Themes of To Kill A Mockingbird

By Abby Ramsey


One of the main themes from To Kill A Mockingbird was equality. One of the first signs of equality is when Jem started to get older and his priorities changed from always playing with Scout to wanting to be alone at times, all Scout wanted was to be seen as an equal to her brother and still be seen as his friend. In the beginning Scout is seen as his friend, but once he goes through a phase he starts seeing her as just a younger sister. Finally, in the end he starts seeing her as an equal again and treating her like a friend. Also, in the beginning of the story Scout and Atticus have to have a discussion about why some people in Maycomb are treated differently than others, such as how the Ewells don't have to attend school because of who they are and how the Cunningham's shouldn't receive handouts because they are too poor to pay it back. Even from the beginning Scout thinks that they should be treated just like everyone else, have to go to school like everyone else, and accept handouts when they are needed because that is the neighborly thing to do. Another example of equality was the Tom Robinson case. Scout sees that he should be treated like the whites and not be discriminated against, but majority of the town doesn't agree with her. Throughout the story, the blacks are treated very different than the whites. Whites and blacks have their own churches, communities, and whites are shunned if seen with blacks. The white jury prosecutes him even after knowing that he was not responsible for the crime just because he's a black. Only a few of Maycomb's citizens end up agreeing with Scout's family that blacks should be treated the same as whites, but after the Tom Robinson case some people start to see that no one deserves to be treated like that. Overall, as Scout grows up she realizes that no one is any better than anyone else and everyone should have the same opportunities.


Friendship is another theme that is brought up throughout To Kill A Mockingbird. One of the relationships that grows the most throughout the novel is the relationship between the adults and Scout. When she's younger she sees her elders as a roll models, but once she grows older she learns that she can confide in them and learn a lot from their wise advice. One of the biggest shows of how strong friendship is when Miss. Maudie's house burns down in a fire. Friendship is shown here because the whole community got up in the early hours of the morning to help her fight the fire and save the most things from her home. This goes to show that true friends will do anything for you. One of the strangest friendships is the relationship shared between the children and Boo Radley. Throughout the story Boo's help toward the children grows. Their friendship starts off when Boo manages to leave the children presents in the tree, without expecting anything in return. Even during the fire, Boo is able to sneak up behind the children and cover them in a blanket, just so they won't get cold. He also sews Jem's pants and leaves them for him, making it easier for Jem to go unnoticed by Nathan Radley and most likely escape death. Lastly, he makes the biggest impact on their lives when he saves Jem and Scout from being killed by killing Bob Ewell. Another example of friendship in To Kill A Mockingbird is the friendship shared between Dill, Jem, and Scout. Throughout the story, Jem and Scout do things for each other to protect each other so they won't get in trouble. Such as when Jem's pants got stuck in the fence and Scout made sure Atticus didn't wake up and catch him. Overall, in To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee emphasizes the importance of friendship to her readers.


Throughout To Kill A Mockingbird the theme of courage is brought up. Atticus shows Jem and Scout that even if you know you are going to fail, you have to try your hardest anyway. He shows them this by accepting the job of being Tom Robinson's lawyer even when he knows the jury won't go in his favor because Tom is a black man. Even though Atticus knows its not going to go in his favor, he tries his hardest to make Tom's case. Atticus risks his families name and his safety to defend a man no one trusts. The theme of courage is brought up again with Mrs. Dubose. Courage is shown because she is addicted to morphine and knows she is going to die. Even though she knows she's going to die she weans herself off of morphine so she is able to say she died without being addicted. Another example of courage in To Kill A Mockingbird is when Jem goes back to the Radley's to retrieve his pants even though he knows he might get caught, or ever worse shot by Nathan Radley. Courage is also showed the many times that the children do dares with the Radley house, such as the time they risked getting caught by Nathan Radley and Atticus while trying to send Boo a note through the broken shutters. Overall, Harper Lee stresses in To Kill A Mockingbird that having courage is always important.