Abstract Concepts

By Michelle Lew and Allie Lewis

Denotation: Unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethical, racial, social, or religious group.

Connotation: Fear, inequality.

Association: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (even though we have yet to read the

book), Adolf Hitler, segregation in America.


What Prejudice Means To Us: Prejudice invokes feelings of disappointment because of the fact that prejudice towards other people who are different from us occurs quite often in history. Prejudice has led to the death of numerous races and inaccurate opinions towards specific races, ethnicities, or religions. Currently, we are seeing prejudice more often in society, especially when we see people stereotype all Muslims as extremists (portrayed in the picture below), or when we see the lingering effects of racism towards blacks in America. This saddens us because it makes us realize the harsh reality that prejudice continues to exist after years of history.


Reference in To Kill A Mockingbird: Scout continually discriminates against black people and acknowledges them as “n-ggers” until chapter 9 where she addresses them as “Negroes”.


Reference in Real Life: Donald Trump against the immigration Muslims and Hispanics,

with favorable bias towards white males; people stereotyping all Muslims as extremists

because of ISIS.


Picture: This picture depicts a Muslim woman wearing a hijab while walking through the hallways of a school. She receives many indignant and disgusted stares, and we can tell that she is struggling to fit in because of prejudice. These hostile and inaccurate impressions represent the prejudice prevalent in our current society. We chose this specific picture because of how we identified with the school environment, and how relatable this was to our country, with all of the current terrorist attacks that people mistakenly group Muslims as a whole into.

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Denotation: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger,

pain, etc. without fear.

Connotation: Bravery, valiant soldiers, heroism, fearlessness.

Association: Martin Luther King Jr, Malala, mothers who go through labor, FDR’s famous

speech… “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”


What Courage Means To Us: Courage to us is not being afraid of the unknown. We

become more courageous as we grow older, and what we fear fluctuates from

something that may seem as frivolous as the monster under our beds when we were

kids to not being able to pay the bills as an adult. We aspire to be more courageous, and

our role models include civil rights activists, like Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks,

and people who are unafraid to go against the grain of society, like Malala. Courage goes

hand-in-hand with fear in a way, because we cannot have courage without fear, yet

without fear we have courage (that is a chiasmus!).


Reference in To Kill A Mockingbird: Courage can be seen in Jem when he faces the Radley house and runs to touch it at the command of Dill. Courage can be seen in Atticus as he defends Tom Robbinson at the disapproval of most of the town. Scout portrays courage when she stands up for herself and her father to Francis and Mrs. Dubose. Mrs. Dubose herself shows insane amounts of courage when she decides to get over her addiction before she dies.


Reference In Real Life: Courage is the ability to do something that you

are afraid of. In our society, courage can be seen in firefighters, policemen, and

lifeguards. A lesser though of example of courage is shown in the pain women go through during labor, a child going to its first day of school, a kid standing up to a bully, and even a young adult going out into the real world for the first time.


Picture: In this picture, the cat is walking in front of a line of german shepherds who can easily sit up and chase after the cat. Not only is disaster easy in this scenario, but it almost seems inevitable. This being said, this cat is showing true courage because it knows that things could go badly for it, yet it walks on and faces its fear. Also, not only is this cat facing its fear of dogs, it’s also walking through a puddle of water. Folks, anything is possible; this cat proves this.

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Denotation: Something by which a person is bound or obligated to do certain things,

which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.

Connotation: Apprehension, doing something you may not want to do, chores, doing friends favors.

Association: Responsibilities, law, abiding by rules, promises, morals.


What Obligation Means To Us: When someone mentions the word “obligation”, we have uneasy feelings of having to do something, even if we don’t want to. For example, as students, we are obligated to do well in school, and as children, we feel like we are obligated to do our chores because we are under the authority of our parents. Sometimes, we feel as if we need to tell white lies in order to protect our friends’ feelings, whether it be complimenting them on their look or congratulating them on something that may not seem above average.


Reference in To Kill A Mockingbird: In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout feels obligated to conform to the harsh social structure of society because she values what Atticus tells her. This can be seen whenever Atticus asks Scout if she’s okay with Aunt Alexandra staying at their house. Scout said that she would like it very much if she stayed with them, and expands upon what she really feels in the first-person narrative by saying that she lied, but “...one must lie under certain circumstances and at all times when one can’t do anything about them.”


Reference In Real Life: In our society, obligation can be seen in everyday life. As a parent, obligation means to take care of your children and love them unconditionally. Parents are obliged to be responsible for their children and raise them the way they should be raised. As students, we are expected to do what we are told and follow the rules. We are also obligated to pass and move up to the next level of education. As well as these, obligation can be seen in social occurrences such as a “guy code” or “girl code”, owing a favor for a friend, or even pulling your side of a bet.


Picture: I feel like it is my responsibility to help out around the house and take part in doing my chores because my parents have been cleaning up after me for a huge portion of my life when I didn’t know any better. Because I am conscious of my actions and I can clean up after myself i see this as an obligation.

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Denotation: The quality or fact of being unjust; inequity.

Connotation: Fear, sadness, anger, bitterness, corruption.

Association: Guilty without reason, deprivation of rights, civil rights movement in America.


What Injustice Means To Us: To us, injustice is something we should try to prevent in society. We have already seen the negative effects of what injustice towards other people does in society and in history. Therefore, I believe that we have an obligation to help those who are unjustly treated, even if their life won’t affect us directly. To ignore these injustices would be a sin, like it was a sin to kill a mockingbird, so we cannot turn a blind eye to them.


Reference in To Kill A Mockingbird: When Tom Robinson was accused guilty of raping Mayella Ewell, the evidence that was supposed to prove him guilty instead pointed the obvious blame away from him. Even so, the jury convicted him guilty because of the color of his skin, not because of the evidence that they found. This is a huge example on injustice because even though it was obvious that Robinson was innocent, no one spoke up for him except Atticus.


Reference In Real Life: Injustice in our current society can be seen in the deprivation of rights of oppressed peoples. For example, Muslims in America may receive feelings of resentment or hate because of the actions of terrorists. People unjustly group all Muslims into the stereotype that all are extremists that seek to terrorize society. This injustice goes hand in hand with prejudice, because without prejudice, we would not have injustice.


Picture: In this picture Martin Luther King is addressing the problem of racial injustice and prejudice. In this time period, a black man accused of harming a white man or woman would most likely be convicted guilty no matter what evidence proves him guilty. MLK was part of a movement that rallied against social injustice for blacks and held marches against it.

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