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To Kill a Mockingbird: Essay Topics

1. Analyze the childhood world of Jem, Scout, and Dill and their relationship with Boo Radley in Part One. 2. How do Jem and Scout change during the course of the novel? How do they remain the same? 3. What is Atticus’s relationship to the rest of Maycomb? What is his role in the community? 4. Discuss the role of family in To Kill a Mockingbird, paying close attention to Aunt Alexandra. 5. Examine Miss Maudie’s relationship to the Finches and to the rest of Maycomb. 6. Discuss the author’s descriptions of Maycomb. What is the town’s role in the novel? 7. Analyze the author’s treatment of Boo Radley. What is his role in the novel?

1. Analyze the childhood world of Jem, Scout, and Dill and their relationship with Boo Radley in Part One. The children's relationship with Boo in Part One is important in that this subplot sets the stage for the greater trial coming up in the adult world around them. Jem, Scout and Dill first have their own notions about Boo and none of them are very complimentary. They are drawn to him by a sort of morbid fascination which has been encouraged by all the hearsay going on about Boo's domestic violence and night rambling. They are prejudiced against Boo in the same way that the white community is prejudiced against Tom Robinson. Their attitude changes, however, when Boo patches up Jem's pants, then leaves little presents in the hole in the tree. Boo takes the first step to be the children's friend, even if it is only a "virtual" kind of way.  The children's attitude towards Boo Radley begins to change even if they still have a gut fear of him actually coming around. When he puts a blanket around Scout as she watches Miss Maudie's house burn down, Jem and Scout are later in awe that they actually got that close. They harbour some fear of him even if they are aware that he means them no harm. At the end of Part One, the reader can't help but wonder if the children aren't doing a better job at overcoming their unjustified fears and prejudice than the grownups in Maycomb. Also, a correlation arises between Boo and Tom, two innocent people ostracised and "found guilty" in the Deep South mind frame of the 1930s.

2. How do Jem and Scout change during the course of the novel? How do they remain the same? Jem becomes more mature.  He is still a boy at the end of the book, but he is working his way into manhood.  This is shown through his reaction at the trial of Tom Robinson (he actually cries because of the injustice of the court) and also in the way he doesn't want to play games with his younger sister (who he still sees as a child).  Scout is still a child at the end of the novel, but she is being to see things from a different perspective.  She begins to realize that things aren't always what they appear to be (Boo Radley and Mrs. Dubose are both proof of that).  The above examples could be used in an essay, but if you're talking about the actual structure of an essay I would suggest you set it up like this: Your introduction would mention your thesis (which would be to prove that Jem and Scout change/remain the same throughout the novel) and then very briefly discuss your three main examples that prove your thesis.  Your body paragraph would discuss these examples in further detail.  For example, you may want to compare and contrast Jem and Scout's reaction to Mrs. Dubose and the lesson that both of them learned from her.  Your conclusion should reiterate what your essay discussed and possibly (depending upon what your teacher is looking for) give your own personal opinion.  The structure of your essay also depends upon the assignment that you were given, but I hope this helps. 

3. In To Kill a Mockingbird, what is Atticus’s relationship to the rest of Maycomb and what is his role in the community? Atticus is the Town of  general lawyer. He is an upstanding and respected member of the community raising his two children. When a friend is accused of the...
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