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Stand Your Ground Essay, Research Paper

Stand Your Ground

If a person today is asked to do something that he or she may not like to do and they say no, they may be looked down upon. Not only does this happen today, but it also was true in the early 1900?s. It is just not fair when people stand up for what their mind feels is right, such as Atticus does in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, that they are looked down upon and harassed. Atticus tries to teach his children to stand up for what is right throughout the novel. One night Atticus was talking with Jem and said, ??As you grow older, you?ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don?t you forget it-whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.??1 Atticus taught and also practiced what he felt was right.

One night while Atticus was guarding the jailhouse where Tom Robinson was staying, a group of men confronted him about the whereabouts of Tom. One of the men said to Atticus, ??You know what we want?get aside from the door, Mr. Finch?? (162). Atticus could have just said, ?ok, Tom is in there go get him,? but he wanted to stand up for what he knew was right. That was telling them that he was there


1 Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (Lippincott, 1960), p. 233.

and that he was not going to let the group of men get to Tom so they could kill him. Atticus stands up and says, ?? You can turn around and go home again?? (162). This was just one of the many times that Atticus, Jem, and also Scout would run across people that felt differently than they did about discrimination and what they would do to stand up to it.

The mockingbird in the novel symbolizes innocence. Treating a person bad because of what they believe is the same as a hunter shooting at a mockingbird just for sport. Like Atticus said to his children in the novel, ??I?d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you?ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ?em, but remember it?s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (98). The people that were harassing the Finch family were like the hunters who shoot the birds. Atticus was only doing his job as a lawyer just like the mockingbird is only there to ???make music for us to enjoy. They don?t eat up people?s gardens, don?t nest in corncribs, they don?t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us?? (98).

Near the end of the novel when Jem and Scout are walking home from a pageant, they were beat up by Mr. Ewell. He was mad because he felt that their dad was a ?nigger lover? (94). Not only had he spit on Atticus but he also tried to take out the whole Finch family. The children did not do anything wrong but were persecuted because their father was a lawyer who was defending a black man. Mr. Tate wanted to know all about this incident after it had happened. Scout told Mr. Tate, ??Mr. Ewell was tryin? to squeeze me to death…?? (284). After hearing that Mr. Tate stood up for the children in the end. Mr. Ewell was found with a knife in his chest. It did not matter who did it because ? Mr. Tate said stolidly, ?Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself?? (287).

This novel demonstrates prejudice in all forms. The Tom Robinson case made every person in Maycomb face prejudice head on. People continually referred to black men as “niggers” (64). The black population in Maycomb was the nadir of the social ladder while whites lived a life full of prosperity. Even in the town with two social groups, Atticus decides to do what he felt was right rather than caring what others thought of him.




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