• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

themes in to kill a mocking bird

Extracts from this document...


Racism and Acceptance Nothing more pervades the novel than the ideas of racism and acceptance. Atticus has built a whole value system around the idea that a person must examine and respect who people are and where they come from. This includes even the most unsavory characters like Bob Ewell and Mrs. Dubose. When others would rather forget about these people, Atticus takes the time to understand them. This is a value Atticus passes onto his children as well. Towards the end of the novel Scout says, "I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." She understands Atticus' belief that all human beings must be accepted and treated equally. But Atticus must also live these beliefs, not just voice them, which is why he takes the case of Tom Robinson. When no one in the town will stand by Tom, Atticus is there for him, defending him to the best of his abilities. Tom is a African-American in a small Southern town and very few people would act as Atticus does. Racism is cultural and runs very deep in the town of Maycomb. Even those who believe in Tom's innocence will not stand up for him. It would be against the social mores of most people to defend a black man, especially in a case that contradicts the word and honor of a white woman. But Atticus stands for what he knows is right, and his children learn from this. We watch them mature into people who look into a persons soul and life and don't make judgments based on race or social status. ...read more.


She sees herself as a lady, and that her families fine breeding leaves them separated from people like the Cunninghams, the Ewells, and any African American. Although she sympathizes with Tom's plight, she believes that Atticus should not take on his case. Aunt Alexandra's notions of right and wrong do not include all people equally, and the town operates the same way. It is Atticus who is the standard of a new code. Atticus stands up for right, no matter the situation. When other put parameters around who they will help, Atticus stands by anyone in need, regardless of their race or social standing. And Atticus goes beyond just helping others, he takes the time to understand them. He points out to Scout that to truly understand a person you must get inside their skin and walk around in it for awhile. Atticus does this with all the people he associates with. Rather than writing people off as "trash" or social deviants, he analyzes people and comes to a greater understanding of them. Unlike Aunt Alex, Atticus' code requires understanding, sympathy and consistency among all people. Courage "Courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what" According to Atticus Finch, an honest lawyer in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird teaches the children that courage can be portrayed as both physical bravery and strength, but fighting for what is right regardless of whether you win or lose takes more strength in character, and is ultimately more courageous. ...read more.


They later learn through both the words and actions of Atticus and the harsh lesson taught by Mrs. Dubose that courage takes more than bravery and physical strength. It is both emotional and psychological. Given that, we learn that because Scout and Jem's realisation of real courage, they display to the reader courage within themselves. InnocenceThe book is called to kill a mocking bird because it is about losing ones innocence. As the story progresses, the characters grow and learn some of the hard lessons of life. Scout grows up by learning that she has to be a lady to some people and to be herself around others. Jem learns that not all men are treated equal. scout learns this as well and is upset by it. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing--but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs. They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee, p. 90). This quote shows the reader that we shouldn't destroy a person's innocence, but that we should revere it. Also, that we should treasure it as long as we can. Scout is usually the one compared to the mockingbird in this story for numerous reasons. This is because of her age and her naivety. She is unaware that the things she does reflect upon herself. She is also compared to a mockingbird because she usually brings joy into the lives she touches but is unaware of it. Although she is not the only character in To Kill a Mockingbird, she is the most obvious in her innocence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To Kill a Mocking Bird. In this essay, I will explore the ways in ...

    5 star(s)

    comradeship which is seen through Scout and Jem, the Radleys show a cold and lonely family life which is displayed when Nathan Radley-Arthur's brother- "fills their tree" (where the children find presents from Boo) with cement. Nathan's actions are seen to be morally wrong as he broke his brother's only

  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird: Atticus Finch

    Most of the time Jem and his father seem to get on very well, but there were parts in the novel where they did not agree on certain things: "I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but I ain't sure now!"

  1. To Kill a Mocking Bird. Atticus teaches Jem and Scout many important lessons ...

    He knew that he could never win the case, even if he tried his hardest. He knew that it was the right thing to do. He knew that it was the right thing to do, because Tom Robinson was a helpless man that was asking him for his help.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    There is good in Mayella (her flowers are the only beautiful thing at the Ewell residence, and Scout thinks that Mayella seems to make an effort to keep herself clean) but her actions seem motivated by cowardice: her initial reluctance to say Tom's name when asked to tell the court

  1. Mrs dubose, mocking bird

    For example, in this chapter he teaches scout and Jem how to be tolerant and to understand situations from another point of view.

  2. Compare and contrast how the role of childhood is presented in the novels To ...

    The damage done to her self-esteem was reinforced powerfully by an incident in Pauline Breedlove's workplace. Pecola had to go to the house were her mother was housekeeper to collect some washing. The daughter of that comfortable home was blonde with blue eyes and Pauline doted on her.

  1. Prejudice is one of the main themes in 'To Kill a Mocking Bird'. Write ...

    Atticus says that no landowners will begrudge Bob Ewell any game he kills, because it is sometimes the only source of food the children get. Even with these many faults the Ewells are received with a higher status and well being, than any of the well living and good Negroes.

  2. According to Atticus Finch, one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird, ...

    Standing up for his morals and ethics was more important then what people thought about him. Atticus knows he will not win the case and like Mrs. Dubose in her battle against morphine, he is "licked" before he begins. Atticus's strong sense of morality and justice motivates him to defend

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work