Themes in To Kill A Mockingbird

Themes and some quotes from important characters :)

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  • Themes in To Kill A Mockingbird
    • Prejudice
      • Racism
        • Tom Robinson
          • Not introduced in person until the middle of the book - allows the reader to make their own judgement of his innocence from what the people of  Maycomb say about him. Also allows us to learn about the people of Maycomb.
          • Tom has no chance - the prejudices held by the white community are overwhelming and unrelenting. Everyone assumes that rape is in the nature of a black man and therefore no amount of logic can convince them otherwise.
      • Dolphus Raymond
        • Dolphus demonstrates the lengths people have to go to to fit into society
          • "When I come to town, […] if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond's in the clutches of whiskey—that's why he won't change his ways. He can't help himself, that's why he lives the way he does" Chapter 20
      • Boo Radley
        • As the children grow in maturity throughout the book, Boo becomes more real to them.
          • Growing Up
        • Boo and Tom both represent the mockingbirds of the book - they are characters who, although innocent, have been affected by the evil of others.
          • Tom Robinson
            • Not introduced in person until the middle of the book - allows the reader to make their own judgement of his innocence from what the people of  Maycomb say about him. Also allows us to learn about the people of Maycomb.
            • Tom has no chance - the prejudices held by the white community are overwhelming and unrelenting. Everyone assumes that rape is in the nature of a black man and therefore no amount of logic can convince them otherwise.
        • Boo progresses throughout the novel in importance. Starts off as a superstition but develops into the personification of good.
      • The Ewells
      • Social Status
      • Scout and Jem learn that there is more to people than meets the eye.
        • E.g. They misjudge their own father as boring and normal with little time for them until the shooting of the mad dog
    • Women
      • Mrs Dubose
      • Miss Maudie
        • Uses her wit to counter-act the expected docility of women at the time.
          • "Stephanie Crawford even told me once she woke up in the middle of the night and found him looking in the window at her. I said what did you do, Stephanie, move over in the bed and make room for him? That shut her up a while." Chapter 5
        • Treats the children with respect - which they return. Doesn't baby them - tells them the turth
        • "The handful of people in this town who say that fair play is not marked White Only; the handful of people who say a fair trial is for everybody, not just us; the handful of people with enough humility to think, when they look at a Negro, there but for the Lord's kindness am I." Chapter 24
      • Aunt Alexandra
        • Represents the traditional woman - prim and proper. However, she develops emotionally throughout the novel
    • Growing Up
    • Change
    • Closed Communities
      • Links to Harper Lee's childhood upbringing - growing up in 1930's southern America
      • The quiet and normal Maycomb contrasts against the events that occur and the moral gravity that Lee presents.
    • Morality
    • Mockingbirds
      • Boo and Tom both represent the mockingbirds of the book - they are characters who, although innocent, have been affected by the evil of others.
        • “the senseless slaughter of songbirds”
        • “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

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