To Kill A Mockingbird

Themes: Racism and Innocence

Racism

Racism is displayed in this novel constantly. The big idea behind racism is the trial of Tom Robinson, and even though he is clearly innocent he is found guilty basically because he is black. It is again displayed at the ladies lunch party when Atticus interrupts them to tell Calpurnia and Aunt Alexandra the news that Tom Robinson was shot 17 times and killed because he was trying to escape prison. After they were told they had to go back to the lunch party and act like nothing had happened because they knew that none of the other ladies would care.

Innocence

To Kill A Mockingbird is told from the perspective of an eight year old girl. Throughout the novel Scout Finch sees many things but because of her young age doesn't always know what is going on. During the trial of Tom Robinson when her father is leaving the courtroom she doesn't realize that she should stand as a sign of respect. She is also too young to realize that it is not nice to intrude on people's privacy such as trying to make Boo Radley come out of his house and peeking in his windows. Also when Jem and her are over at Mrs. Dubose's house reading to her she doesn't know what is happening to her when she started to go silent, she doesn't realize that she is having withdrawal effects from the morphine.

How are Racism and Innocence connected

Since this novel is told from the perspective of an eight year old girl she doesn't quite grasp the fact that white people think that they are superior to blacks. So throughout To Kill A Mockingbird you find her continuously associating herself with blacks. First, she goes to church with Calpurnia, then you find her sitting with the black people during the trial of Tom Robinson. She also asks if she can go over to Calpurnia's house to visit but Aunt Alexandra says no and that blacks are trash. She also talks with Mr. Dolphus Raymond during the trial and he hangs around blacks rather than his fellow whites and other white people think that is bad and they look down on him.