Social Alienation Over Time

Feb 21, 2016
by: eaglej19

In the book To Kill A Mockingbird (TKAM) by Harper Lee, there are many social injustices exposed and discussed about the 1930s. The focus of this paper will be comparing the racism and segregation of that time to the racism of today. These social injustices of the 1930s were greater than now because of the biased courtroom, the prosecuted lynching, and the idea that every black man is a bad man.

First of all, there is clearly an extremely biased courtroom in TKAM, based on the fact that even though most of the evidence points to Bob Ewell as the liar (like everybody else on his side, Jem thought “we’re gonna win Scout. I don’t see how we can’t.”(p.270)), Tom Robinson is sentenced to death. Nowadays however, if a case like this happened there would’ve been even more evidence against Bob Ewell (ex. DNA, surveillance video, etc.) and because the majority of people these days are not consciously racist, the jury, we can almost certainly say, would have acquitted Tom Robinson.

The next thing that was way more extreme in the 1930s was the uncontrolled lynching that was not prosecuted in any way. The men in the lynch mob in TKAM had nothing to fear from the law, while anybody who kills a black man nowadays is prosecuted or at the very least at the center of a large controversy, even though the killer might have done the exact same thing if it had been a white man. As one of the men shows Atticus in the lynch mob scene, even the good cops could be sent off on a wild goose chase and leave the mob to do whatever they wanted. In the present however, even if the police missed the actual lynching, they would conduct a full criminal investigation and do their best to prosecute the murderer to the extent of the law.

Finally, the presumption that all dark skinned men are liars and cheats has, in the majority of cases, evolved its way out of today’s society. Anyone who assumes the worst of blacks gets judged as a person without a brain. In the 1930s however this change had not happened yet, so a large portion of the white population thought of themselves as better than blacks as Atticus states in his final comments to the courtroom in the movie. Bob Ewell uses this fact to set up a case that he knows he can win by putting the black man in the position of evildoer.

Social alienation has definitely changed over time, and in the general and literal sense of the word, it has gotten better for everybody. People who kill blacks are prosecuted, we know all black people are not bad (some are good and some bad, just like everybody else), and as a result of this the courtroom is no longer biased against black people. The world may never stop having racist people and a minority of biased groups, but the world as a whole is evolving into a new era of societal equality for black and white men.

Rest in Peace Mrs. Harper Lee