I think that my thesis statement had improved in this essay compared to my prior ones. I also think that I went deep into detail and had new idea.
I think that I could improve on better integrating quotes into my writing, and to get rid of what is not necessairy, to make my writing stronger.
The Plague Of Racial Prejudice:
There are many different reasons that can cause one to choose to fight racism or that can stop one from fighting for equality. Throughout the stories To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Help directed by Tate Taylor, many of the factors that contribute to one choosing whether to fight racism or not are explored. Both stories induced fear through the white community towards their town for the support of racism, which caused fear of becoming isolated for those who believed in equality, and demonstrated the cycle of racism continuing, which stopped progress towards finding equality. In the novel Mockingbird, the Black community accepts their fate of not being treated equally to white people, while the few people who have no prejudice towards the them do not speak out for change. The Finch’s did support the Black community, but were victims to their time and place, as they could not take on the embedded prejudices within Maycomb. Whereas, in the film Help, the black community begins to rebel, and with help from Skeeter writing her book, are able to begin to speak out. Ultimately, both stories demonstrate the plague that is racial prejudice, and how one’s morality and conscience can be affected by the social pressure to conform to such standards. One of the many reasons that one can choose not to stand up to racism is fear. Both stories Mockingbird and Help demonstrated the white community inducing fear in their towns. However, this is shown differently throughout each story. In Mockingbird, most of the White population of the town are described with a sheep-like mentality. They are very susceptible to the town’s (Mrs. Stephanie’s and Mrs. Maudie’s) gossip, and do not go against the it’s prejudices. However, those who do not support racism, do not express it very vocally. In the story, the Finch’s did not believe in racism. One of the reasons for their different views of Black people, was because of Calpurnia. Throughout the story she was shown as a strong, mother-like figure for the family. She kept the children in order, and the children respected her authority. From this, the Finch’s knew a different experience of the Black community than the rest of the town. Since the rest of the town never gained a real perspective of the African American community, all they knew where the rumors they heard, and the fact that they lived past the dump, and past the Ewelles. For many of the characters in this story racism was a part of who they where, and they did not desire to change their way of thinking. This was shown at it’s extremes in two parts of the story. The first being violence. When the group of men came to Tom Robinson’s jail cell to lynch him, they had let their prejudices take them to a point where they believed a race to be so below them, that they where willing to kill him for a crime they weren’t sure he even committed. The second being hiding one’s self. When Scout and Dill left the courthouse during Tom Robinson’s trail, they had an encounter with Dolphus Raymond, who they assumed was a drunk, as the rest of the town did, “Some folks don’t like the manner I live.. I try to give ‘em a ground, you see, it helps folks if they can latch onto a reason. They could ne’er understand that I live like I do because that’s the manner I want to live.” (Lee 268). But after briefly coming to know him, they discovered that he was not a drunk, but rather wearing a mask. He was covering up his true self, to give the town a reasoning as to why he would want to be with a Black woman. This, again, is showing the lengths that one would go, in order to protect themselves from the power of the white community within the town. It is showing the fear that the town has instituted into the community. For those reasons, it made racism something that was very difficult for those who did not support it to fight it. Although, there where some steps for equality within the town, for example letting Tom Robinson have access to a lawyer for his trail, and Mrs. Maudie not being as racist as the rest of the town, while not having the same perspective of the Black community as the Finch’s did. In the story Help, there is still a sheep-like way of thinking within the town, but it is caused differently than it was in Mockingbird. Mrs. Hilly is the queen. She has a group of all the women (White) in town, and they all follow her. She believes very much in White people being of higher power than Black people, and because of this, the group of White women follow her way of thinking, even if they do not always agree with it. She held great influence over their opinions, telling them untrue facts, and therefore creating a greater prejudice within their community, “All these houses they’re building without maid’s quarters? It’s just plain dangerous. Everybody knows they carry different kinds of diseases than we do.” (Tate). With her influence, many believed her rumors to be true, and as a result of many people believing her, even more in their community did. However, in the story, Skeeter did not agree with her way of thinking. Much like Mockingbird, this could have been because as a child she had a very strong connection with her Help, Constantine. She was shown as a strong, mother-like figure to Skeeter, which gave her respect for the Black community. Although there where still great prejudices in the town, she decided to try and fight the racism by writing a book on what the Help’s perspectives of life where. But to give people a deeper understanding of the Black community was not her only motive to write this book, her cause of writing it was to help herself in getting a job as a writer. Once Skeeter’s book gets published, unlike