To Kill a Mocking Bird Essay on Prejudice

Prejudice (n)- an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. According to the dictionary, prejudice is merely a feeling or opinion. Such a loaded term like prejudice, carrying such a meaningless definition, sparks the thought if the dictionary is really stating the true and correct definition of prejudice. After reading To Kill A Mockingbird, the author, Harper Lee, shows that prejudice, is not a simple opinion or pre-judgment of someone, but something that could manipulate someone’s decision in such a way as to make them behave and say completely irrational things. Lee develops the characters and situations that affect prejudice to demonstrate to the reader the true meaning of prejudice. Prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason, that then causes the person to behave irrationally towards others.

      To Kill A Mockingbird offers several examples of how prejudice causes people to behave irrationally toward others.   Aunt Alexandra is very proper and views herself as morally correct.   Yet she is quick to point out how indigenous people like her are superior to those she views as beneath her.   “She never let a chance escape her to point out the shortcomings of other tribal groups to the greater glory of our own.” (129) Not only does Scout, but Jem too realize that in Aunt Alexandra’s view, people of different social

classes should not mix together.   When Scout learns that a relative of the Cunningham’s was on the jury and was in favor of acquitting Tom Robinson, she announces that she will invite Walter Cunningham over for dinner.   Aunt Alexandra firmly vetoes that idea, “Because he is trash, that’s why you can’t play with him.” (225). In Alexandra’s irrational view of the world, no matter how good a person is, if they’re not from the right social group, they are not worthy of friendship.   At the bottom of the social scale, prejudice...