To Kill A Mockingbird
The small town of Maycomb is clearly separated into different social groups. They are a normal part of life and everyone knows which "group" they belong to and how they fit in. Jem believes social status comes from how long your family has resided in the area. Scout doesn't understand what makes someone better than someone else. Throughout the story it becomes clear to Scout that her family ranks higher than a family like the Ewells or the Negros. However, she still doesn't understand why it is like that. When Scout wants to spend time with Walter Cunningham, Aunt Alexandra refuses to let her because she doesn't believe their family should associate with them.
During this time blacks and whites weren't allowed to associate with each other and they had their own separate areas and places. White people looked down on blacks and thought very little of them. The Finch family has a black cook named Calpurnia. Scout and Jem go to church with Calpurnia and notice many differences in how they live. For one they aren't able to read and they have no hymn books. When Scout asks if she may visit Calpurnia her aunt tells her no, that she is not to associate herself with black people. This is hard for Scout to understand because Calpurnia has always been like family to her. The racism becomes even more apparent throughout the book when the trial begins and Scout sees how people treat Tom Robinson. In the end Tom is convicted of a crime that he didn't commit just because he was black and the supposed victim was white.