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Comparison Based On Racism Novels English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1577 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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To Kill A Mockingbird is a stunning success from the well-known author Harper Lee. After being raised in an era wrecked by the practice of racism, she used the literary world as the medium to voice out her discontent. This novel was portrayed mostly based on the events occur in her hometown in Alabama. Most characters in her novel portrayed based on the melancholic events that occur in her life. For instance, Dill was an idea about her own childhood experience in this sleeping city. The subject of racism is being used throughout the whole story as she really have the full desire to change the destiny of her people, the African-American from being discriminate and prejudiced by the White people in America.

1.1 Comparison Based On Novels

1.1.1 The novel entitled The Pearl by John Steinbeck is mainly related to the theme of racism. The story is about a Mexican Indian family led by Kino who had been discriminate from getting a cure when his son is bite from a scorpion. The doctor declined to treat Kino’s son just because Kino is not a Spanish descent and have no money to return the doctor a favour. The racism and prejudice attitudes which had been shown by the doctor is quite similar to the novel To Kill A Mockingbird which the supremacy White people will not easily offer a help to the needy African American people. The main character of this novel, Kino had tried his very best to save his son until at one time he had to ignore the suggestion made by his wife because he cannot think properly anymore. This is difference from the family leader character in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus Finch who had been described as a well mannered people and very wise in giving idea and thinking. The Pearl is set in the fishing village in La Paz, Mexico. This story was based on the era when the Spanish had conquers some part of Mexico and sending some Spanish professional to work there. Harper Lee in her novel To Kill A Mockingbird had used a later era compared to the era used by Steinbeck. Steinbeck trying to convey the message of racism can result in abuse, exploitation and deceit when it is practiced in the society. He gave the example of what had happen to Kino’s family when the Spanish doctor had practiced racism.

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1.1.2 Maya Angelou had written a masterpiece, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings which is meant to describe her early life. Born as an African American descendant, she cannot escape from being the victim of the act of racism and prejudice. She exposed the readers with the theme of racism and segregation of the whole novel. She had experience many sad stories such as being called as Mary instead on Maya by her white boss, a dentist’s refusal to treat her, and many more. The main theme of this novel is just the same with the novel To Kill A Mockingbird however I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a biography type story unlike To Kill A Mockingbird which is a narrative story. The main character of this novel is Maya Angelou herself, but portrayed in her early age. Even though she is still small, but she had faced many problems and challenges in her life. She had been raped, abandoned by her own family and experience the effect of racism directly. In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, the character of Scout Finch is still can be considered as lucky because she does not have to experience many traumatic events in her life or if it happens, she still has her father, Atticus Finch as her protector. This novel is set in many location and state in America such as Stamps, Missouri, Los Angeles in 1930s and California in 1940s. The events happen in the same era as Harper Lee has portrayed in her novel, but was set in different location which is Alabama.

1.2 Comparison Based On Films

1.2.1 In the movie, The Great Debaters directed and acted by Denzel Washington, was based on the true-story that occurred in American South during the 1930s. Basically, the theme of this movie is mostly related to discrimination and the disrespectful manner which are shown towards the African American people. The movie portrayed the era of the debate team from the black people colleges are discriminated and will not be given any hope to win the debate battle. If we compare this movie with the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, we can see the similarities of the theme which the both writer trying to conveyed. The main character of this movie is Melvin B. Tolson, the Wiley College debate coach which is a real-life character who later became the famous American poet. He knows how to inspire people to claim their right as he inspires his students to practice hard to beat many well known universities. This is quite similar to the character of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird who is great at inspiring his children to study well and respect people a lot. The Great Debaters was set in Texas, Wiley College, Harvard University and etc. Texas is the area where we can see the life of many farmers. It is also the area which is badly affected when the racism era took place before. This movie tells us not to judge people by their skin colour and not to discriminate people by any means. Therefore, a harmonic and stable country can be formed.

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1.2.2 Also, we can compare the novel To Kill A Mockingbird with the movie entitled Remember The Titans by Boaz Yakin. This movie is about a journey of newly combined white and black college American football team. The main character of this movie, known as Coach Herman Boone is appointed to select players from the White and the African American students in a football team. Borne is a matured and futuristic person. He planned something that nobody ever dreams before at that time; to mix the Whites and the Blacks students together. He also acted as the peace maker in the school as well as in his residential area. This is similar to the character of Atticus Finch, a lawyer who dreams to see the peace between the white and the black people to be achieved amongst his people. Remember The Titans was set in 1970’s during the time when the United States Government had ended the policies of separation of universities based on the skin colour and combined all the students regardless of the skin colours. Many actions in this movie were set in T.C Williams High School and the places near it. The director and the production team trying to convey the message of if we can ignore the small problems, the big success stories can be achieved. In this movie, T.C Williams High School football team can win the state competition even though they are the only multiracial team in the league. This is because the African American students and the Caucasian students can ignore and settle their clash inside wisely.

1.2.3 Next, we might as well compare the movie entitled Hotel Rwanda with the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. This movie is about the real conflict that occurs in 1994 in Rwanda. This fight occur when the Hutu ethnic blame the Tutsi ethnic for many problems that occur in the country. The Hutu Militia had declared that they will make the ethnic cleansing process by holding a genocide which later is called Rwandan Genocide. The theme of the movie is racism that occurs within the own race. This is completely difference with To Kill A Mockingbird which is about racism that occurs between the African American people and the Caucasian people. The main character in this movie, Paul Rusesabagina, the owner of a hotel which is a Hutu was portrayed as a very nice and kind man as he is willing to use his own money to save and protect the safety of thousand Tutsi people who used his hotel as a shelter from the Hutu’s assault. Besides, Rusesabagina is a responsible family man as he is willing to sacrifice everything that he could to save his wife, who is a Tutsi and his family as well. Atticus Finch is the best example of a family man in To Kill A Mockingbird. He protects his family from many bad temptations. For example, Atticus had protected Scout from hypocrisy and social pressure of the surrounding which has rendered her open, forthright, and well meaning. This movie teaches the public to create a strong bond within your own country and not to blame any people for any problems that occur within the country.

1.2.4 A film by Joel Schumacher, entitled A Time to Kill can also be associated with the novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The writer suggested the theme of racism that occurs in the judiciary system in United States to the audience. If we look back to the main plot of the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, we can see the similarity of the theme the both writer trying to conveyed. The main character of this novel is Jake Brigance, a white lawyer who has a strong determination to save his client, Carl Lee Hailey, a black man who had been convicted to a trial of a suicide of two white men who had raped his 10 years old daughter. Despite many warnings and assaults made to him, his family and his colleague, Jack had never see those things as an obstacle that can stop him from fulfilling his noble intention. The characteristics of Atticus Finch, also a lawyer in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird can be mostly described as tough as Jack Brigance. He had also been assaulted but he ignores such problem as trifle. A Time to Kill was set in Canton, Mississippi and also mostly set in the court as we could see the trial of Carl Lee Hailey took place.


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