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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Race

Imagine a world where everyone with blue eyes got to give orders to everyone with brown eyes. If you're born with blue eyes, you get the good jobs, the good schools, the good houses, and all the fa...

Justice and Judgment

Ideal: a jury of one's peers dispassionately determine guilt or innocence based on the fact. Reality: a group of white men who aren't influential enough to get out of jury duty have decided the cas...

Youth

Are kids just the mini-me versions of the adults they will become, or is something substantial lost—or gained—in the transition to adulthood? And how does that process work, anyhow? To Kill a M...

Morality and Ethics

Atticus thinks that everyone deserves a fair trial. Maycomb thinks that only white men do. Scout thinks that her father is right. Maycomb thinks that her father is wrong. So, who's more moral—the...

Fear

Early in To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel paraphrases Franklin D. Roosevelt's inaugural address: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Right on: fear can be very scary when it hijacks pe...

Women and Femininity

Being called a girl is about the worst thing possible—or so thinks Scout, the female protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird. Girls wear frilly pink dresses, and don't get to play outside, swear, or...

Family

In To Kill a Mockingbird, family is destiny. Within the confines of a small town where the same people have lived for generations, no one can escape…becoming their parents. Horror! Either the par...

Compassion and Forgiveness

How do you manage compassion for people when they are undeserving? Shmoop's answer: don't bother. To Kill a Mockingbird's answer: a little goodness, a little humility, and a lot of imagination. (No...

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