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Racism in Two Literary Works

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Racism in Two Literary Works
Racism is a social injustice that needs to be addressed (Maxwell, 445). The novel by Harper Lee,
To Kill a Mockingbird, depicts the theme of racism which will be discussed in this paper. The
analysis will also discuss racism in the poem by Francis Duggan; Racism is Around Me
Everywhere. Therefore, this analysis will compare and contrast the two-literary works to identify
how the two authors bring out the theme of racism.
Racism in the Novel
The theme, racism, comes later in the novel when Scout’s father who is a lawyer takes a case
involving a Black man known as Tom. He is accused of raping and beating a young girl. “Mr.
Ewell said that a black man raped his girl” (Lee, 51). As a result, Finch family is criticized. For
instance, Jem and Scout, get taunted because of their father’s action. However, Finch knows that
Tom is innocent and hence insists on defending him. It shows that racism is common in this
society. If Tom were a White man, Finchs family would not have been criticized. Therefore,
Harper Lee describes how Finch and his family is treated after taking Tom’s case to bring out the
theme of racism.
Lee also uses the theme of discrimination against Tom to bring out racism. The evidence shows
that Tom is innocent. It is discovered that Tom did not beat and rape Mayella. However, despite
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that the provided evidence portrays Tom is innocent, eventually he was wrongly convicted. The
Court had a White Jury which means that Tom had no chance because of his skin color. As a result
of the influence of the White Jury, Tom is found guilty. It shows how Black people get deprived
justice because of their skin color. Tom was right handed while Mr. Ewell was left-handed.
Therefore, this should have disqualified the case against Tom” (Lee, 54). Additionally, Lee brings
out the theme of racism by describing the effect the verdict had on three children, Scout, Jem, and
Drill. According to the author, the kids are shocked by the verdict. Consequently, Jem feels that
his trust in the rationality and goodness of humanity is betrayed. Therefore, racism not only affects
its victims but also those who witness it (Lowe et al., 190).
Lee shows how dangerous racism can become. For instance, Mr. Ewell felt humiliated by
Finch even after Tom s found guilty. “Mr. Ewell thought that Finch was taking advantage of him.”
(Lee, 55). As a result, he decides to revenge by attempting to kill Jem and Scout. In the process,
Jem breaks his arm before the two kids are helped by Boo Radley. If Mr. Ewell were not racist, he
would not have attempted to kill Finchs kids. It indicates that racism can have adverse
consequences to people. It creates hatred and can result in violence and deaths (Jackson, 34).
Racism in the Poem
From the beginning of the poem, the title, Francis Duggan brings out the theme of racism. The
author also uses rhyming words to indicate that racism surrounds him. For instance, in the second
verse, the third and fourth line, the author depicts that White people feel superior as a result, they
differentiate and discriminate individuals from other races. The author also indicates that people
are judged based on their skin color and their origin. In the poem, Duggan mentions Martin Luther
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King in the fifth verse, first line. He portrays him as an individual who fought against racism.
Finally, the author indicates that racism cases war and division in the sixth verse, third line.
There are similarities in the way the two authors bring out the theme of racism. For instance, the
two-literary works acknowledge that racism exists in the society. Harper Lee describes that people
criticize Finch and his family because he chooses to defend a Black man. Duggan also indicates
that racism exists in the society by stating that it surrounds him. The two-literary works also
indicated that people get discriminated because of their skin color. In To Kill a Mockingbird,
Lee describes that Finch knew that Tom did not stand a chance in a Court where the jury was
White. On the other hand, in the fourth verse, third line, Duggan, states that judgement was offered
on the basis of the skin color.
The two-literary works also indicate that racism can have adverse consequences on people.
Lee depicts this by describing how Mr. Ewell wanted to take revenge on Finch for defending Tom
and humiliating him. As a result, he decided to kill Finchs children. In as much as he did not
succeed, Jem broke his arm in the process of the attack. On the other hand, Duggan states that that
the consequence of racism is war and division in the sixth verse, third line. Another similarity is
that the two-literary works include one individual who stands up against racism. In Lee’s literature,
Atticus Finch takes Tom’s case and defends him before a white jury. On the other hand, Duggan
mentions Martin Luther King in the fifth verse who strived to fight racism. Therefore, from the
discussion, it is evident that there are similarities in the way that the authors in the two-literary
works bring out the theme of racism.
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The two-literary works also differ in bringing out the theme of racism. For instance, in To
Kill a Mockingbird, the theme of racism comes later in the novel. However, in the poem by Francis
Duggan, the theme of Racism can be seen from the title of the poem. Another difference is that
Lee indicates that racism occurs to people based on their skin color. On the other hand, apart from
skin color, Duggan also states that racism can occur based on people's origin. In To Kill a
Mockingbird, Lee indicates the effect that racism has on those who witness it. However, Duggan
does not mention this in his poem. Duggan also indicates, in the sixth verse, that ignorance is what
causes racism. Lee, on the other hand, does not show this in his novel. Therefore, the two-literary
works differ in the way that the theme of racism is expressed.
To conclude, the similarities in which the two-literary works bring out the theme of racism
which include an individual who fights against the vice, the consequences of racisms, and
discrimination based on people’s skin color. The two-literary works also acknowledge that racism
is present in the society. However, the literary works differ in some ways. For instance, in the
novel, the theme of racism comes later on while in the poem it comes from the beginning to the
end. Apart from skin color, the poem also indicates that racism is based on one’s origin. The poem
omits the effects of racism on those who witness while the novel indicates that racism can affect
those who witness it. Finally, the poem highlights ignorance as a cause of racism. On the other
hand, ignorance is not indicated as a cause of racism.
Essay’s Outline
1. Introduction
2. Racism in the novel
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3. Racism in the poem
4. Discussion
5. Conclusion
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Works cited
Jackson III, B. W. "Black identity development." CL Wijeyesinghe & B. W. Jackson, III. New
perspectives on racial identity development: Integrating emerging frameworks (2012): 33-50.
Lee, Harper. "To kill a mockingbird." Litigation (1990): 68-58.
Lowe, Susana Ming, Yuki Okubo, and Michael F. Reilly. "A qualitative inquiry into racism,
trauma, and coping: Implications for supporting victims of racism." Professional Psychology:
Research and Practice 43.3 (2012): 190.
Maxwell, Morgan, et al. "What’s color got to do with it? Skin color, skin color satisfaction, racial
identity, and internalized racism among African American college students." Journal of Black
Psychology 41.5 (2015): 438-461.

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