The Existence of Social Inequality

Social Inequality, one of the book’s major themes and the development on how Scout and Jem changed their view towards the people of Maycomb. From the Cunninghams to Tom Robinson, majority of the people did not tolerate their way of living or who they were, they were at the bottom of their community. There would be a social system where people would be categorized as being at the top, or at the bottom. Depending on who you were, how you lived, or what type of race you were. Farmers and the poor would rest at the bottom, the Cunninghams and the Ewells. However, blacks lie beneath them for the color of their skin and the discrimination that they receive. Throughout this book, Tom Robinson was accused of rape when he was innocent but was given guilty because he was black. Also, on how Aunt Alexandra did not accept the fact of Scout inviting Walter Cunningham for dinner because he and his family were considered to be trash and not at their level. Or the expectation of blacks being less than whites and people not accepting whites and blacks being together as one when in the end they are all human beings. This made Scout and Jem realize that people are not what they are expected to be, as in supporting and getting along with each other as that is what Atticus had taught them.There is always an existence of inequality in society, but it’s not good to go and discriminate someone until you step inside their shoes and walk around in them.


Does Heck Tate think an injustice was done to Tom Robinson?

As we know Tom was said to be guilty, due to discrimination, and died by getting shot seventeen times. Mr. Tate thought it was unfair for this boy, ” There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead.”(Lee 276) Mr. Tate , the towns sheriff, admitted that Tom was innocent and had died for no apparent reason due to the unfairness of the jury. Heck Tate knew it was Bob Ewell who had committed the crime of abusing Mayella and also his fault in which Tom was convicted and then killed. Bob Ewell was the one responsible for Tom’s death , but Tom was recognized for his innocence. Tom’s injustice was similar to the Scottsboro Case, ” The case included a frame up, and all-white jury, rushed trials, an attempted lynching, an angry mob, and is an example of an overall miscarriage of justice.”(Unknown 17) Both were tried with a jury full of whites in which they gave the boys guilty for the inequality they have between each other. Of course some whites think it’s not fair and can not do anything about it but to just sit and wait for something good to happen. This also happened to young George Stinney and Richard Dieter had said,” race and other unjust factors determine who is sentenced to death.”(Starr 1) It’s sad to see young black men get sentenced or being told that they are guilty for something they have not done.For the men on juries not having the courage to defend a colored man just because of his skin and making them die along with their innocence.What the jury had done to Tom was a unfair, but people knew and believed that he was innocent despite his skin color.

Lee, H. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“The Scottsboro Case” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion.March 2014:p.print

Starr, Jermaine T. “Executed At 14: George Stinney’s Birthday Reminds Us That The Death Penalty Must End” October 19,2012 (web) May 5

Why was Tom already considered to be a dead man?

Tom Robinson was guilty for an injustice that was done to him, raping a white women.However, most people already knew,” Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.”(Lee 241) When a black man and a white lady are together and she starts to scream, it was expected of him to have caused harm to her. Majority of the people already knew he was going to be guilty by the fact that he is black and any white person’s word is better than his. Tom had no chance in having his word believed by the jury over Bob and Mayella’s. Also, since the trial took place in Alabama he would face serious consequences, “sentenced to death, the common sentence in Alabama at the time for black men convicted of raping white women.”(Unknown 17) It was common in Maycomb for blacks to be given the verdict of guilty even after evidence was clearly told, no colored man was ever innocent.Tom was going to be dead any way , not even needing a trial to determine it. Mayella’s scream was all it needed. A woman’s word defeats a man’s word, ” It’s been like 20 years and I didn’t do the crime. They just threw it together, took her word over mine, Hill said. Now I’m free.”(Simerman 1) Back then when people in juries had a case of rape they tend to always believe the woman than the man since they seem so vulnerable. Men were expected to be respectful and a gentlemen towards a woman but not too good with them especially talking about black men.Blacks would already be sentenced with innocence by just looking at the color of their skin.

Lee, H. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York;Warner books, 1982.print

“The Scottsboro Case” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion March 2014:p.print

Simerman, J.”Innocent man accused of rape freed by DNA after 20 years” April 27,2012,(web) May 4

Why does Aunt Alexandra not approve of young Walter Cunningham?

