Integrity in To Kill a Mockingbird
Uploaded by anotherweezerfan on Mar 30, 2002
Believe it or not, individuals have trouble seeing black from white. Mankind has the ability to develop an immoral sense of integrity suited to their needs, yet morally accept their sense of integrity. The author of To Kill a Mockingbird illustrates this illusion portrayed by a Southern society. By using a 1930’s Southern point-of-view, Harper Lee demonstrates that integrity not only has the power to unite humankind, but to divide humankind as well.
The setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, in a small Alabama community is constructed from the contradictions of Christianity and prejudice. Through prejudice and bigotry, the Southern society builds a strong sense of integrity that masks their immoral prejudice. The Southern culture of Maycomb derives from the antebellum culture of Christianity and slavery. The morals of slavery greatly clashed with the morals of Christianity. While Southerners desperately needed slavery, they also needed to maintain their Christian sense of integrity that stated all of humankind must be treated according to the laws of God. To mask the immorality of prejudice, Southern society classified Negroes as not human, but of an inferior race. Incapable of confronting their immoral sense of prejudice, Southern culture permitted a sense of integrity based on this deception. This occurs in all prejudiced senses of integrity and is a powerful dividing force of mankind. The community of Maycomb is built from this sense of integrity. Several events in To Kill a Mockingbird indicates that the community holds this immoral integrity.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, it is apparent that the prejudiced sense of integrity is very strong in the town of Maycomb. After Mr. Radley shoots at an unknown figure in his backyard, (being Jem) he says, “got another barrel waiting for the next sound I hear in that patch, dog or nigger.” By denying Negro’s humanity, and neglecting the rights all humans should possess, Bradley draws a strong line between blacks and whites. The white society of Maycomb constructs a caste system, which has a degrading effect to the community. This prejudiced sense of integrity has a huge impact on society: it divides humankind.
To Kill a Mockingbird illustrates that a prejudiced society strongly oppresses individuals who are affiliated with Negro’s in a positive light. Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, the community of Maycomb continuously antagonizes Atticus, because he has gave a Negro the same rights as whites. Mrs. Dubose “Not only a Finch...