Themes in to Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Truman Capote Pages: 6 (1142 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Some books are written to prove a point or some sort of idea. The novel,


Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is an excellent example of proving a point

or a theme. Themes in the book include courage, lady, standing in another

man's shoes, it's not time to worry, education, and trash. All the themes

stand out, however, three in particular are exemplified in the book. The three

main themes in To Kill a Mockingbird are courage, lady, and standing in another

man's shoes.

The first theme is courage. Courage is apparent in the seemingly


Mrs. Dubose. It is also courage for Jem to strive against Mrs Dubose.

According to Atticus, the children's father courage is, "...when you know

you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through

no matter what."(p112) Mrs. Dubose had great courage trying to get over her

morphine addiction and, even though she would have trouble doing it, bumped

the addiction for the rest of her life. In the beginning of the book, when

Dill, Scout, and Jem were still hyped up over Boo Radley Jem showed the ultimate

courage by venturing into the spooky dwelling place inhabited by Boo Radley.

Jem went through the gate and touched the house. One time, all three went

into the Radley yard to simply look inside Boo's window. However, the children

were frightened near death by a warning shot from Nathan Radley. The real

courage comes after that when Jem goes to reclaim his pants, facing a possible

confrontation with Boo or Nathan. Another example of courage is Atticus defending

Tom Robinson, a black

man who is innocent of rape but is tried because Bob

Ewell said Tom did it. Atticus knew he would be defeated but he tried to win

the case anyway. Also, though the book doesn't really mention the way Scout

is not happy in school, it requires great courage for Scout to continue to

go to school even though she has to deal with a bad first grade teacher. Lee's

point in courage is a person is not defeated until the person loses faith and

gives up.

The second theme in the book is lady. One of the people of this

theme is

Scout's Aunt Alexandra, who is constantly scolding Atticus for allowing

Scout to do unladylike things. Miss Maudie, the town's resident botanist,

is a lady who Scout's uncle is always after. Once when Scout is being asked

what she thinks her occupation would be, she answers, "Just a lady."(p230)

Being a lady also has to deal with the types of clothes worn by the lady.

On page 81 Scout thought, "I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore

breeches;" Ladies are supposed to wear dresses instead of masculine clothes

like shirts and pants. A lady also has a different type of appearance. After

Scout punches Francis her ring finger is cut. Uncle Jack commented about how

Scout's finger will have an unladylike scar on it. Another comment on the

cleanliness is in the beginning of the book. Ladies wash about noon and by

night are covered in sweat and talc powder. Ladies in the town tried to keep

clean all day long. Next, ladies cannot bear rough language. This is shown

when some boys locked Mr. Conner

in an outhouse. The boys were sentenced

for disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using

profane language within earshot of a female. This shows that ladies are delicate

to profane language. Being a lady also deals with the title given to the lady.

Some ladies are addressed by "Miss" or "Ma'am" However, one female in the

book isn't really a lady. Mayella Ewell was raised by pigs, lived in filth,

and had no true "lady schooling" from another lady like her mother, unlike

Scout. When Atticus was talking to Mayella on the stand, she believed Atticus

was mocking her. "Long's he keeps on calling' me ma'am an sayin' Miss Mayella.

I don't hafta take his sass, I...
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