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Ivy Fan
Mr. Tyler Wells
English Literature
May 22, 2016
The Ubiquitous Effects of Racism
Setting in the chaotic times when the Great Depression took part in, To Kill a Mockingbir
d tells a story far beyond merely a coming-of-age story. While the writer, Harper Lee, does spend
extra effort on emphasizing how the immaturity gradually vanishes as the main characters grow u
p in the seemingly tranquil town, Maycomb, racism has always been the core of the story. In
Maycomb, the discrimination toward Negros is commonplace. From some specific plots, wed se
e that, being the problem root, it is racism that subtly breaks the original peacefulness in the child
hood through three children, changing it into a time of uncertainty and confusion.
Mayella Ewell, being a typical white girl from a biased family that is plagued by poverty
and ignorance since forever, is far beyond simply problematic, due to years of being unconsciousl
y influenced by the racism her family member carry with. The damage that has been ejected on h
er is past saving, since what racism does to her is not simple persecution, like that for Tom Robin
son, but a life-long time of restriction. We could tell that, surrounded in an environment with noth
ing but ignorance and bias, every single action of Mayella Ewell is constrained by the prejudice o
f society. In the plot, suffering with craving inferiority, she finally makes her move, which is to ki
ss a Negro, a person whom, in the view of most Maycomb people, she should by no means have a
mere contact with. As said by Atticus Finch, She is white, but she kisses a Negro. In Maycomb,
a town pervaded by racism, her behavior is doubtlessly unforgivable, even sinful. No code
mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. Although, as A
tticus says, She has committed no crime, but whats more importantly is that she has merely
broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is

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hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. (Lee 272) Forced by the time-honored code of our
society, she has to get rid of what other people see as the ultimate, forbidden sin, although she ac
tually persists with her choice in the first place. What racism has done to her is irreversible and
lamentable:
I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state, but my pity
does not extend so far as to her putting a mans life at stake, which she has done in
an effort to get rid of her own guilt She knew full well the enormity of her
offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she
persisted in breaking it. (Lee 273)
Racism brings persecution to innocent people. In the plot, an innocent man has died becau
se of peoples ignorance and cruel, unreasonable prejudice. I have nothing but pity in my heart
for the chief witness for the state, but my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a mans life
at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. (Lee 272) Tom Robinsons
death means three Negro children has lost their dad, one wife lost her husband. And Calpurnia
said it was hard on Helen, racists keeps hurting people who are different only by appearance. I
t was pathetic that, even in the court, a place where the ultimate justice is held, the colored people
are still misjudged. Completely dominated by the ingrained racism that envelope the quiet town,
people in Maycomb tend to ignore the fact that all men are born equal, judging people by the beni
ghted bias that has long ruled their brains. They turn to be unbelievably obstinate on the statemen
t made by Atticus on the court that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you
gentlemen would go along with them on the assumptionthe evil assumptionthat all Negroes
lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around
our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber. (Lee 274) Its sad that ther
e are times when innocent people are convicted guilty by hypocrites prejudice rather that justice,

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especially in a case as simple as black and white. In some words, those biased people are like m
urderers, and racism is just their butcher knife.
While the racism eject a crucial influence on the victims, it as well affects other people
s lives. Scouts aunty, Alexandra, even try to convince Atticus to fire Calpurnia, which is totally u
nreasonable and inconceivable, since Calpurnia has worked for the Finchs for years.
Whats more pathetic is that some of the Negros, who themselves being the victims throug
h racism, dont realize the discrimination aimed on them. While Scout and Jem, lead by Calpurni
a, are visiting the Black mens church, they notice some of the Negros use the word Nigger on t
hemselves, even its a disrespectful word. Its woefully that they either accept the extreme offensi
ve word or arent given the chance to be aware of the fact. In Maycomb, racism is deeply-rooted.
The unreasonable and infuriating racism has been ubiquitous on nearly everyone in Mayc
omb, including the lawyer in this case, Atticus, along with his children.
Without acknowledging the common customs, the racism, in childrens unsophisticated ey
es, feels just not right. During the court, Dill becomes sick when seeing Mr. Gilmer, Mayella E
wells lawyer, talks hatefully towards Tom Robinson. I know all that, Scout. It was the way he
said it made me sick, plain sick. (Lee 267) Its because that without the intentional bias and the b
lind arrogance of believing people are ranked differently when they are born, the judgement made
based on pure discrimination rather than medical evidence looks extremely ridiculous in children
s eyes. After Tom Robinsons testimony, Jem ends up crying in fury. His face was streaked with
angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. It aint right, he muttered, all the
way to the corner of the square where we found Atticus waiting. (Lee 278) Later on, when they a
re at home, Jem and Scout come into conflict when talking about Atticus case. The argument end
s with Jem saying hed never want to hear about it again. Perhaps its the first time Jem ever had
a chance to discover the ugliness of human nature, though not fully understanding. He get to see

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what people would be like when driven by the prejudice and racism. Through the way of becomin
g mature, it has doubtlessly affected the way he thinks about the society and the humanity.
The racism in Maycomb is commonplace. Prejudice and racism dominate people in
Maycomb not only in daily life, but also in the court, the incarnation of justice. Silently but
inevitably, the prejudice of the biased Maycomb people keeps influencing various peoples lives.
While the common bias seemed wrongful in childrens eyes, others just accept it. Its kind of path
etic. Being a continual problem since colonial era in America, To Kill a Mockingbird throughly
describes, from a childs point of view, that how people could be hypocritical once biased, and
how humanity sometimes could be so indifferent when relating with sanctimonious society code.

Work Cited
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. Print.