To Kill a Mocking Bird Thematic Analysis

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  • Topic: Black people, To Kill a Mockingbird, African American
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  • Published : January 15, 2013
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The Truth will Prevail
Justice is “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause”(Dictionary).Harper Lee uses the theme of Justice throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird to express her opinions on the injustices of America at the time and to advocate ways in which they can be changed. At the beginning of the novel, Lee uses Scouts child-like perspective to make points about the injustices caused by misunderstanding and innocence. This is especially noticeable when Scout has a new teacher and is shamed for trying to explain the racial balance of Maycomb’s society to her. Although the attention of the narration is focused on Scout’s embarrassment and anger, this chapter is used to carefully show the way in which injustice can be done even by those who mean well if they do not understand the motives for someone else’s actions.

The majority of injustices can have consequences. Atticus says, “She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards"(Ch. 20).Atticus is implying that the real violation here is Mayella’s breaking of the code that says she cannot do anything sexual with an African-American man. Accusing Tom of rape is the closest the law can get to dealing with this transgression of society’s unwritten code. But is Mayella really to blame? Being attracted to Tom is not in itself wrong, though her society thinks it. Perhaps what is wrong is acting selfishly without any concern for the situation she put Tom in, and the consequences it would have for him.

Harper Lee then links the prejudice of Boo to the black community by introducing Tom Robinson as he mirrors many of the features of Boo. Tom is humble, gentle and defenceless but most importantly wishes no harm to anyone. It is this...
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