The theme with the most impact in 'To Kill a Mockingbird" is Prejudice. Prejudice is "a judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts." Throughout the novel, there were many incidents, but two of them stood out the more than others. These are the teachings of Ms. Gates and her enmity towards the atrocities of Adolf Hitler, while at the same time she hated blacks, and the prejudice of the American court system in the 1930's by saying they stand for justice but not accepting the statement themselves. .
In Ms Gates' classroom we read about her teaching the class that the Jews are being persecuted against by the Nazi's. According to Ms. Gates this is un-Christian and she finds these actions despicable. The prejudice of this teaching is shown as soon as she mentions the word persecution. "Yes, she said, Old Adolf Hitler has been persecuting the jews." Pg.244. This indident shows that she herself is persecuting the black people of Maycomb by not raising an eyebrow to the killing of an innocent black man. It is also very prejudice when she mentions democracy, and the way that she is not at all democratic when it comes to the treatment of African Americans. "What does DEMOCRACY mean?" "Equal rights for all, special privileges for none." "Very good Jean Louise, very good." Pg. 245. This lady shows her blindness to the racial problems of the Deep South, where she herself lives, but feels a lot of empathy for the Jews who are being mistreated and slaughtered in Germany, many thousands of miles away.
The American Courts of the 1930's were also prejudice. Truth and Justice were held as the most basic right for Americans. Truth in the Tom Robinson case was never a factor. The white jury knew that Bob Ewell had beaten his daughter Mayaella Ewell and that Tom was innocent. But because a human being had more color pigment in their skin it was assumed they would be guilty without question, so truth was never a factor.