Thematic Question: How does courage lead to justice?

It takes courage to seek justice rather than to accept the facts and follow the majority. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus seeks justice, something few others in the town do, because he has the courage to oppose the town. For example, Tom Robinson, an African American man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman, was being defended by Atticus. The town dislikes his actions but Atticus still defends Tom because he seeks justice. He says “there’s been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about defending this man.”(Lee 100). Despite the town not wanting him to, Atticus defends Tom because he wants justice. By knowing what will happen but still fighting for justice, Atticus shows his courage. Tom Robinson was also transferred to the Maycomb jail where he was threatened by mobs. After learning of this, Atticus stays at the jail to protect Tom. A group of men arrive and tell Atticus “Get aside from the door, Mr. Finch.”(Lee 202). The men plan to lynch Tom. In response, Atticus says “You can turn around and go home again, Walter,”(Lee 202). Atticus refuses to step aside despite the group of men because he knows their plans to lynch Tom. He knows that there is no justice in lynching so he tries to prevent it. Atticus demonstrates courage by refusing to let the group of men lynch Tom because he seeks justice, something that lynching takes away. After the death of Mrs. Dubose, a neighbor of the Finch family, Atticus tells Jem “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”(Lee 149). Mrs. Dubose suffered greatly before her death because she refused to relieve her pain with morphine. Atticus shares this advice with Jem before he performs acts which require great courage. Before Tom Robinson was put on trial, Atticus knew that he would lose the case but he still fought to save Tom. He also knew that Tom was innocent and was trying to serve justice even if he knew he would fail. With courage, Atticus fought for justice. This lesson is also relevant today. “For every case of violence, abuse and exploitation, however, there are stories of people relentlessly fighting these same injustices. In all communities, one can find individuals who are standing up on behalf of others in danger, regardless of the risk in doing so. These people embody moral courage.”. People with moral courage put themselves at risk for justice. People need to have courage in order to have justice.

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– Brandon Liu

Mr. Dolphus Raymond the Whisk

Mr. Dolphus Raymond is a whisk. He is a whisk because he is Caucasian but he marries and has children with an African American woman. He spends time with other races, something very uncommon in Maycomb. Jem says “He’s got a colored woman and all sorts of mixed chillun” (Page 214). He marries someone of another race which is extremely rare.

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Link to the drawing: Mr. Dolphus Raymond the Whisk

-Brandon liu

Novel Highlight “Growing Up”

After Tom Robinson is convicted, Jem cries saying “It ain’t right,”(Lee 284). Scout does not cry while Atticus tries to comfort Jem. He cries because of the sense of injustice that he feels. Tom was found guilty despite evidence simply because the jury was all-white and he was African American. However, Scout does not cry. This is important because Scout feels a sense of wrongdoing which saddens her but Jem’s age allows him to understand the injustice. This is important because it shows the theme of loss of innocence. Because Jem is older, he has learned more about the world than Scout. This reflects the real world where children learn more about the bad things in life as they grow older.

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– Brandon Liu

Poem: The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

The poem describes how William Zanzinger, a wealthy young man, kills Hattie Carroll, a 51 year old maid, for no reason and is arrested. He shows no remorse and goes out on bail. In court, the judge is supposed to give him a harsh sentence for his ruthless killing but gives him only 6 months in prison. This shows a theme of injustice because of one’s class. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Bob Ewell beats his daughter but blames it on Tom Robinson, an African American man. Tom Robinson is found guilty despite large amounts of evidence proving that he is innocent. This shows a theme of injustice because of one’s race similar to the poem’s theme of injustice because of one’s class.

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

By Bob Dylan

 

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gathering
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears


William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling
In a matter of minutes, on bail was out walking
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears


Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn’t even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger
And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears


In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now’s the time for your tears

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– Brandon Liu

Poem: Strange Fruit

The poem describes a scene in the South where bodies of African Americans hang from polar trees as a result of a lynching. The faces of the bodies are twisted. They are left hanging without care. The poem describes aftermath of the lynching of African Americans. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson, an African American wrongly accused of raping a white woman, was almost lynched. His lynching was stopped but he was killed anyways despite his lack of guilt. The lynching of African Americans in the South was done by mobs without trial and usually to innocent people. Like, those lynched in the South, Tom Robinson, was also innocent and killed.

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Tom Robinson from the Movie To Kill a Mockingbird

Strange Fruit

Written by Abel Meeropol

Performed by Billie Holiday

1937

 

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

– Brandon Liu

 

Character Blog Mrs. Dubose

Mrs. Dubose is a neighbor of the Finch family. She is aggressive and rude towards Atticus, Jem, and Scout. She is very intolerant of African Americans and Scout’s tomboy nature. The themes of the South beginning to slowly change its racist ways and the good and bad in people are demonstrated by her actions and death. Mrs. Dubose represents the old prejudiced ways of the south and Maycomb. Her death shows how while racism is still very prevalent, it may be slowly fading. When discussing the jury’s verdict on the Tom Robinson trial he says “That was the one thing that made me think, well, this may be the shadow of a beginning. That jury took a few hours. An inevitable verdict, maybe, but usually it takes ‘em just a few minutes. This time — “(Lee 297). Rather than immediately find Tom Robinson guilty, they take time and think. While they do find Tom guilty despite evidence proving he is not, they consider their verdict rather than convict him without question like juries in the past. This shows the theme of the South beginning to slowly change its racist ways . Mrs. Dubose, who has prejudiced views, dies and the town’s prejudiced views begin to slowly shift.

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Protest For and Against Jim Crow Laws

Mrs. Dubose also represents both good and bad in people. She is extremely intolerant but she demonstrates courage when she ends her addiction to morphine. She was going to die no matter what but she resisted her addiction and suffered so that she would die free. Atticus said “She’d have spent the rest of her life on it and died without so much agony”(Lee 147). She pushed past her suffering even though morphine would have eased the pain because of her desire to die free. Her courage is evident in her actions and is one of her good traits. Mrs. Dubose represents the beginning of a change from racist views and the good and bad parts of a person.

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– Brandon Liu

Chapter 6 “The Radley House”

“Dill saw it next. He put his hands to his face. When it crossed Jem, Jem say it. He put his arms over his head and went rigid” (TKAM, Chapter 6, Page 71)

 

Chapter Summary

On the last day of Dill living in Maycomb, Jem and Dill convince Scout to come with them to peep into the Radley house and try to see Boo Radley. They sneak into the backyard of the Radley house. While they try to look through a window, they see a shadow of a man and run away. As they run, Nathan Radley, Boo’s brother, doesn’t recognize them and shoots at them. During the escape, Jem gets his pants caught on a fence and he leaves them behind. The neighbors gather around the Radley house while Nathan says that he will shoot the next person he sees in his backyard. Atticus questions why Jem doesn’t have his pants but Dill makes up a lie and Atticus tells Jem that he has to get his pants back. Later in the night, Jem and Scout sneak out when everyone else is asleep to try and retrieve Jem’s pants. Jem goes to the Radley house alone but when he comes back, he is silent.

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Literary Elements

Hyperbole

  • “you’ll stink up this whole end of town.”(Lee 67)
  • “”we spat ourselves dry”(Lee 70)

Simile

  • “crisp as toast”(Lee 71)
  • “Miss Rachel went off like the town fire siren”(Lee 73)
  • “Jem’s white shirt-tail dipped and bobbed like a small ghost dancing away”(Lee 76)

Personification

  • “ripe chinaberries drummed on the roof”(Lee 76)

 

Theme Statement

“Children will be curious about the unknown and will try to learn more about the unknown.”

– Brandon Liu