Understanding in To Kill a Mockingbird
“Knowledge will forever govern lack of knowledge and a people who suggest to be their own governors must equip themselves with the power which understanding gives” (Madison). Understanding brings enormous power as it has the ability to prevent the ignorance put by society. This ignorance has actually been a longstanding problem from slavery until now. About 60 years after the abolition of slavery, extreme racial segregation continued to occur in the South. During then, the Great Anxiety resulted in a duration of poverty and joblessness that was rapidly followed by the Scottsboro Trials in 1931, in which nine boys were wrongly convicted of rape. These false accusations were formed by the racial bias as African- American’s were commonly towered above. This prejudice is the motivation of the plot and style of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird where primary lead characters Jem and Scout experience the prejudice that occurs in the imaginary town, Maycomb County. The 2 together with their friend, Dill Harris, very first tease Boo Radley while he secretly interacts with them while Calpurnia and Atticus teach them lessons. Their daddy, Atticus, gets a brand-new case to defend the falsely founded guilty Tom Robinson for rape. Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout but Boo Radley kills him to secure the kid. With this in mind, Harper Lee states that prejudice arises from the lack of knowledge of society, but the option is the empathy that emerges from knowledge.
The prejudgment of others is unavoidable and prejudice spreads due to differences in race and gender. Prejudice is easily spread out so when Scout asks Mrs. Maudie why she must kill each weed, Mrs. Maudie responds, “‘Why one sprig of nutgrass can destroy an entire lawn Look here When it comes fall this dries up and the wind blows it all over Maycomb County!'” (Lee 42). The nutgrass symbolizes bias since it is unwanted but also unavoidable simply as how prejudice is undesirable and harmful and yet it is always present. It just takes one distinction to trigger prejudice, which even more shows how prejudice can be common, but it is tough to eliminate. Mrs. Maudie experiences bias towards her garden since she is a lady. She is not prejudiced and has excellent morals yet she is still evaluated based upon her gender. This quote even more shows the theme of prejudice by emphasizing how there is very little required for bias to occur, yet it is tough to eliminate. This prejudice also occurs multiple times as race. As Atticus leaves for an emergency situation session in the state legislature, Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to her mainly African-American comprised church in which “Negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white males gambled in it on weekdays” (Lee 118). This is paradoxical since blacks are seen as unethical while the whites are viewed as excellent. However, in this case blacks are the ones going to church as they have good values, while the whites dedicating an unethical act by betting. This connects to the trial with Tom Robinson and Mr. Ewell.
Although it has been proven that Tom might not have actually assaulted Mayella, the final judgment of the jury is formed solely from Tom and Mr. Ewell’s differences in race. This quote even more shows the theme of bias by demonstrating how one often forms a judgment toward others with no knowledge about the individual itself. The prejudgment is emphasized after the trial when Jem asks Atticus why they mistakenly implicated Tom Robinson. Atticus reacts, “‘They’ve done it before and they did it this evening and they’ll do it again and when they do it appears that only children weep'” (Lee 213). The repeating of “they’ve done it” with different tenses stresses that bias exists and inevitable, as it has happened in the past, present, and future. Just the children weep since just they comprehend the prejudice that is going on. They have not contaminated by prejudice so they still consist of the empathy that all children have while the adults of Maycomb have grown to accept the prejudice since they have actually coped with it for their entire lives. Prejudice is always present as it will never be completely eliminated due to the unavoidable pre judgments of others. One will form judgements from gender and racial differences, which will inevitably trigger more bias.
These misguided judgments and the resistance to alter arise from the absence of knowledge towards one’s distinctions. This lack of knowledge is highlighted by the refusal to accept change when Scout gives a description of Maycomb’s setting, “Maycomb was an old town however it was an exhausted old town when I initially understood it” (Lee 5). Maycomb personifies the feeling of fatigue, recommending that it’s residents have actually resisted change for very long time as they live dull and regular based lives. The people do not completely understand the world outside of Maycomb and the opportunities for enhancement, as the town is old and stagnant. Maycomb’s resistance to change is understood by Mr. Raymond who comprehends that these individuals are raised with prejudice so you can not force one to alter if they are not prepared. Those who are resistant to change show ignorance as only know the environment they reside in, ignorant of the potential for modification. Similarly, the lack of knowledge to recognize change connects to the ignorance towards others. When Atticus informs Jem and Scout to not shoot mockingbirds, Mrs. Maudie agrees and mentions that it is sin to eliminate a mockingbird since “‘They don’t consume people’s gardens don’t nest in corncribs they do not do something however sing their hearts out for us'” (Lee 90). Mockingbirds represent innocence as they only make others happy, simply as how there is only happiness in innocence. For that reason, the killing of innocence reveals the ignorance when one prefers prejudice over innocence due to an absence of understanding. It resembles Tom Robinson’s trial due to the fact that he only helped others and caused no problem. Nevertheless, because of the jury’s lack of knowledge towards his scenario, Tom Robinson is eliminated by the racial prejudice of society. Throughout the novel, the inability to comprehend others triggers prejudice to grow. The lack of understanding and empathy towards one’s character causes one to form judgments based upon race or gender.
Regardless of the prejudice that comes from the lack of understanding, knowledge overthrows lack of knowledge through compassion. Understanding can be gained through empathizing others. When Scout explains her occurrences with Mrs. Caroline and Burris Ewell, Atticus mentions that “You never really understand a person till you consider things his viewpoint– till you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30). This aphorizes that the compassion towards another is acquired through the knowledge of one’s actions in one’s own circumstance. The brand-new point of view of another person’s condition replaces the racial prejudice that is recommended by “skin”. When Scout stands on Boo Radley’s deck, she sees the bias of Maycomb from his perspective and understands why he picks to stay inside. One’s lack of knowledge toward others will continue to grow till one changes that ignorance with empathy. As soon as knowledge is gained, the lack of knowledge of society is acknowledged. As the kids go to the courtroom balcony to view the trial, “Four Negroes increased and provide us their front-row seatsfrom it we could see everything” (Lee 164). The terrace is represents understanding because the blacks in the front can see the entire trial just as how they comprehend true justice and bias. With their understanding, they do not step in with the bias since they understand that Maycomb is not prepared for modification. The whites down below do not have a complete deem they are too ignorant to realize that they prejudiced themselves. Relating back to the white males betting in church throughout the weekdays, the whites are ignorant that they are devoting a wicked act, while the black men can differentiate good and bad morals. Those with knowledge conquer the ignorance that came with the prejudgment of others.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, the empathy that arises from knowledge solves the racial bias triggered by ignorance. Lee argues that differences in race creates the prejudgments of others and causes prejudice to spread. These misdirected judgments are a direct result from the absence of knowledge towards the distinctions of each other. Nevertheless, understanding will resolve both ignorance and racial bias through empathy. Like so, Madison mentions that understanding has authority over all. To Kill a Mockingbird sends an engaging message that individuals must utilize that understanding to avoid the prejudice that will continue for the lots of generations to come.