Sting of Prejudice In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee there are many characters whose lives and thoughts about one another are distorted by prejudice and stereotyping. Three of the many characters whose lives were affected by prejudice are Bob Ewell, Tom Robinson and Dolfus Raymond. Bob Ewell's mind is distorted in his view of other races. Tom Robinson is a victim of prejudice and is treated unfairly because of the color of his skin. The third character Dolfus Raymond is not accepted by the community because he is married to a black woman.
These are three very different men whom by choice or circumstance are forever affected by the hatred associated with prejudice and stereotyping. Bob Ewell is a man who is consumed by hatred, he is very poor and thinks very little of the black people in the community. Bob believes "that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings" (17). Prejudice in May comb is both racial and socio-economic. "The Cunningham's don't like the Ewells" (226) because they consider them lower class. The "Ewells hate and despise the colored folks." (226) The trial has given Bob Ewell the opportunity to not only persecute a black man but to feel in a very public way that he is superior and more believable to the jury because of his race.
Tom Robinson is unjustly accused of a crime he did not commit. "Tom was a truthful man married with three children" (190). Usually a truthful man can be trusted but as "Tom gave his testimony" (191) Bob Ewell and the other people watching the court case knew that he had no chance to win. Tom made a mistake when he said he "felt right sorry for " Malaya Ewell in front of the jury because it was not acceptable for a black man to feel sorry for a white woman (147). Tom never had a chance because prejudice poisoned the minds of the jury.
Although Atticus Finch had proven Tom Robinson innocent, a black man's word could never be accepted as truth over a white man's. Dolfus Raymond is ostracized by the community because he is married to a black woman. Mr. Raymond could not live a normal life because no one accepted his choices, he "preferred the company of Negroes" (192). He would pretend to be a drunk but all he was really drinking was "plain coca-cola" (200).
Mr. Raymond had to "give 'em a reason" for his outrageous and unconventional behavior; the people thought he was drunk and that is why he preferred to be with the blacks (200). He should not have to present himself as a drunk in order to cover up his lifestyle. Due to the prejudice held against the blacks, it was easier for the townspeople to think of him as a lousy drunk who had sunk to the level of the black men then to know the truth. He was perfectly sober and simply liked the black community more. In Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, many people's lives and attitudes are affected by racism and stereotyping.
Bob Ewell was a perpetrator of the prejudice. He thought he was superior to the blacks. His hatred for them poisoned his mind and he led an unhappy and destructive life. Tom Robinson was an innocent black man and a victim of prejudice.
He paid the ultimate price for prejudice and hatred. He lost his life. Dolfus Raymond used the community's stereotypical and prejudicial beliefs to live the life he had chosen in peace. He changed his appearance, essentially living a lie in public so others would accept him living in the black community. Whether as a perpetrator, victim or crafty manipulator the lives of each of these men, their families, and community were darkened by the sting of prejudice.