To Kill A Mocking bird


A novel I have read recently and thoroughly enjoyed is 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. It portrays a life and the role of racism in the 1930's. . In this essay I will talk about the themes of racism and predjudice. I will also look at the characterisation to show the contrast of how it affects all of the characters and the use of symbolism of the mockingbird representing different characters. The theme of prejudice in "To Kill A Mockingbird" is much more than just a case of black and white. The entire novel is about prejudice in it's many forms, the most prominent case of prejudice is the racism and hate between the blacks and whites.The book is set in a small town in Alabama called "Maycomb", like most small southern towns in that time, has a problem with widespread racism toward blacks. The novel focuses on one family, the Finches. In the family there are three charecters, Scout, Jem and Atticus. Atticus (the father) is a lawyer and is defending a black man in court (Tom Robinson), something that was not often done in the south due to racism. Many people feel threatened by this and feel very resentful towards Atticus. Throughout the novel all the members of the Finches and many others display courage in their attempts to stand up for what they believe in





Harper Lee uses a motif, mocking birds, in most of the main characters to explore the theme of prejudice. She also uses characterisation to show the contrast of how it affects all of the characters in the novel to “To Kill A Mocking Bird”.


The Finches- Atticus, Jem and Scout- are all mocking birds. The name Finch suggests this.


Atticus was Harper Lee’s ideal man his only fault was that he was too idealistic. Atticus didn’t see any place for prejudice of any kind. He defended a blackman Tom Robinson in a case that he knew would be very difficult to win and could totally change his life. Atticus was brave in doing this. He was “nigger lover” by several people but just took it in his stride. He even replied to Scout “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody.” He also tried to act the same around everyone. He was always polite to black people, undesirable people and the rest of Maycomb. He always called Mayella Miss Mayella. Mayella didn’t see this as him being polite and got annoyed “Long hew keeps on callin’ me ma’am an’ sayin’ Miss Mayella I don’t hefta take his sass.” Miss Maudie comments on this and says “he’s consistently polite”.


Atticus was clever and carefully planed out how he asked the questions during the court case. He asks Mayella about her family background before he questions her about the alleged rape. Similarly, he asks Tom about his previous convictions before he asks him about the situation with Mayella. He does this because he knows it will have a particular effect on the jury listening “Jem said Atticus was showing the jury that Tom had nothing to hide.”


Scout is also a mocking bird and was affected by prejudice. She, like Atticus, was called a “nigger lover” and was nearly killed because Atticus defended Tom Robinson. Scout started off quite prejudiced and would make fun or Boo Radley in the games she played with Jem and Dill. “Scout you can be Mrs Radley”. They didn’t understand about prejudice but Atticus taught her later to be nice to everybody like he was “I do my best to love everybody” and “You shouldn’t call them niggers you should call them Negros”


Calpurnia also influenced Scout. She was taught that politeness should be shown to all people even if their manner is negative “Don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house yo’ comp’ny, and don’t let me catch you remarkin’ on other ways like you so high and mighty!” Scout was a tomboy. She got into a few fights because she was defending what she thought was right. She fought her cousin because he said Atticus was a "nigger lover" "I guess it ain’t your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger lover, but I’m