Mockingbird, many of the women in the community (who are also a part of Mrs. Hilly’s group) read it and gain a different perspective of the lives of the Help. Although there where small amounts of progress in Mockingbird, this was a greater change for equality. It wasn’t only Skeeter who acted upon not supporting racism, it was also the Help. For example, when Minny made her pie for Mrs. Hilly, this was her quiet, and yet loud form of rebelling, which Mrs. Hilly would later protest after the book had been published, “This book is not about Jackson!” (Tate). Here, she defended not only herself but also the Black community in order to protect her own self value. Another example, would be when Aibileen agreed to help Skeeter write her story. It was illegal for a black person to let a White person into their home, but Aibileen did anyway, in order for her to find an outlet, and in hopes of showing others what it really was to be the Help, and to be Black. This was her way of trying to fight for equality without risking being arrested, as Yule Mae was, when there was no real proof that she had done what she had been accused for by her boss, which is similar to the results of the accusations that where made towards Tom Robinson, in Mockingbird. Another cause for characters in both Mockingbird and Help, not to fight for equality, was because of a fear of becoming isolated from the community. In both stories gossip and rumor where very powerful weapons, and the basis from which a lot of the fear of isolation grew. In Mockingbird, the community could see how the town had isolated the Black community (both physically and morally), “I’m simply defending a Negro – his name’s Tom Robinson. He lives in that little settlement beyond the town dump.. She [Calpurnia] says they’re clean-living folks.” (Lee 75). Here, Harper Lee is showing the Finch’s perspective of where and how the black community lives. Whereas during the trail, Bob Ewell explains what the Black community is to most of the town, as they share similar thoughts of the African American community, while the rest of the town thinks of the Ewell’s as less then them, “..Lived down yonder in that ni—er-nest.. I’ve asked this county for fifteen years to clean out that nest down yonder, they’re dangerous to live around ‘sides devaluin’ my property..” (Lee 234). The Ewell’s are a good example of the isolation that the town can have, as there is little respect for their family and much gossip of them throughout the town. Another example of the town’s isolation would be Boo Radley. There was much uncertainty within the town of what he did, and who he was, which once again forced him to become subject to gossip. Although he was not a Black person and was not affected by the racism, he lived as an example for much of the community of just how aggressive they could be towards an outcast, so it could only be imagined what they would do to someone who very vocally (more than the Finch’s) expressed their acceptance for the Black community. Isolation is also shown throughout Help. In the story, all the women in the town wanted to fit in and be a part of Mrs. Hilly’s group, and therefore followed whatever she did or believed. Celia is a good example of how Mrs. Hilly and her group isolated those who she would consider to be outsiders. Celia did not advocate for the Black community, she had no real prejudices towards them, and although Mrs. Hilly and her group where unaware of this, they considered her to be of a lower-class then them, and excluded her from their group. Celia tried to appeal to them, by bringing them a pie, only to be ignored. This is an example of how once they have one belief of who someone is, they hold on to it. When Mrs. Hilly found out that Skeeter wrote the book, she became very aggressive and violent towards her, showing her isolation, and turning on someone she once considered to be her friend when she found out that she supported the black community. Hilly: I’ve contacted my lawyer, Hibby Goodman. He’s the best liable attorney in this state. Oh, missy, you’re going to jail!” Skeeter: “You can’t prove anything.” Hilly: “Oh, I one hundred percent know you wrote it! Cause nobody else in town is a tacky as you. ..Hilly: “You tell Aibileen, the next time she wants to write about my dear friend, Elizabeth? Uh-huh! Remember her? .. Let’s just say Aibileen ought to have been a bit smarter before puttin’ in about that L shaped scratch in poor Elizabeth’s dining table. And that ni—er, Minny? Do I have plans for her.” This scene reinforces what great lengths Mrs. Hilly (and other’s in the community) would go to protect her self value, and the fear she tries to put in Skeeter to attempt to get her to admit to writing the book, to have her face judgments, and to be isolated from the community. In conclusion, both stories demonstrate the racism that the Black community faces, and the fight for equality. In the story Mockingbird, there is small progress towards equality, as almost all of the town does not want to change their prejudice towards the Black community. While in the film Help, there is more progress towards equality, as the Black community begins to rebel from the White, which is aided by Skeeter writing her book, showing the small progress within the White community. Much like Skeeter, the Finch’s didn’t believe in racism, and although they both shared the same beliefs, both stories presented different circumstances of life, showing the factors that contributed to the inability and the small ability to be able to speak for what was right. Regardless of the circumstances of the stories, one should be able to look past the social pressure or standards to conform to one way of thinking, and take the risk of speaking out for what one believes is right, even while facing many who do not support the same ideas.
Works Cited: Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York, New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1960. The Help. Dir. Tate Taylor. 2011. Movie.