This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

How Themes Affect The Characters In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1094 words - 5 pages

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a novel by Harper Lee in which she describes life of a small community in a tiny Southern town around the time of the Great Depression. This novel highlights the many problems and good things about society in that time period, and these characteristics are shown through the actions of the characters of this community that Lee has made. There are themes that can be made to represent these ideas, and three major ones that are notable and exemplary would be racism, innocence, and bravery. These themes are noteworthy because they greatly affect characters in the novel and there are many things that are brought to light about ideas revolving around them. At times, what seems to be one thing related to a theme might change through a character’s actions, which might change the meaning of that theme from the reader’s perspective. Essentially, these three themes can tell much of what goes on, why it goes on, and how.
Racism is something that has always plagued the South, and the small county of Maycomb that Lee has created is no different. One of the major forms of racism that is revealed during the course of events in the novel is when a young black man named Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white girl on account of the girl’s father, in other words this is an example of whites vs. blacks in law. Tom Robinson was disadvantaged in the case, even though in his testimony, he said how Mayella “says she never kisses a grown man before an’ she might as well kiss a nigger” (260). Even so, Tom just “breaks into a blind raving charge at the fence and starts climbing over” (315). This is when he is jailed for his supposed “crime”, and the prison guards end up shooting him to death, with precisely “seventeen bullet holes in him” (315). Atticus (Jem and Scout’s father) feels that the reason that Tom took such a dangerous chance was because “Tom was tired of white men’s chances and preferred to take his own” (315). In other words, Tom felt that he couldn’t rely upon white men to decide his fate, and that it would be more reliable to take a chance. However, it resulted in his death. Based on one of the pieces of evidence given by Tom, in which he says that Mayella wanted to kiss him, it can be said that there was also a feeling of “white supremacy” involved. Why would the citizens of Maycomb, such as those on jury, prefer to believe that a black man raped a white girl, rather than the fact that a white girl was seducing a black man? Based on the way that people felt about relationships between blacks and whites (e.g. when Dolphus Raymond tells Scout and co. about because of his marriage with a black woman and him being white, people “...could never, never understand that I live like I do because that’s the way I want to live” (268).), it can be said that people simply felt that it would be better to support their own race rather than another even if they were wrong. Since the residents of Maycomb County had trouble accepting anything...

Find Another Essay On How Themes Affect the Characters in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee's Novel: To Kill a Mockingbird

1108 words - 5 pages The themes of racism and innocence are explicit in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird. There are many examples of discrimination in the story where one’s innocence is lost. Arthur Radley is isolated in his own home because of the spread of false rumors. Racism causes Tom Robinson, a black man to lose his life, even though he is innocent. Those who support blacks are judged, like Atticus, Jem and Scout. How does discrimination affect those

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

1251 words - 6 pages understanding the situation from using her experience of what Atticus explained about how it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird that only is helping other and doing no harm. Inclusively there are many examples that acme the innocence of certain characters throughout the book alongside their experience. Nevertheless, Scout appears to be a stronger character to choose as this book is about her and her life. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee took

Harper Lee's, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

578 words - 2 pages Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mockingbird tells both the story of a family and of the entire town in which they live, when both are placed into a scandalous moral and ethical dilemma; a conflict that tests the limits of their bravery and the power of their courage. One of the novel's primary concerns is courage, and its narrator, Scout Finch (a girl not yet six at the novel's start), sees the true nature of courage in her father. The intellectual and

The Themes in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

1116 words - 4 pages The novel To Kill a Mockingbird succeeds in portraying the lifestyle of a relaxed southern town in theearly 20th century. It shows the families, feelings, and bigotry of the time. There are three main themes in the novel,which are: justice is not blind, mob rule is not the way to solve things, and that you shouldn't fear or resentsomething that hasn't done anything to disturb life. These themes are true in the novel and are also true in

