Lessthan100yearsbefore,theconfederacyhadlosttheCivil
War,andtheSouthwasfacedwithadevastatingblow.Thoughyes,slaverywashorribleand
neededtobeoutlawed,theslavetradeessentiallykepttheSoutherneconomyalive.African
slaveshadbeentheirmainsourceofincomeforsomanyyears,andnomatterhowcrucialthey

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were,whitemenandwomenintheSouthhadasetperspective.Onetheywouldpassontotheir
kidsandthattheirkidswouldpassontotheirs.Thoughthatracismandprejudiceisslowly
fading,itisstillveryabundant,especiallyinthatpartofthecountry.
Thoughweasacultureandsocietyhavemadeprogress,andthatprogressisgood,we
stillhavealongwaytogo.IfTomRobinsonstrialwouldhaveoccurredtoday,onecantbe
certainthattheoutcomewouldnthavebeenthesame.OnemaysayWell,theevidenceisso
obvious,howcouldanycourttoday
not
findTominnocent?Itmayseemthisway,butifone
examinesrecenttrials,especiallywhitecopvs.blackman,theevidenceisjustasobvious,ifnot
moreduetovideorecording,andcourtsarestillfindingmurderersinnocentandsimplecivilians
guilty.Eventoday,TomRobinsonscasecouldhavegoneeitherway.Theverdictwoulddepend
onwherethecasetookplace,andhowmuchmediaattentionitreceived.Manyofthecases
todaysounfairlydecidedaretriedintheSouth,byalreadybiasedjudges.Thesystemitselfis
prejudiced,andtheonlywaytofixitistoeducateandopentheconversation.
Courageisacomplicatedandrarethingtofindinaperson.Manyhaveaskewedvision
ofcourage,asAtticusstateshere:...Iwantedyoutoseewhatrealcourageis,insteadofgetting
theideathatthatcourageisamanwithaguninhishand.Itswhenyouknowyourelicked
beforeyoubeginbutyoubeginanywayandyouseeitthroughnomatterwhat.Yourarelywin,
butsometimesyoudo(148).Thisissomethingwecanalllearnfromthisnovel.Courageisnt
alwaysthesuperheroesinmoviesthatsavethedaybykillingwithoutunderstanding.Courageis
notawhitemanwithaguninhishand.Courageisapowerfulvoice,andthesearchforhome.
Courageislivingasaminority,knowingthatatanymomentthosethatareheretoprotectcould
beyourdemise.

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Thiscountryissuffering,butthepeoplehavethepowertomakeitbetter.HarperLeehas
foundawaytoinstillcouragethroughasimplelovestoryasshecallsit.Wehavemade
progress,andstepbysteponecanhopeaworldiscreatedwhereequalopportunityisequaland
thebalancedjudicialsystemisinfactbalanced.

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WorksCited
Lee,Harper.
ToKillaMockingbird.
Fiction.NewYork,GrandCentralPublishing,1982.Print.