February 28, 2015

Homework Help: English - Critique Essay Please

Posted by TP on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at 8:28am.

This is how much I've done so far, not finished yet but could you see if I'm on the right track?
I'm following the structure of Introduction, 3 Main Body Paragraphs and a Conclusion.

Explain how the themes of prejudice and tolerance are explored in the novel.

The book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel and has sold over thirty million copies worldwide. It is set in the 1930’s, a time where racism was very prominent. Harper Lee emphasises the themes of prejudice and tolerance in her novel through the use of her characters. The narrator of the story, Scout, comes across many people and situations with prejudice and tolerance as her father defends a black man.

Racial prejudice is widespread in the county of Maycomb, and a prime example of that is the Tom Robinson case. Tom, a black man, was accused of raping Mayella, a white woman. Atticus puts forward all evidence from his the witnesses that clearly proves Tom was innocent, Jem even says
‘and we’re gonna win Scout. I don’t see how we can’t’ (pg 206)
but Tom still received a ‘Guilty’ verdict. Atticus tried to convince the jury that all of god’s children are created equal and eliminate the prejudice thoughts of the jurors by saying
‘the assumption - the evil assumption - that all Negroes lie, that all
Negroes are basically immoral beings…’. (pg 208)
To the jury the only important thing was that Tom was black and the accuser was white; he never stood a chance under those conditions. These racial tensions between blacks and whites have made their way into the courtroom, a place where everyone receives a fair trial no matter what race or colour, but an unjust verdict was reached. The prejudice that was felt towards Tom made him loose all hope of freedom, and as a result, died upon an escape attempt. Tom was victim of racial prejudice.

The novel not only explores racial prejudice, but also prejudice against gender and social status. Miss Maudie is a victim of prejudice against gender as she is a female. When Jem asks about Miss Maudie being on the jury, Atticus replies
‘Miss Maudie can’t serve on a jury because she's a woman’ (pg 225)
shows that women and men did not have equal rights in this period of time. The people of Maycomb believed that cases such as the Tom Robinson’s would be too intense for a woman and would only be fit for a man, as mention by Atticus
‘I guess it’s to protect our frail ladies from sordid cases like Tom’s’ (pg 225)
When Scout wanted to invite Walter Cunningham over for dinner, Aunt Alexandra showed her disapproval and this was a form a prejudice against people of a different social status. When Aunt Alexandra said
‘ “I’ll tell you why” she said. “Because he is trash, that’s why you can’t play with him”’
she had aggravated Scout because she was being unfair towards Walter. Aunt Alexandra always thought that her heritage gave her the right to think that she and her family was better than everyone else, so she always tried to make Scout into a lady, so when she grows up she would not bring shame to family.

The 3rd paragraph is going to explain how the novel explores tolerance and the conclusion to do.

PS, I Italic'd the quotes, but I just have included it here because our teacher tells us to use quotes of no more than 7 - 10 words

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