To Kill a Mocking Bird Essay – Fear By Janessa Conarroe, Connor Mcraepharo, and Kelly Leung
Within the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird” fear is depicted in various ways. It’s shown in adults and children and both the white and black race. In this county, children and some adults choose to believe in rumours, myths and stories that haven’t proven to be true. In this time period “the Jim Crow Era”, black people have been discriminated by the white community. Both races in Alabama are bias towards each other, because people fear each other’s way and beliefs. Even though most of the community may fear an individual, they could turn out completely different from what the community fears. Fear can be processed by anyone- no matter your age or race in Maycomb County.

In Maycomb county children and adults choose to believe rumours and stories, which may not be true. The stories people pass along as children can stay with them for the rest of their lives. People at any age thrive for gossip and fear. Without a good scare now and again life would be boring and unrealistic. Though when children are young, older people and places that seem scary to them, and it is never as bad it seems. “Two lives oaks stood at the edge of the Radley lot…some tinfoil was sticking in a knot-hole just above my eye level…I reached into the hole, and withdrew two pieces of chewing gum, ‘It was sticking in that tree yonder, the one comin’ from school’, ‘spit it out right now’, ‘I’ve been chewin’ it all afternoon and I ain’t dead yet, not even sick’, ‘Don’t you know you’re not supposed to even go near the trees over there? You’ll get killed if you do”. Older children make up stories to scare younger kids. Some people find great pride scaring the helpless. “You scared? Scared of haints? Haints, hot steams, incantations, and secret signs- I’m too old. Angel bright, life-in death, get off the road, don’t suck my breath”. Because of the ways of some people within this county, stories become bigger and more unrealistic as time wears on. As a person ages, they gain understanding behind the stories they pass along as children. The stories seem so unrealistic as an adult, but some adults still hold onto their childhood and their personalities when they were growing up. Some stories and things that are frightening might stay with someone no matter how old they get, no matter how intelligent one may become. “There’s a manic there and he’s dangerous…I was standing in my yard one day when his Mama come out yelling, ‘He’s killing us all’. Turned out Boo was sitting in the living room cutting up the paper for his scrapbook, and when his daddy came by, he reached over with his scissors, stabbed him in his leg, pulled them out, and went right on cutting the paper…They locked him up in the basement of the courthouse till he nearly died of the damp…There he is to this day, sittin’ over there with his scissors…Lord knows what he’s doing or thinkin’.” Because of fear, rumours and stories are made out to be a lot worse than they actually are. People believe that once they uncover the truth behind the “scary mask” it seems stilly to be afraid anymore.

In the “Jim Crow Era” the white people of Maycomb County have discriminated the black society. White people fear the blacks, they think they can’t be trusted, that the Blacks aren’t human or even worth human life past slaves. “…the evil assumption – that all negro’s lie, that all Negro’s are basically immortal beings, that all Negro men are not trusted around our women, assumption one associates with the mind of their calibre”. In this time period a group of white supremacists decided to take the lives of thousands of black people because of their color and beliefs. They hated these people because they were simply afraid of them; they feared them and their “potential” crimes. The group started terrorizing Maycomb County, “Ku Klux got after some Catholics one time…way back about nineteenth twenty there was a Klan, but it was a political organization more than anything”. Blacks are treated unfairly and they always had been, they were feared. In other parts of the world people were treated at the same level of disrespect. Even though they were white they were discriminated on because of their religion. Maycomb believed it was sad because they were white and it was a shame that Hitler didn’t believe that as well. “The [Jews] contribute to every society they live in, and most of all, they are a deeply religious people. Hitler’s is trying to do away with religion, so maybe he doesn’t like them for that reason”. Because of the fears that impose on other races and their beliefs, one tends to isolate themselves from them, simply because that was the right thing to do in this community.

In Maycomb county rumours spread around very fast and then become common knowledge. Because of this one simple rumour that was spread, a person, Arthur Radley, was caught in the middle of it. People in this town said that he was hurting his father, and that he was killing him. After that Boo has been confined to the Radley house, leaving in fear because of the public. “You reckon he’s crazy-If he’s not, he should be by now. The things that happen to people we never really know. What happens in houses behind closed door, what secrets”. When company comes over Boo is afraid to show his face around them. He hides and isn’t seen, maybe because then people would question his sanity and lifestyle. “Atticus’ I said, ‘did you see Mr. Arthur?’, ‘I did not”. After Boo saves Jem from Bob Ewell, Arthur has to show himself to people because he was there to witness the accident. He wasn’t comfortable being out of his house, and was frightened. “When I pointed to [Boo] his palms slipped slightly, leaving greasy sweat streaks on the wall, and he hooked his thumbs in his belt. A strange small spasm shook him, as if he heard fingernails scrape slate…” Any person, no matter how old you are, can process fear. It takes the community to show a person that their fears can be conquered.

In life people experience different levels of fear. It may be a fear for the “ghosts haun
ting mirrors” or the, “monsters under your bed”. Children and teens pass along and make up some of these myths and legends as they start to grow up and understand the meaning of the word fear. Throughout society fear is show in both the black and white races. The blacks are afraid to do socialize with the whites because they might get accused for something. The whites fear the blacks because they don’t think they can be trusted, that they lie and take advantage of white women. Certain individuals can fear stepping out into Maycomb because they fear a community ambush or attack. Anyone in the world at anytime can fear something or someone. It can be a girl or boy, white or black or a young or old person. Humans all experience fear; it’s just a natural fact of life.