In the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, an interesting idea is prejudice. This idea is portrayed in many aspects of the novel, and is directed towards both groups and individuals in the Maycomb community. Prejudice is linked with the ideas of fear, superstition and injustice. It is important because we can see how it affected people. .
Prejudice is said to be "Maycomb's usual disease". Racial prejudice cost an innocent black man, Tom Robsinson's, life, as he has been found guilty without justice. "In our courts when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They"re ugly, but those are the facts of life." This interacts with another idea of injustice. Also, the night before the trial, the lynch mob arrives at the jail like a "Roman Carnival", to "watch a poor devil on trial for his life". This clearly showed how those white men have no respect for Tom as they treat the trial like a "show". Furthermore, we can sense the ugliness in the racial tension and prejudice which threatens Tom's safety even before he comes to trial.
Prejudice is also shown towards individual characters in the novel who do not fit into the expected behavioural patterns of society and about whom little is known. Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond and Tom Robinson are all victims of this kind of prejudice. Tom "felt sorry" for a white girl, and "Atticus aimed to defend" a black man. That's what (the society) don"t like about it. Mr Raymond is a white man who dislikes the idea of prejudice and would prefer to live among the blacks. He reveals his secret of pretending to be a drunkard to the children because he respects their innocence. He believe that they might understand as they have not yet caught "Maycomb's usual disease." Boo Radley has been misjudged by others because he never comes out of his house and so little of him was known. The rumours and superstitious views of ghosts, stories the children have heard, increase their fear of Boo Radley.