Prejudice has been present for many years in many countries. Almost everyone has been affected by prejudice either directly or indirectly. The definition of the word prejudice is the preconceived opinion of a person or thing. Almost every one has prejudged someone before meeting him or her or before getting to know them. There are many ways in which one is prejudged such as gender, age, race, religion, the way one dresses etc. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird the lesson the author portrait the most was prejudice in the town and how it can happen anywhere and at any time." To better understand a person you have to climb up inside their skin and walk around in it." The quote stated by Atticus in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is an unveiling of the upcoming times when prejudice is present in the novel.
The setting for the novel is a fictitious town called Maycomb in Alabama. The racial prejudice shown in the novel has a lot to do with the town being situated in the southern United States. The remote setting and the closed minds of the community fueled racism in Maycomb. These negative qualities account for the prejudices in the novel. Maycomb people have very inward looking views and so these views are passed on from generation to generation.
Maycomb is a very religious town with the foot-washing Baptists appearing to have a strong influence on the community. The foot-washers have very strict views and believe that anything that is pleasurable is a sin. They are therefore prejudiced against people who are different from them with different opinions or beliefs. The first example of their prejudice is when Miss Maudie says, "some of 'em came out of the woods one Saturday and passed by this place and told me and my flowers we were going to hell?" Their belief is so extreme they feel they should threaten those who are different. Scout is shocked by this as she thinks Miss Maudie is the 'best lady's he knows.
Miss Maudie is a good role model for Scout as she is not prejudice against anyone presented in the novel. Another example of prejudice toward somebody is the isolation of the Radleys. This isolation is due to this family not attending church. They also don't conform to other codes of behavior. The Radleys suffer prejudice because they keep to themselves, apart from everyone else. The society sees church as a pastime and therefore pleasurable; as Mr.
Radley was a foot-washing Baptist he would not agree with attending church. The community seeing church as a pastime reflects their inward views and their narrow mindedness. The isolation of the Radleys is accentuated by the unusual positioning of their house. This reflects how the town considers the Radleys. They are deemed strange by the community because they don't conform or go to church and they do not socialize with others. Mrs.
Radley never attends Missionary circle and the house is always closed on Sunday. This shows the intolerance in Maycomb of anyone who does not conform to their rules and standards of behavior. Boo Radley is treated with the most dislike, as he has been to court when he was younger and was considered a troublemaker. That is how prejudice is shown in To Kill a Mockingbird and we should all remember not to judge people by the color of their skin but by the way they act.