Abstract Concepts

To Kill A Mockingbird

Denotation, Connotation, and Association

Denotation: noun, an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.

Connotation: It invokes feelings of regret, sympathy for those affected by it, and guilt for those who perpetrated it.

Association: It calls to mind images of civil rights activists being brutally tortured, segregation in the deep South, and even modern xenophobia

Prejudice in our society

Unfortunately, in American society, prejudice is still relevant and very much real. Though illegal, many instances of police brutality towards African-Americans, hate crimes against foreigners and minorities, and gender wage gaps indicate a very real amount of prejudice still existing in America.

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Photo description


This is a picture of whites protesting racial integration during the Jim Crow era in the mid-1950’s. The protesters are demanding that public facilities and schools shouldn’t be racially segregated on the grounds that “Race mixing is communism”. This represents the irrational fears and prejudice that many people had before segregation became illegal. The reason I chose this was because the protesters even went so far as to say that racial equality and integration was just as bad as communism. I found this ironic as race mixing had so many unforeseen benefits, while communism was (and still is) one of the worst movements on the planet, while racial mixing has led us to a better, more progressive America.

Examples of prejudice in TKAM

Boo Radley had a rough upbringing, and was always a little weird to other people. Just because he had problems, and wasn't as "normal" as the other people, he became an outcast. People made up nasty rumors about him, and treated him like a mystery just because he's had a rough life.


Another example is the downgrading of women. Jem always gets mad when Scout starts to "act like a girl." This just shows how women weren't as well respected in these times, and were really looked down upon.

What does prejudice mean to me?

I think prejudice derives from blind hatred, and fear of other races, groups of people, religions, etc. This can range anywhere from ignoring a certain person, to physically harming them. I see prejudice all the time in myself, and everyone around me whether we realize it or not. It's a huge problem that seriously needs to be addressed.

What does courage mean to me?

Courage is when you don't let challenges scare you and keep you from doing something. For me this comes mostly in sports. When I get out on the football field, I can't let the size or speed of the other players scare me, I have to go out with confidence that I can win. But courage can come in many ways for lots of different people.

What does courage look like in TKAM?

After Jem, Scout, and Dill took their Radley games a little too far (they were almost shot, and some of the adults are suspicious of them) Jem realized he left his pants on the fence. Obviously he was terrified of the Radley place, especially at night, and after being shot at. But in order to not be caught, and probably save himself from a lot of trouble, he decided to go back that night to get them. I'd never do that...

Denotation, Connotation, and Association

Denotation: strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief

Connotation: feelings of strength, resistance to negative forces, perseverance during adversity

Association: strong leaders, military heroes and public servants (police/fire fighters)

What does this concept look like in our society?

There are many courageous people in our society, but certainly some of the most recognizable examples of courage have been figures or groups in American history. These are people like American revolutionaries, civil rights activists and soldiers whom almost all of us see as courageous. American revolutionaries had the courage to stand up against one of the world’s top military powers… and won. Civil rights activists had the courage to stand up to racism and prejudice in society in order to better life for others, and soldiers have the courage to stand up for Americans and risk their lives everyday fighting people who want to kill them. These are certainly some of the most recognizable figures within American society and history.
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Picture Description

This is a picture of Ruby Bridges, at the time a 6 year old African-American girl who attended school in New Orleans after the schools were desegregated by a court order. Upon attending school, she was met with daily protests about her going to the school as well as death threats from whites around the school. However, she went to school every day without complaining, showing tremendous courage through her actions. Ruby Bridges represented courage in the face of racism for a while in America, even as a small child. I chose this because it shows that everyone can be courageous, not just a world leader or hero on the news, but an everyday citizen just being courageous through their actions.

What does obligation mean to me?

In our lives, we have lots of things that we do that we just do because we feel like we have to. I feel obligated to treat all races equally, and kind of fit in with them. I just feel like it's something I have to do as a human being.

What does obligation look like in To Kill A Mockingbird?

Calpurnia feels an obligation to respect Jem, and follow tradition. She calls him "Mr. Jem" even though he's just 12. This was obviously custom for black servants, to respect their white families. And Calpurnia just wants to follow this tradition.

What does injustice mean to me?

Injustice to me is when somebody violates the law, or any type of moral conduct. Things such as being racially prejudiced, sexist, murder, or stealing are some prominent examples of injustice. It's a big problem in not just our community, but in our country and even the world. People commit injustices every day.

What does injustice look like in TKAM?

There's a huge injustice committed in TKAM. Tom, an innocent, hardworking, friendly black man is accused of rape. He ends up being found guilty just on the word of a white woman's over his. Eventually he gets shot and killed in prison. This was a terrible tragedy considering it was just a racially charged case.

Denotation, Connotation, and Association

Denotation: lack of fairness or justice

Connotation: An unfair ruling or decision

Association: prejudice, bias, unlawful

What does injustice look like in our society?

In the U.S. I think a lot of times we commit injustices towards Muslims, we just assume that all of them are dangerous, and that they're all violent minded people. But we don't give the peaceful ones a chance to show us their personalities and qualities as well
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Picture description

This picture resembles injustice; it shows starving children in Africa. This is considered unfair because many of us have more than enough food on our tables but none to give. These children go days without eating and there’s nothing they can do about it. I think this pictures embodies injustice and reveals the greed of the more fortunate.