Young Walter Cunningham is the son of Walter Cunningham and are one of the poorest family’s in Maycomb. Scout one day wants to invite Walter for dinner, but Aunt Alexandra seems not so sure , ” Jean Louise, there is no doubt in my mind that they’re good folks. But they’re not our kind of folks.” (Lee 224) Since the Cunningham’s are poor and the Finches are at a “higher class”, Aunt Alexandra wants nothing to do with others who lie beneath her. Or at least with people who have no background. Also, she does not want Scout to catch Walter’s “bad habits” since Scout is already a problem enough to Atticus. The Cunninghams being farmers were the reason why they were at the bottom, ” Farmers were caught in a depression of their own that had extended through much of the 1920’s.” (Taylor 7) The Cunninghams had the great depression hit them the hardest loosing their land and equipment for farming. Also, they did not accept anything from others in which they can not return. However, them being poor didn’t make them bad people instead they were good to others. Alexandra describes them as run-off-the-mill people, who are ordinary, which is not acceptable to her. In addition to the no background, it would also depend on the type of person you are on the outside, ” Classism says that upper class people are smarter and more articulate than working class and poor people.” (Warnock & Briggs 1) Since in Aunt Alexandra’s mind her family is at a high point , that makes her smarter and more fluent dominating the poor such as the Cunninghams. Portraying the low class to be insignificant and dumb in their community. Having a good background and education does indeed get you something good, but what really matters is your way of being and the hard work you put into life.

Lee,H. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“The Great Depression” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion, March 2014:p.print

Warnock,D. & Briggs, L. ” Confronting Classism” n.d (web) April 26

How does Mayella’s status affect her relationship with others?

Mayella is the daughter of Bob Ewell meaning they’re the Ewells, the trash of Maycomb. Mayella is a nineteen year old white girl who is an outcast in Maycomb , ” White people wouldn’t have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldn’t have anything to do with her because she was white.” (Lee 192)Whites knew her way of living and decided not be involved with her. At the time , folks did not want anything to do with lower class individuals because they were not at the same level. Blacks did not want anything to do with Mayella because they would be accused of something wrong for the reason that she is white. Mayella lives almost like the majority of people in the Great Depression where ” Many more lived at the edges of cities in makeshift shantytowns.” (Taylor 7)The Great Depression was a bit active at the time in which Mayella lives in the back of the town’s garbage and also does not have an education. Mayella lives with her abusive father and has to take care of the children, some even feel sorry for the condition that she is in. People wanted to be around others who look and live nicely also those with educational manners.Of course that is what society looks for,classism, “Classism is also held in place by a system of beliefs which ranks people according to economic status, job and level of education.” (Donna & Laura 1) Status is the key part of your life in how you are in society. In making friends and getting along with others. Your way of living relies on how you are looked and treated by your community.

Lee, H. To Kill A Mockingbird.New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“The Great Depression” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion March 2014:p.print

Warnock, D. & Briggs, L. ” Confronting Classism” n.d.(web) April 26

Why is it that Mr. Dolphus Raymond prefers colored people than white people?

People tend to want to be with people in which they feel most comfortable with and have more respect towards. Others have no reason and choose to be with different people like Mr. Raymond, “Why’s he sittin’ with the colored folks?” Always does. He likes ’em better’n he likes us.” (Lee 161) For Mr. Raymond being a white man, it was odd for some people to see him being with colored folks in addition to having a colored women and mixed children. Maybe having the thought that he chose to be with them since he finds them to be more caring and gentle than the whites. In which he also might think of the whites to being rude and disrespectful to colored folks when they are just the same. Like in the Jim Crow laws as said, ” Rice and his imitators, by their stereotypical depictions of blacks, helped to popularize the belief that blacks were lazy, stupid, inherently less human, and unworthy of integration.” (Unknown 9) Rice was a white person who portrayed blacks as being something negative in society. While Mr. Raymond thinking the opposite and maybe even wanting to be one of the colored folks. Some people were not on board with the situation of being with their same race all the time. If that was the case then individuals should be with who ever they want to be with no matter who they are. As said once by Martin Luther King Jr. “King believed that black and white people should resist laws that they thought unjust. ” (Unknown 1) If whites wanted to be with blacks for their character then go for it since there is nothing wrong about it, same thing with blacks. Mr. Raymond’s decision of preferring blacks over whites may be to show that he is different from the rest and has more interest in colored folks , or maybe because he simply likes them.


Lee, H. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“Who was Jim Crow” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion, March 2014:p.print

Unknown ” I Have a Dream” n.d (web) April 9

Why did it bother Lula when Scout and Jem went to Calpurnia’s church?

It was not common for whites and blacks to be in the same area without disrespecting one another. In addition, it was rare for whites to be going to black people’s territory. Like in the situation of Scout and Jem when Lula said, ” You ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here — they got their church , we got our’n. It is our church , ain’t it , Miss Cal?” (Lee 119) Since Scout and Jem were white and Lula was black, it would be expected for them to go to their own church instead of Cal’s which was full of blacks. In addition to them being white, Lula might of thought that Scout and Jem were going to discriminate them for the reason that whites and blacks do not get along. Instead, Scout and Jem were both fascinated and delighted to go to Calpurnia’s church with no need of distinguishing anybody.However, since they were at the time of racial segregation majority were accustomed to be apart, ” There were separate hospitals for blacks and whites, separate prisons, separate public and private schools, separate churches, separate cemeteries, separate public restrooms, and separate public accommodations.”(Unknown 11) People found this to be a normal thing, some thought it was the best for everyone. Some individuals violated the rule of being separated and decided to be where they wanted to be. Take Homer A. Plessy for example in which he “challenged that city’s right to segregate public transportation by riding in a Whites Only rail car.” (Unknown 1) He did not follow the rule of separation and thought that everyone had equal rights and should not be looked at differently. People have no need to judge anyone by their race and their decision of where or what environment they desire to be in.

