To Kill A Mockingbird Themes

by Trevor Fannon

The book To Kill a Mockingbird Is filled with all sorts of themes. As you follow young Scout growing up in a small town community, you learn many lesson about; life, how best to handle it, and most importantly how to live it.


Integrity

Throughout the book the theme of integrity is brought up. Atticus always bestows advice upon the kids to do what's right. There fore Atticus himself symbolizes integrity, and character. We also see this idea come up in many other places. Of course the obvious being when Atticus takes the Tom Robinson case. He knows that it will not be easy, but it is the right thing to do. He tries as hard as he can to fight for Tom. Even after Tom's death he goes to tell his wife in person, showing true courage. Also another example in the book would be having Jem read to Mrs. Dubose. Atticus insists that he reads to her even if she says these terrible things about him. It shows both Jems, and Atticus's Integrity. Also at the end of the book Atticus fights extremely hard with Mr. Tate for what he believes is the truth. He doesn't want his kids shrouded by a lie, rather it be out in the open. He fights immensely hard for what he thinks is the truth. As you can see the idea of integrity is carried out throughout the whole book, and plays a major role in what this book can teach.

Childhood Innosence & Losing it

Many people ask why the narrater was chosen to be Scout? I think one of the main reasons is so the story could be told through a child, and see this cruel world in the innocent eyes of a child. I think that this theme is expressed in may different ways. At the beginning of the book when the children are playing outside, and act out a scene of "The Radleys". They don't mean any harm in playing this game, yet they know Atticus would be angered with them if he saw them bothering the Radleys again. Also in school when Scout tells her teacher about the Cunninghams and how their family operates she doesn't want to offend them but her teacher thinks differently. She is confused because she thought she stated the obvious, and everyone knew that about the Cunninghams, and it was polite to inform the new teacher. Another showing of this theme is the gifts in the knot-hole. The children are delighted to find them, never seeing the risk. This then also shows up in the case when Jem is dead certain that Tom will win his case, and thinks nothing of it. When the verdict comes back guilty he is crushed. He is heart-struck and oblivious of how this could possibly happen. This shows the innocence he possesses. Contrary After the case Jem is scorned, and grows up. He refuses to play games with Scout anymore, after he was exposed to the real world. Then throughout the rest of the book Jem chooses to converse more with the adults leaving scout alone.

Small Town Life

Growing up in Maycomb County was an essential for Harper Lee to display the theme of small town living. This theme is displayed in many ways. One way is that the children feel fine to always go over to Miss Maudie's whenever they please. They also feel comfortable to ask her any sort of question, even some they don't ask their father. Like why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. They never ask to come over or anything, but just seem to go there when they please like anyone in a small town would. Also in the book Scout knows people by there last name, without even knowing them. For example at school with the Ewells or the Cunninghams. Scout knows what there families are like before she even meets them, just like in a small town. Another point that plays to this is when Miss Maudie has her house fire. The whole town is out helping any way in which they can. Also the not so important overhearing of adult conversation by Scout plays to this theme. Wither it's; the talk about the weather, Miss Stephanie Crawford's prized bunt cake recipe, or the towns constant gossip. These conversation really make the book feel like the small town setting.

Prejudice

The theme prejudice is also one theme that many people take away from this book. In-fact there are even different prejudices inside this theme. First the most popular is racism. The book follows Tom Robinson and his court case. First of all he was wrongly accused because of his race. Also different things throughout the book show this like: Francis calling Atticus a "nigger-lover", also the jury were well aware that tom did not rape Mayela, but did convict him for no reason. There is racism throughout the town, and throughout the book. Another prejudice in the book refers to the social classes of the town. Even though Scout really doesn't mean it when she calls Walter Cunningham out for not being able to pay back the quarter, and tells the teacher they never pay back, she is being prejudice. I think Harper Lee is trying to tell us we don't always mean to do it but sometimes we do, it's just apart of our society to judge people. And finally in the book we see sexist. This is seen when Scout gets a knack for swearing, and wears overalls, and acts "un-lady like". Aunt Alexandria tells scout thats not how a lady acts, and is disappointed in her behavior. Prejudice can be seen all over the book because it is such a major theme.
As you can see there are many themes that play a role in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. All of these themes don't only teach us lessons about the characters and the world they live in, but our own world and who we are as people.