Themes In To Kill A Mockingbird

By Maureen Dolan

By Harper Lee

Theme 1: Bravery/Courage

Jem, Dill and Scout

I think that bravery and courage is a theme that comes up a lot in this book. First when Jem, Dill and Scout go to the Radley Place and Jem loses his pants. He is brave enough to go back even when he knows that he could get shot at for real and not just to scare him off.

Mrs. Dubose

Mrs. Dubose has a lot of courage to get over her morphine addiction. When Jem read to her, it helped her get over her addiction. When Atticus had to shoot the dog, it took him a lot of courage to do it.


Atticus used this as an opportunity to tell the kids that sometimes you have to do something even if your scared or know you are going to lose. Atticus has to defend a black man in court and he know that he is going to lose. During this time no one likes blacks and they will never win in a court room.


When Scout goes to see what Atticus is doing one night, she sees and goes and saves him. She runs into the middle of a group of men standing outside the jail. I think that she has a lot of bravery here because she could have gotten into a lot of trouble and hurt.

Theme 2: Growing Up


Jem is a young boy and he grows into half of a man in this novel. When you grow up you always have really good times in your life and some worse times. Some good times when Jem was growing up was when Dill came to Maycomb and he and Jem grew close to each other and had a lot of fun. Boys will be boys when it comes to hanging out and having fun. Jem and Dill go over to the Radley Place the last night that Dill is in town for the summer. Jem gets his pants stuck and when Atticus asks where they are Dill covers for him. When Scout and Jem built the snowman shows that all children will have a good childhood and spend time bonding with their siblings. A couple bad times when Jem was growing up was when Ms. Maudies house burnt down. I think whenever something bad happens to your neighbors or friends everyone involved is affected. Just like when Atticus is defending Tom Robinson and loses. Jem knows what is right and he is very angry. One day when Scout is playing with bugs he starts getting mad and tells her to leave them alone because they didn't do anything to harm her. He is just going through a stage and when he gets the first hairs on his chest he is very proud of himself becoming a man.


Scout has grown up a lot in this novel and she has a lot more growing up to do. She starts school which is a big change in any young child's routine when they are just starting to go. Her teacher has a lot of school rules that she doesn't have to follow at home. Her father and big brother always try to tell her what is right and what is wrong to do. When her Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them before the trial, she teaches them politeness and good manners. Scout's Aunt is trying to make Scout act more like a girl. Scout learns a lot of lessons when she is growing up. She learns that it is never okay to harm something that didn't do anything wrong. Like Mockingbirds, bugs and Boo Radley. She also learns more about her father. She learns that he is good at shooting rifles and other things too. She has to learn that you can't just always beat someone up when they tell you something mean or something you don't want to hear.

Theme 3: Justice


Atticus has to make some decisions. He is required to defend a black man at a trial. Tom Robinson was accused of raping a white woman. Atticus could either not try because he knew that he was going to lose, or he could try and make the black people and Tom happier. During the trial he always called the others Mr. or Missus. He did it our of respect and it was just his behavior as a lawyer. He also knows that he has to shoot the rabid dog otherwise it could get others sick. It was just the right thing to do, so he did it to protect the community.


Calpurnia notices that Jem is growing up so she starts to call him Mr. Jem. Sometimes she did it because she was angry with him, but the other times he was doing it to respect him maturing and becoming an adult. When she takes the children to her church she talks to the people there differently than she does at the Finch's house. She has two different behaviors depending who she is talking to and where she is at.

Jury/ Jem/ Scout

Jem and Scout know what the right thing to do is. They are usually good behaved children and when they aren't they are disciplined. During the trial of Tom Robinson Jem, Scout, and the jury all know that Tom is innocent but the jury still vote him guilty.