"To Kill a Mockingbird" Theme: Prejudice and Empathy

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 618 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Sep 5, 2023

Words: 618|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Sep 5, 2023

Table of contents

  1. The Theme of Prejudice and Racism
  2. Empathy as a Transformative Force
  3. The Relevance in Contemporary Society
  4. Conclusion: A Timeless Exploration of Humanity

The theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee resonates deeply throughout the novel, shedding light on the complexities of prejudice and empathy in society. This timeless literary masterpiece explores the profound impact of racial and social injustices, as well as the transformative power of empathy in challenging societal norms. This essay delves into the central theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird," examining its manifestations, character interactions, and the enduring relevance of its message in the context of contemporary issues.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

The Theme of Prejudice and Racism

The theme of prejudice is a pervasive thread that runs through "To Kill a Mockingbird," highlighting the racial and social hierarchies that define the fictional town of Maycomb. The Finch family's African American neighbor, Calpurnia, serves as an example of the racial division in the society, facing discrimination based solely on her skin color. The trial of Tom Robinson, a Black man falsely accused of raping a White woman, further exposes the deeply ingrained prejudices that perpetuate injustice.

Lee's portrayal of the Ewell family, living in poverty and neglect, underscores how societal prejudice extends beyond racial lines. The Ewells are despised by the Maycomb community, yet their White privilege affords them a level of power and entitlement, leading to Tom Robinson's wrongful conviction. Through the theme of prejudice, the novel confronts readers with the uncomfortable realities of discrimination, forcing them to reflect on their own biases and assumptions.

Empathy as a Transformative Force

Counteracting the destructive force of prejudice, the theme of empathy emerges as a beacon of hope in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Atticus Finch, as a moral compass of the novel, teaches his children, Scout and Jem, the importance of understanding others and seeing the world from their perspectives. Atticus's defense of Tom Robinson exemplifies his unwavering belief in the power of empathy and his commitment to justice.

The children's interactions with Boo Radley, a reclusive neighbor, reveal the transformative effects of empathy. Initially perceived as a mysterious figure, Boo is humanized through the Finch children's attempts to understand him. Scout's realization that Boo is a kind-hearted individual ultimately challenges her initial prejudices, illustrating the potential of empathy to bridge gaps and dismantle preconceived notions.

The Relevance in Contemporary Society

The theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird" remains strikingly relevant in contemporary society, as issues of prejudice, discrimination, and the struggle for empathy persist. The novel's exploration of racial injustice mirrors ongoing debates about systemic racism, police brutality, and unequal access to opportunities. The importance of empathy as a means to foster understanding and heal societal divisions is a lesson that resonates with current conversations surrounding social justice and equality.

The complexities of the Ewell family's dynamics also parallel discussions about poverty, inequality, and the interplay between privilege and disadvantage. The theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird" serves as a poignant reminder that addressing issues of prejudice and fostering empathy is an ongoing process that requires collective effort and vigilance.

Conclusion: A Timeless Exploration of Humanity

The theme of "To Kill a Mockingbird" serves as a lens through which readers can examine the intricate tapestry of human interactions, prejudices, and the potential for transformation through empathy. Harper Lee's novel challenges societal norms, exposes the consequences of discrimination, and highlights the possibility of positive change when individuals choose to understand and connect with one another.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

The enduring relevance of the theme underscores the enduring impact of "To Kill a Mockingbird," inviting readers to confront uncomfortable truths, question their own beliefs, and actively engage in the pursuit of justice and empathy. Through its exploration of prejudice and the power of empathy, the novel reminds us that the themes it addresses are not confined to a specific time or place but are part of the larger human experience that requires ongoing reflection and action.

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

“To Kill a Mockingbird” Theme: Prejudice and Empathy. (2023, September 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
““To Kill a Mockingbird” Theme: Prejudice and Empathy.” GradesFixer, 05 Sept. 2023,
“To Kill a Mockingbird” Theme: Prejudice and Empathy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2023].
“To Kill a Mockingbird” Theme: Prejudice and Empathy [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Sept 05 [cited 2023 Nov 29]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now