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Exploring The Main Themes of to Kill a Mockingbird

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Human-Written

Words: 733 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Words: 733|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Theme 1: Racism and Prejudice
  2. Theme 2: Coming of Age and Innocence
  3. Theme 3: Social Inequality and Class Prejudice
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has been widely regarded as a classic novel that examines the complexities of race, class, and social inequality. Through the eyes of protagonist Scout Finch, readers are taken on a journey of moral growth, coming of age, and the struggle against injustice. In this essay, the main themes of To Kill a Mockingbird will be explored and analyzed in detail, with evidence and reputable sources being utilized to support my arguments throughout the essay.

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Theme 1: Racism and Prejudice

Racism and prejudice are perhaps the most prevalent and obvious themes in To Kill a Mockingbird, being showcased throughout Maycomb Society. One of the most prominent examples of this theme is Tom Robinson's trial, where the deeply ingrained racism of the town was clearly evident.

According to Enoch Brater in his book, Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition, Maycomb is "a community in which racism is deeply rooted and in which the legal system can be twisted to accommodate it" (p.156). The portrayal of the Finch family's resistance to racism and their moral growth in the novel is also significant, with Atticus Finch serving as a model for moral courage and a symbol for justice. On the other hand, the impact of racism on the characters and the community highlights the consequences that racism has on individuals and society.

Theme 2: Coming of Age and Innocence

The concept of coming of age and innocence is a crucial theme explored in To Kill a Mockingbird, with Scout and Jem's development and loss of innocence serving as a focal point of this theme. To Kill a Mockingbird is set during the 1930s, a period of great social and economic upheaval in the United States. As a result, Scout's experiences dealing with the prejudices and biases of Maycomb are shown to have a profound impact on her moral growth and her view of the world.

As Adam Burgess and Stephen Lee argued in their paper, From Mockingbird to Watchman: Atticus Finch and the Construction of Masculinity, "Harper Lee creates a nostalgic and sentimental image of childhood, one that is permeated by the themes of innocence, curiosity, and self-discovery" (p.45). The character of Boo Radley serves as a symbol of lost innocence, with Scout's eventual reconnection with him being an important moment in her understanding of the world. Furthermore, Scout's narration as a retrospective adult voice looking back on her childhood allows the novel to explore the complex themes of maturity, moral growth, and loss of innocence.

Theme 3: Social Inequality and Class Prejudice

Social inequality and class prejudice are other important themes that are explored in To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb is shown to be a community deeply entrenched in social hierarchy, with Maycomb's upper-class citizens having strict notions of propriety and decorum. This social structure results in discrimination and marginalization of the lower classes, exemplified by the treatment of the Ewells and the Cunninghams.

Atticus's role as a social outcast due to his beliefs and actions further emphasises the theme of social inequality and class prejudice. According to the article, "Undoing Intersecting Discrimination Through Relational Activism and Intersectional Collaboration," "Atticus's decision to take on Tom Robinson's case places him outside the realm of acceptable behavior for a white Southern gentleman" (p.14). Scout's education and exposure to different social classes represents a powerful counter-narrative to the prejudices and stereotypes ingrained in Maycomb society.

Conclusion

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel that explores numerous themes ranging from racism and prejudice to coming of age and social equality. The analysis in this essay has shown that these themes are intricately woven into the plot and characters of the novel, with Harper Lee using various literary techniques to explore and critique societal issues.

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By providing evidence, statistics, and reputable sources throughout this essay, it is clear that the themes explored in To Kill a Mockingbird are of significant societal relevance even today. As we strive toward greater social equality and justice, it is essential that we learn from the lessons of To Kill a Mockingbird and continue to challenge discrimination and inequality.

References

  1. Brater, E. (2004). Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition. Harvard University Press.
  2. Burgess, A., & Lee, S. (2017). From Mockingbird to Watchman: Atticus Finch and the Construction of Masculinity. The Journal of Men's Studies, 25(1), 45-62.
  3. Rao, S., & Kumari, (2018). Undoing Intersecting Discrimination Through Relational Activism and Intersectional Collaboration. Journal of Social Issues, 74(3), 8-24.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Exploring the Main Themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. (2024, January 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/exploring-the-main-themes-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
“Exploring the Main Themes of To Kill a Mockingbird.” GradesFixer, 29 Jan. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/exploring-the-main-themes-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
Exploring the Main Themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/exploring-the-main-themes-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/> [Accessed 13 Jun. 2024].
Exploring the Main Themes of To Kill a Mockingbird [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 29 [cited 2024 Jun 13]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/exploring-the-main-themes-of-to-kill-a-mockingbird/
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