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

3901 words - 16 pages Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird During the 1930s, during the time when the novel was set, society was very different to what it is now. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is Harper Lee's story about life in a small town in Southern America during the 1930s. The story is based in the state of Texas, Alabama, in this state slavery was very common and because of this it became to be known as the "Slave State". The

Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"

833 words - 3 pages Aristotle once said "the law is reason free from passion" and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of what happens when the two are introduced, at the expense of justice. The purpose of all laws is, supposedly, justice: the force of sound reason and fairness. The trial court system is the global standard of fairness, but in the novel, it fails to deliver justice to the town of Macomb. The novel illustrates the failures of the

Harper Lee's novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

1010 words - 4 pages The description of Scout in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is seen from the development of a child's eyes; the many experiences and lessons learned are carried through her adulthood. Scout Finch is a young girl who lives with her older brother, Jem, and her father, Atticus. Being a kid, Scout has the simple tasks of a child, to have fun and to stay out of trouble. However, along the way, she learns many important things. Scout learns

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

1094 words - 4 pages . Harper Lee effectively asserts this opinion in a humorous and entertaining way in To Kill a Mockingbird, making her message—home education is preferable to public education—both powerful and effective, even if it was not the most popular opinion of her day. Works Cited Gatto, John Taylor. "Against School: How public education cripples our kids and why." Harper's Magazine September 2003. Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. Ney York, New

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

2156 words - 9 pages Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird "To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee was published in 1960 and was adapted into a play by Christopher Sergal and published in 1980. It tells the story of a court case when a black man gets accused of raping a white woman. The black man, Tom Robinson is defended by the a lawyer called Atticus Finch. Atticus is one of the few people in Maycome who have a bit of money an can read and write very well

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

1150 words - 5 pages the final paragraphs of the book, as she refers to the Gray Ghost: “an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice….” (Lee, 281)         “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is a book primarily focused on racial prejudice, but it is even more focused on the prejudices of each day.  Scout learns, over the events of the story, how to treat anyone she meets; be they outliers, opponents, or enigmas; with respect and dignity.  Through experience and maturation, she finally learns to “climb into [one’s] skin and walk around in it.” Works Cited Citations To Kill A Mockingbird; Harper Lee By Bradley Ansell

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - 1145 words

1145 words - 5 pages To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee is novel set in a three year period through the ‘great depression’. Atticus Finch (Jem and scouts father) is originally portrayed as a friendly and understanding person, though when he attends court defending a ‘black man’ as his job, suddenly he and his family begin to suffer racial hatred from their community. The story features on the themes of racism, community morals and the realisation of certain

Similar Essays

The Complex Themes In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

923 words - 4 pages The award winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, may appear to be a simple story about childhood and life in a Southern town in Alabama, but it is really a complex novel dealing with themes of education, moral courage, and tolerance. Through the eyes of Scout Finch, the narrator, Harper Lee teaches the reader about the importance of a moral education, bravery and courage, and prejudice vs. tolerance. The first theme Harper Lee

The Mockingbirds In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

737 words - 3 pages The significance of the store To Kill a Mockingbird is the expression mocking bird appears in the story lots of times. Also the most significant novel in this whole book is the mockingbird symbol. Another significant part of the story is the definition of a mockingbird and it is a type of Finch, it’s also a small bird who likes to sing. It got the name mockingbird because when it sings it is mocking other birds. (http://www.allfreeessays.com

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

3513 words - 14 pages Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird, both as a novel and as a film, shows how time can change the way society views the importance of certain issues, such as racism. Because it was written during the civil rights movement, many people protested against it for conveying issues of prejudice between the north and the south. However, after time, the novel gradually became accepted. It is now a world-renowned classic, and it

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1045 words - 4 pages Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird Courage is the quality of mind that enables one to face danger with confidence, resolution, and gain a firm control of oneself. Many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird showed courage in their own way. Courage can come in many different forms: physical, mental, emotional and moral. Courage is not the only main theme displayed in To Kill a Mockingbird; prejudice and education are also very important