Jim Crow Laws in to Kill a Mockingbird
Whites Rise, Blacks Fall
“Not only a Finch waiting on tables, however one in the courthouse lawing for n ***** s!” (135 ). This is an insult clearly stated by Mrs. Dubose, an imaginary character presented by Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird. It appears from Mrs. Dubose’s statement that blacks are victimized in Maycomb County, Lee’s imaginary setting situated in Alabama. The “Jim Crow” laws cause the inequality in the Maycomb neighborhood. The laws keep Negros from having the exact same rights as white residents: “She went to the front deck … she’s supposed to walk around in back” (124 ).
Scout, another imaginary character developed by Lee, is mentioning this. She is describing the point that their black cook, Calpurnia, is going to the front door of a neighbor’s home instead of the back. The “Jim Crow” laws plainly discuss that no Negro is supposed to go to the front of a white male’s house; blacks need to knock and enter from the back.
Lee illustrates that the racial “Jim Crow” laws enforce partition on social treatment to blacks and n *****-enthusiasts in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Negroes are considered as trash due to the influence of the “Jim Crow” laws. Mrs. Dubose mentions “Your father is no better than the n*****s and trash he works for!” to Scout one afternoon. (135). At this point in the story, Scout is almost accustomed to having insults thrown at her, but this is the first one from a mature adult. (136). Due to the “Jim Crow” laws, blacks and people who try to restore a bit of equality are given ghastly names. Atticus, another fictitious character of Lee and is also Scout’s father, tells Scout that “n*****-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything–like snot-nose…ignorant , trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody” (144). Negroes and white citizens who do not discriminate against blacks are given the nicknames “n*****s” and “n*****-lovers”. Those who try to make life better for a colored citizen are victimized along with the blacks. “… now he’s turned out a n*****-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again” (110) Most of the white population gets to be inhumane whenever blacks are mentioned in a discussion. Atticus does not get “why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up” (117). Many colored citizens do not receive any education because of the “Jim Crow” laws. “Atticus said that Calpurnia had more education than most colored folks” (32) Due to the “Jim Crow” laws, the whites preside and discriminate against the Negros for a very long and dreary period.
In Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, there is concrete evidence of the effect of the “Jim Crow” laws on her fictional characters and setting. The blacks in the story are bullied by most of the white population. The segregating laws prevent education for the blacks and regular day-to-day privileges that whites receive. Most of all, the “Jim Crow” laws counteract fairness and equality.
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