Social Inequality

Honors English- 1st period
Social Inequality in “I Sit and Look Out” and To Kill a Mockingbird
In “I Sit and Look Out” by Walt Whitman and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, inequality is a major problem causing divisions among the classes of society.
Walt Whitman displays some aspects of social inequality in his poem “I Sit and Look Out.” It explains the agony and pain that different people are experiencing due to their shame in being at a lower end of the social spectrum and not getting the respect they deserve. Whitman uses an example of a poor mother in “low life” (line 5) that is desperate to just support her own children. He also says he sees “degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like” (line 13-14). The people are completely innocent but are getting mistreated simply because of their status in society or their skin color. Whitman's point of view in this poem is one of an observer on the outside looking in. This image he creates can relate to our society in that everyone sees the corruption going on, but does nothing to fix it. The poem reveals the harmful effects that inequality has on society and leaves the reader feeling like there should be something done to stop the issue.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee also shows a theme of social inequality. Even though scout is still very young, even she already knows the ideas of inequalities and treats people differently based on the amount of money they have. Towards the beginning of the book, Scout makes a stereotypical comment about Walter Cunningham and says that “he had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time” (Lee 26). Although it does not seem fair to Walter to be called out in front of the class about not having lunch money, his low class status is exposed in this unfair way. Racism occurs in the book when people in town disagree with Atticus defending an African American in court. They get angry and call Atticus a...