To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is first of all a denunciation of discrimination and stereotypes towards the African American race in the South of the United States during the Great Depression. However, on a closer look, it is also a book against prejudice in general, like the prejudice against Mrs.
Dubose or Boo Radley. The end message of the book is one against any kind of prejudice: you have to get to know a person before you judge the person. So, in other words, do not judge a book by its cover. Another message is that men have a terrible weakness, which is to hurt harmless creatures: one does not kill a mockingbird. The mockingbirds of the book can be identified as Tom Robinson and Boo Radley and in a way Mayella Ewell, too. 1: Racism: At the trial we find out that Tom did not harm Mayella, but he ran away.
Since she liked him and it is forbidden for a white to like a black, she sent him to his death rather than lose her reputation or confront her father’s fury. Even if Tom was innocent and didn’t hurt anybody he still died only because he was Black. 2. Prejudice: Boo Radley is labeled a “ malevolent ghost”, because he leads a mysterious life behind closed doors, therefore people tend to misjudge him. In fact he is a sensitive and kind character, for example he put gifts in the tree hole for Jem and Scout; he covers Scout with a blanket during the fire of Mrs.
Maudie’s house without revealing himself because he knew he would scare her; he saves Jem from Mr. Ewell and brings him home. When Jem and Scout pass by Mrs. Dubose’s house they always see her as a rude old lady. One day she asks Jem to read for her, and Jem notices that she is having feats while he is reading.
Atticus explains Jem that she is trying to become independent from the drug she taking, morphine, and that is how her body reacts, with feats. So when Mrs. Dubose dies, she dies “ as free as the mountain air” and Jem now understands why Atticus describes her as real “ lady”. 3. Violence against the harmless ones: Mayella has always made an effort to run the house and herself as best as she can, she looks like an innocent young lady who has had to bear her father’s beating all her life. Mayella is an easy victim of her father’s ignorance and violence.
Boo is also a victim of his family and of the community. His father first, and then his elder brother kept him indoors and forbid any communication with the outer world. For this matter people started having prejudices about him. This is the reason why sheriff Tate does not want to expose Boo for Mr Ewell’s death, he wants to protect him from the crowd:” taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight – to me, that’s a sin.”(369, 370)