Lee, H. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“What was Jim Crow” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction reading companion. March 2014:p.print

Unknown ” Brown v. Board at Fifty ” With an Even Hand” n.d (web) April 8

Is it okay for Atticus to defend Tom Robinson?

Most of the folks in Maycomb are not satisfied with Atticus having to defend Tom, including the family which think it is a wrong decision. One thinks it is a disgrace as Francis says, ” but now he’s turned out a nigger-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb agin. He’s ruinin’ the family, that’s what he’s doin’.” ( Lee 83) Since Tom Robinson is a black person who is at the low class and Atticus at a pretty decent class, as most would say , find it odd for Atticus to be defending him when they were at the time of racial segregation. However, there is completely nothing wrong with supporting Tom because he is a human being like the rest of the people in Maycomb. Atticus of course is aware of his people not approving his decision ,but chooses to still take a stand for Tom which he thinks is the right thing to do. Also, Atticus is not against blacks and treats Tom as any other person, as said once, ” all men are basically alike, with common aspirations, fears, and problems.” (Connie 16)Nobody has the right to disapprove of a case when people do not know the full story and discriminating one for their race. Whites and blacks are equally the same but have a hard time facing reality.Atticus either way as a lawyer has to defend him as one lawyer said ” Our function is not to judge, or impose our sensibilities or morality, but to defend.”(Kindley 1)One as a lawyer has to defend every client that comes toward them and be there for them no matter what. Even if it takes to be discriminated by others. Defending someone that is lower than you is not really a bad thing, in fact it makes you stand up for what you think is the good thing to do.


Lee ,H. To Kill A Mockingbird . New York; Warner books, 1982.print

“How a Southerner Licked Intolerance” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction Reading Companion, March 2014:p.print

Kindley, John “How could you defend someone you know is guilty?” November 24, 2009 (web) March 28

Why were blacks expected to be less than whites?

Racial Segregation played a part in the novel, having whites view blacks as less individuals. Where people of color are suppose to serve to whites, as Jem suggested to Miss Maudie ” Why don’t you get a colored man?”(Lee 74) Blacks are being portrayed as vulnerable individuals who can not please themselves, but only to others. Their skin color is what determines the way that they should be treated. They are also being seen to only do minor jobs ,” They mowed lawns, “took in washing,” shined shoes, did all the menial jobs.”(Connie 14) These people were seen as slaves and to obey their owners , whites. They were taken to be dumb and useless for anything big in society. Whites did not ever picture a black person being a professional worker like they were. They were expected to take orders from one individual or just be an outdoor worker. Some say the color of our skin says a lot about our future ,”the notion that a particular skin color signaled one’s status as a human being.”(Jeffries 1)For the reason blacks had colored skin , everyone was suppose to treat them like trash. All because of what people thought they were suppose to be viewed as.People have no right to treat others less just because of the color of their skin.


Lee , H. To Kill A Mockingbird.New York: Warner books, 1982.print

“How a Southerner Licked Intolerance” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction Reading Companion, March 2014: p.print

Jeffries, Shavar. “Stigma, Status and Expectations” The New York Times Company March 13, 2012 (web) March 26

How did The Great Depression contribute to people being so poor like the Cunninghams and Ewells?

The Great Depression had a great impact on millions leaving them with no jobs and left at the bottom of the social system. Having the Cunninghams and Ewells as an example to the point where Scout asks her father, “Are we poor ,Atticus?” (Lee 21) The Cunninghams and Ewells were represented as the poorest in Maycomb. Since the novel was taken place during the time of the great depression, the Cunninghams got affected the most since they were farmers. While Atticus being a lawyer, he is still considered to be poor for the reason that farmers were too.In addition to the great depression it was said that ” millions were homeless, farmers also lost their land and equipment to foreclosure.” (Taylor 7) Many were considered to be at the low class for not having a job or a house . This situation made half of the people go into poverty because each job depended on one another.Although that was not the case most of the time, “Many rich people felt no impact at all, and were oblivious to the suffering of others.”(unknown 1) Of course not everyone was affected in the same way, since these rich people were at the top of everyone , high class. Not even bothering or caring of what is happening to the ones who lie beneath them. The Great Depression played a big role in people’s lives from their way of living to where they are categorized in society.


Lee,H. To Kill A Mockingbird.New York;Warner books, 1982.print

“The Great Depression” To Kill A Mockingbird nonfiction Reading Companion, March 2014:p.print

“The Great Depression” n.d. web March 26