Individually, people can be decent and kind; however, in a mob, people can be judgmental and cruel.
In the classic by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, several mob scenes portray the cruelty carried
in numbers, but also exhibits that that any one person within that mob can have the strength to overcome
the crowd and have the will to speak out. In two specific mobs, one of the Cunnighams proves to have
the scruples to say what they believe deeply believe is right.
The first mob situation occurred just outside of the city jailhouse. Here, the drunken group came with
the intent of seizing and killing the accused felon. The crowd discarded individual convictions, and
affiliated themselves with society's "band-wagon." Yet within this oblivious hoard, one man had the audacity
to prevent the attempted murder- Mr. Cunningham. It took a few small but significant words from Scout to
convert Cunninghams's way of thinking to a more normal fashion. "Let's clear out" was all it took form Cunningham
to remove the men, and go home.
Similarly in the courtroom, another moral dilemma arose: this time within the jury.
Once more, a group of twelve men came with an intent of charging Tom Robinson guilty.
No where did it say the bias jury initially had a guilty verdict in mind, but with the
attitude towards blacks in Maycomb County, Lee made it bluntly obvious that they had no
intention of pronouncing Tom innocent. In the book Atticus made it very clear, "In our courts,
when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins." Just as in
the horde outside the jailhouse, another member of the Cunningham family played the outsider
of this group. Atticus later referred to the unnamed Cunningham, "You might like to know that
there was one fellow who took considerable wearing down-in the beginning he was rarin' for an
outright acquittal." Even though this Cunningham was not able to hold his ground, he held his
position for over two hours while arguing with his peers. It was a courageous act all in itself.
Lee may have tried to express society's views threw the use of the mobs. Each mob contained
men of different occupations, classes, and life-styles; but, were bonded with a common trait- hatred.
Humans are not born hating each other; therefor, they have to learn it in life. The men in the
in the mobs inherited this trait from their environment in Maycomb. Some of them were able to realize
the naivete involved in hatred. With the bonds shared inside the community, a person may have felt
reserved in asserting his or her ideas. This is most likely why Mr. Cunningham initially joined
the mob, and why the other Cunningham gave in to the others in the jury. Anybody can be a scrupulous
and gentle person, but when a person becomes part of a collective is when their convictions come to the test.
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