Essay, Research Paper
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee does a very effective job of making many different themes come across during the course of the novel. Many characters show that social justice is not always easy to achieve. Also, there theme of many helpless victims comes across. Lastly, growing up is a prevalent theme in the novel. Harper Lee does an excellent job of making these themes come across.
One of the story’s greatest themes is that social justice is not always easy to achieve. It tells the story of one Tom Robinson. Tom is a black man in a racist town who is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit. Atticus believes and tries to show others that all people are created equal, at least under the law. Bob Ewell accused Tom of beating and raping his daughter and only the black families and a handful of whites (including Atticus) seem to believe in his innocence. Therefore his chance of a fair trial was slim. The jury’s racism cuts short an innocence man’s life. Unfortunately, the small southern town’s social values raised white children to think of blacks as the ’second-class’ race. Case closed, Tom must be guilty, no way would a black man’s words go over a white mans. The only white man strong enough to stand up for Tom was Atticus, Scout’s father. “To begin with, this case should never have came to trial. This case is as simple as black and white”. Atticus faces the racism of the town to stand up for his moral beliefs.
Helpless Victims is another theme that one sees as they are reading the novel. Mrs. Dubose is addicted to heroine and soon isn’t able to control her body. She had to have Jem and Scout come read to her because she was so dependent on the drugs, she couldn’t do it herself anymore. Another example that many people can recognize is Tom Robinson. He did not rape Bob Ewell’s daughter, but because he was black, he was prosecuted. He ended up getting shot in jail. Both of these people give us examples of helpless victims throughout the novel.
Harper Lee also shows that many characters grow up during this novel. The perspective of Scout telling the story allows us to see her grow up. Jem’s birthday shows how he grew up throughout the novel. When he and Scout first go to town, he is set on buying a steam engine, which shows his childish side. But when he runs into Mrs. Dubose, he is forced to act grown up. Mrs. Dubose starts to ridicule Atticus for defending Tom Robinson. Instead of yelling at her and letting her know how he feels, Jem walks away quietly. This shows Jem’s mature side and how he is becoming more like an adult. The reader then sees how Jem is still a child when he ruins Mrs. Dubose’s flowers instead of leaving her alone.
As one can see, Harper Lee chooses her themes very carefully so that she can make the story more effective. Characters show that social justice is not always easy to achieve. Helpless victims and growing up are two definite messages that come across during the story. Using these themes, Harper Lee makes To Kill a Mockingbird a very worthy novel to read.