Name For Free Thinking Young Woman Who Embraced New Fashions Depictions of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Depictions of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Almost at the age of 10, there is a significant change in the perspective of children. The world is no longer just a land of curiosity, but a popularity contest. Girls start wearing make-up and make cliques, and boys become showmen, proving themselves with their fists. Think Mean Girls or Outsiders. In Lacan’s words, when we identify ourselves as “others” in the mirror stage, the beasts of envy and self-recognition emerge. Psychologically, this is the time when children, going through their first major identity crisis, often begin to categorize others into two categories: ingroups and groups.

Meet Tom and Scout. They are characters in this stage and life, and while sometimes they are carefree, violent troublemakers, at others, they are young adults facing a terrifying world that is clearly divided along racial lines. . Tom Sawyer is a con man, stealing from jam jars and tricking other boys into working for him. However, when he stumbles into a graveyard, his poor words take a turn for the worse. He witnesses Injun Joe kill a man, and life is no longer a piece of jam.

Although Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer does not directly address issues of race, as does his epic masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the character Injun Joe depicts racial stereotypes in a more subtle way. Let’s not forget the fact that Joe is a ruthless killer. Who hasn’t had nightmares about the giant killer hunting Tom and Becky in the cave? However, it represents a term that will most likely appear on the AP Psychology Exam: the self-fulfilling prophecy. He is treated as a savage by the rest of the town, and is not accepted in the community because of his Native American roots. When a person is treated in a non-stop manner, it is difficult not to live this trait. People who are not in the group see more or less different, but those in the group as a single stereotype. Joe is the last victim. More than that, Joe’s weaknesses are acts of revenge; while on the surface, he may seem like a one-dimensional character, whose terrible actions stem only from greed, his motives are far more complex. The colonists brutally removed Native Americans from their land, and it is in part revenge for the wrongs they suffered.

Tom Sawyer is also a mixed bag of tricks. He is a scheming scoundrel who, even when he catches Becky’s crime, or saves a man’s life by exposing a murderer, is by no means humble, and takes in the attention and praise in return. This really stems from the insecurities that inevitably come with being young. His unstable identity suggests that he is at a stage where prejudices and stereotypes can easily take over; although he seems to rebel against the adults, he is paradoxically deeply affected by their attitudes and actions. In the end, there is no clear solution to Tom’s identity crisis or the city’s prejudice, just as there is no immediate cure for teenage angst, or deep-seated racism.

To an even greater extent, Scout faces the complexities of adult prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird. Her father defends a black man who was wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Their family becomes outcasts in a racist town, and Scout, in addition to trying to deal with the normal teenage turmoil, struggles with the town’s hatred of her father. When he asks why they were excluded, Atticus replies, “Niger-lover is just one of those terms that doesn’t mean anything—like nose-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, stupid people when they think someone charity they use it. The Negro over and over himself. It happens to some people like us, when they want a common and bad term to describe someone.” This quote from To Kill a Mockingbird explains that racism is a lot like bullying and name calling; children are by definition ignorant, and therefore often clash with each other due to identity confusion. So, in a sense, Atticus is saying that these adults never grew up; their insecurities and ignorance perpetuate racism.

It’s easy to see these novels as works of anti-discrimination in a post-civil rights society, but are they really? Do you think Mark Twain exposes the injustice of prejudice and stereotypes, or buys into them? Injun Joe is portrayed in an extremely negative light. Although To Kill a Mockingbird clearly advocates against racism, the novel still negatively portrays African-American stereotypes as weak people who need to be protected by white people. Although both books are now recommended to AP US History students, they have been banned from schools because of their problematic comments on race. This ambiguity shows that it is difficult to avoid stereotypes; it takes a conscious effort not to see the world in out-group terms. Often as young adults we embrace our stereotypes to make sense of the world, and as adults it’s our job to break down these categories to reveal the truth.

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