Wisely, though, Lee manages to tie racial prejudice to the many other forms of prejudice we all face every day of our life. Remarkably, the novel begins by focusing not on the racial prejudice that dominates much of the story but, instead, on the kind of insidious prejudice endured by those who dare to be different in a small-town neighborhood. People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him. People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows. When people's azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them. Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work. Once the town was terrorized by a series of morbid nocturnal events: people's chickens and household pets were found mutilated; although the culprit was Crazy Addie, who eventually drowned himself in Barker's Eddy, people still looked at the Radley Place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions. Obviously Scout and her older brother Jem, because they are young, are not immune to the kind of ridiculous prejudice that follows those who, for one reason or another, are different from those around them. The things that happen to people behind closed doors, what secrets" the reader slowly realizes that Boo has been the victim of child abuse , or at least child neglect. Because of her prejudice, though, Scout is unable to recognize that Boo expresses his fondness for her and Jem by leaving them gifts: Jem let me do the honors: I pulled out two small images carved in soap. One was the figure of a boy; the other wore a crude dress. Before I remembered that there was no such thing as hoodooing, I shrieked and threw them down. Jem snatched them up. He rubbed the figures free of red dust. They were almost perfect miniatures of two children. The boy had on shorts, and a shock of soapy hair fell to his eyebrows. I looked up at Jem. A point of straight brown hair kicked downwards from his part. I had never noticed it before. Jem looked from the girl-doll to me. The girl-doll wore bangs. So did I. And later, when Boo covers her with a blanket during the fire, this simple act of kindness nearly causes Scout to faint "Thank who? You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket around you. It is not only those who are stereotyped who are victims of prejudice; the very ones who are prejudiced also suffer not only because they cannot see the truth but because they are denied the possibility of benefiting from the relationship. Scout realizes throughout the novel that she, too, is the victim of another form of prejudice, though she is not sophisticated enough at first to realize it is discrimination: Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea set, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father's lonely life. It seems remarkable that such sexism can pervade the very churches where women seem to be the staunchest supporters. Of course, the reason these forms of prejudice are often overlooked in this novel is that the racism that dooms Tom Robinson when he tries to help Mayella Ewell is much more dramatic. Even Atticus' immediate family is prejudiced: Grandma [aunt Alexandra] says it's bad enough he lets you all run wild, but now he's turned out a nigger-lover we'll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again. He's ruinin' the family, that's what he's doin. We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship," she said. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced.
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