To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


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The book, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a timeless classic about the coming of age of a small southern town and it’s people. The book follows Jem and Scout, two siblings living in the 1930’s in a small southern town. Their father, Atticus, is a lawyer who is hired to defend a black man who is accused of rape. The children watch the town and the trial change and grow. Atticus loses the trial and Tom Robinson, the man who is being accused of rape gets killed by prison guards. The whole town is in an uproar. Some people are furious, some are pleased, and others see it as no big deal. But for Jem and Scout it is a time for them to grow up and face the harsh realities of life. The three main themes in To Kill A Mockingbird are “racism”, “hypocrisy”, and “the world of adults”.

The main theme in To Kill A Mockingbird is “racism”. Maycomb has both a black and white community. Both sides have racial views against the other. When Jem and Scout go to the black church a woman comes out and says, “You Ain’t got no business bringin’ white chillun here – they got their church, we out ours.” (Pg. 119) Both communities are hostile towards each other. When a black man is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is still found guilty because of his skin color. It is stated in the book, “In our courts, when its white man’s word against a black man’s, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” (Pg. 220) However not all of the white people agree with this. Most of them think that Tom Robinson is guilty just because of the color of his skin.

The second main theme in To Kill A Mockingbird is “hypocrisy”. Mrs. Merriweather talks about saving the poor Mrunas from Africa, but she thinks the black people in her community are a disgrace. She states, “At least we have the deceit to say to ‘em yes you’re as good as we are but stay away from us. Down here we just say you live your way and we’ll live ours.” (Pg. 234) But for the Mrunas she says, “I made a pledge in my heart. I said to myself, when I go home I’m going to give a course on the Mrunas…to Maycomb and that’s just what I’m doing.

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” (Pg. 231) Mrs. Merriweather likes to think she is a good person, but truly she does not want to have to actually deal with the problem.

The third main theme in To Kill A Mockingbird is “the world of adults”. At the beginning of the book Scout is just starting first grade, and by the end she has seen more things than some adults. Scout does not like to act ladylike, but in some cases she realizes that it is necessary. During a dinner party they find out that Tom Robinson has been killed. Scout does not know how to act, but she sees that her aunt acts, as she must, “If Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.” (Pg. 257) Jem also must act like a young man. Jem and Scout are attacked one Halloween night, and Jem has to keep brave to protect his sister and save his life. “We were nearly to the road when I felt Jem’s hand leave me, felt him jerk backwards to the ground. More scuffling, and their came a dull crunching sound and Jem screamed.” (Pg. 262)

The three themes most relevant in To Kill A Mockingbird are “racism”, “hypocrisy”, and “the world of adults”. Each theme has a special a meaning in the book. Racism is important because of the Tom Robinson trial. Tom loses just because of his skin color. Hypocrisy is another big issue. Many of the people in Maycomb have good wishes, but do not actually want to live up to there ideas. Jem and Scout entering into the world of adults happens all throughout the book. They each realize that adult life is a lot different then their sheltered life as children. The three themes most relevant in To Kill A Mockingbird are “racism”, “hypocrisy”, and “the world of adults”.


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