Themes Of To Kill A Mockingbird

– A Novel Of Courage And Pride Essay, Research Paper

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an incredibly emotional novel. The heart felt plot of this book brings out many themes. These themes intertwine to make the story s plot and character twist together wonderfully.

One theme is that an individual s conscience can sometimes contrast with society s values. An example from the book of this theme is Mr. Dolphus Raymond. Mr. Raymond chooses to live with a black woman, which comes in conflict with the town s beliefs. He makes up for this difference by staggering around drinking out of a paper bag in order for people to think he is constantly drunk, therefore having a reason to not change his ways . Another example is Arthur (Boo) Radley who chooses to stay within his house. Many citizens, Scout and Jem included, think this is very strange. This is his choice or belief and it comes in conflict with the community. Perhaps one of the biggest examples of this theme, as well as many others, is Atticus deciding to defend Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a local black man who has been wrongly accused of rape. Going against what his friends and family think, Atticus defends Tom in court although he knows that it is completely useless since Tom is a Negro. This also shows great courage in which will be later discussed.

Another theme is that as children mature they often have problems at home, in school, and in society. As well, adults help influence the way in which their children mature. An example of this is how Jem behaves towards the courts as well as towards Negro people. Jem seems to have great understanding of the court and as well was brought up with the belief from Atticus, his father, that all people should be treated equal. In my opinion this belief has made Jem a better person as well has given him a better outlook on life. Another example is from Mayella, the young woman who accused Tom of rape. She seems to have lived in a very dishonest and poverty-stricken home, and has close to no education. She lives with many younger siblings and her abusive father, none of which helps her at all. This in turn has made her to be a dishonest and illiterate person. A last example is of Scout. She has problems in but because of the way her dad influenced her she learned to walk away from a fight and still be proud.

Another theme that results in this book is that there are different aspects of physical and moral courage. One example of courage is how Mr. Heck Tate stands up against Atticus and refuses to convict either Jem or Boo for killing Mr. Ewell. This is what he believes and he stands up for it no matter what anyone else thinks. Another example is with Mrs. Dubose. She was a morphine addict when she was older. She has shown a great amount of courage by giving this up before she died. It is said by Atticus that she wanted to die beholden to nothing or nobody . Again, a large example of this theme is the way Atticus defends Tom. He shows courage by the way he goes against what everyone else thinks and stays true to himself.

Another theme is that pride is often a vital force in human motivation. A first example is when Scout ignores Mrs. Dubose s comments about her father. She calls Atticus phrases such as nigger-lover and Scout chooses to hold her head up high, keep her pride and ignore the old lady. A second example combines with one earlier, when Scout refuses to fight. She decides to not only keep her pride, but also her father s wish by walking away from a fight with her head still high and still with a proud heart. A last example is with Mr. Ewell. After Atticus came dangerously close to proving that he beats Mayella, his daughter, the only way he can keep his pride is to spit in Atticus face and threaten him. Mr. Ewell also attacks Atticus children out of pride as well as revenge.

A final very important theme is that racial prejudice is often destructive. An example of this is something Atticus once said to Scout. He told her that most often in court if there was a white man s word against a black man s word the white man would almost always win. This is destructive because a man s life can often depend on it as in the case of Tom and Mayella. Another example is the mob who confronted Atticus. Obviously, the men were willing to be violent towards him if he would not hand over Tom Robinson thus having a lethal attitude because of racism. The biggest example of racial destructiveness is also a quotation, this quotation was said by Mr. Heck Tate Tom was a dead man as soon as Mayella screamed. Obviously this is a deadly racial phrase: Tom being black and Mayella white, they would take Mayella s word over Tom s, costing him his life.

As you can see these themes give this novel great feeling. I would suggest this book to another student, or even adult, because you can learn a lot about life from it. To Kill A Mockingbird is an all round great book.



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