In To Kill A Mockingbird

Strong communities define themselves by whom they exclude

QFT Questions and how they are shown in To Kill A Mockingbird

1. What do they (communities) do to exclude someone?

  • Lula from Calpurnia's church is hesitant to allow Jem and Scout to attend the church service
  • The blacks have to sit in a different section of the courtroom from the whites.
  • They don't talk about current news around blacks.
  • When someone has unusual ways of living the town assumes that something is wrong with them and makes them feel unwelcome in the community. (Boo Radley)


In America today there are many ways in which a person is excluded by a community. Although there is no longer segregation some people are still intolerant towards blacks and may exclude them from having certain opportunities. Kids, teens and even adults are also excluded and bullied because they are different in various ways.

2. Who are they excluding/including?

The community of Maycomb excludes:

  • People of different races
  • People that socialize with people of different races
  • People that are different


People that are excluded:

In the 21st century people that are generally excluded include people of different races, special needs people, gays, and people that stand out in various ways.

3. Does being excluded have a positive or negative affect?

In Maycomb:

In Maycomb being excluded has a negative affect. Because the blacks are excluded and segregated from the whites, this has caused the community to not be a whole. People's feelings towards blacks have caused them to exclude a number of people from their life. Because of being excluded, the blacks now don't like the whites and think of them as awful people. The whites intolerance for blacks is the reason that an innocent man like Tom Robinson was accused and convicted of a crime he did not commit. The trial resulted in arguments between the people of Maycomb that believed Tom was being wrongly accused, and the people who didn't.


Being excluded in today's society also has a negative affect. Kids that are bullied and excluded in school start not wanting to come to school and will pretend they are sick just so that they won't have to go. Approximately 160,000 kids stay home everyday because they are afraid and feel unsafe in school. (Bullyingstats) In that case being excluded has interfered with a person's education which can result in a negative affect. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death of young people in America. (Bullyingstats) This also has a negative affect on our country because families everywhere are losing their children because other children are intolerant of them. Our country today is also divided on many important issues involving exclusion. Most of the southern states are opposed to gay marriage have not made it legal, while most northern states have made it legal. This issue has had a negative affect on our country and has caused national controversy. (ProCon)

Understanding The Statement

By relating the QFT questions to To Kill A Mockingbird and society today, my understanding of the statement is that a community that excludes people is not a strong community at all. Everyone that lives in the community is technically part of it, and a strong community would be one where no one is excluded and everyone gets along. A community is defining itself as weak by excluding members in order to make their community stronger.

Harper Lee's message about intolerance:

By reading To Kill A Mockingbird, you can see that one of the main themes of the book is intolerance. Through reading Tom Robinson's story we can see that people in the 1930s were intolerant of people of different races, even when those people had never caused harm to anyone else. Harper Lee shows the reader that judging someone right away based on their appearance is not something you should do, because people are people no matter what they look like.

How this is relevant today:

Harper Lee's message about intolerance is relevant today because people still have prejudices about race. Although there is no longer segregation like back in the 1930s, people of different races still face stereotypes that have been tied to their race.

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"It's right hard to say, suppose you and Scout talked colored-folks' talk at home it'd be out of place, wouldn't it? Now what if I talked white-folks' talk at church and with my neighbors? They'd think I was puttin' on airs to beat Moses." -Calpurnia (Lee 143).

Intolerance Today:

Overall people today are far more tolerant of different races than people that lived in the 1930s. Although there are still racist prejudices and stereotyping in society today, there is no longer segregation in America.

By Jillian Little

Works Cited

"Bullying and Suicide." - Bullying Statistics. N.p., 2013.

"17 States with Legal Gay Marriage and 33 States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans - Gay Marriage -" ProConorg Headlines. ProConorg, 6 Jan. 2014. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.