Wednesday, February 26, 2014


A good example of a PEEL essay on PREJUDICE in TKAM. I have changed it from first person to third person and edited the text to read a little better. 
Human beings tend to make assumptions about others based on the criteria such as a person’s clothing or skin. However, people rarely realize that these assumptions can lead to violence and strife. In other words, prejudice ruins and sometimes even destroys society; it causes people to lose all compassion and understanding for their fellow human beings. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (39)**. People often fail to examine a situation from a different viewpoint because their opinions are biased, and the result is the failure to judge others accurately. InTo Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee shows readers how prejudice causes people to believe in rumours, judge others by their race, and deem the beliefs of others unacceptable.
As a form of prejudice, rumours can cause a great deal of harm to the individual who is being targeted. Rumors can easily obscure the truth about a person because they are basically lies, opinions, and incorrect observations about the individual in question. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Boo Radley is the prime example of an individual who has suffered from this form of prejudice. As young children, Jem and Scout Finch are led to believe that Boo Radley is a horrifying bogeyman. Unfortunately, their opinion of him has been influenced by the widespread accepted beliefs of Maycomb. A few examples of these beliefs are, “People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows. When people’s azaleas froze, it was because he had breathed on them” (10). In reality, none of these rumours hold any truth whatsoever. In fact, Arthur (Boo) Radley isn’t only a victim of prejudice; his own insane family held him prisoner for years. Despite his traumatizing experiences, through his actions in the book, readers learn that Boo is actually a very good person. In fact, Harper Lee compares him to a mockingbird throughout the story because of his efforts to help Jem and Scout. Eventually, Arthur even saves Jem and Scout when Bob Ewell attempts to murder both of them. In the final consideration, Boo Radley’s situation proves rumours to be an extremely harmful form of prejudice.
In addition to rumours***, racism causes people to lose all compassion and empathy for their fellow human beings. Being a typical southern town during the Great Depression, Maycomb is a society where racism against African-Americans is rampant. Atticus proves this when he says, “Why people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand” (117). The citizens of Maycomb exhibit this behavior when Atticus is asked to defend Tom Robinson, an African-American who has been accused of rape. Unfortunately, there is only one possible solution for the trial, and Tom Robinson is convicted. Even though the prosecution has no credible evidence, Robinson’s race is enough for the jury to convict him. Atticus even states that a colored man’s word is useless against the word of a white man (295). To make matters worse, Tom attempts to escape from prison; unfortunately, the decision ends his life. Overall, racism is a form of prejudice that undermines every aspect of humanity and causes human beings to judge others with contempt.
When it comes to another person’s beliefs, prejudice is rampant. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch and his children are exposed to this form of prejudice before and during Tom Robinson’s trial. Instead of succumbing to the hatred and bias Maycomb exhibits toward Negroes, Atticus chooses to do the right thing. Atticus states his opinion when he says, “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men everyday…whenever a white man does that to a black man no matter who he is…that white man is trash” (295). As a result of their beliefs, the Finches are criticized ruthlessly by their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, this criticism turns into violence when Bob Ewell decides to act on his grudge against Atticus. However, instead of going after Atticus, Bob Ewell decides to attack Jem and Scout. Fortunately, Arthur Radley intervenes and prevents the murder of both children. In the final analysis, To Kill a Mockingbird shows readers how people can be utterly ruthless when judging another person’s beliefs
Throughout human history, prejudice has caused more strife and violence than almost anything else. Despite mankind’s advances, prejudice and discrimination still undermine civilization. In fact, the capability to destroy other human beings through contempt and bias has remained largely the same for thousands of years. Sometimes children can be deprived of their innocence with the horrors of prejudice which is true in the case of Jem and Scout. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee shows readers just how damaging prejudice really is when it is caused by rumours, race, and another man’s beliefs.
Normally, you would not use a quote in the introduction.
***Good link to previous paragraph
By Cullen Knowles

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