To Kill a Mockingbird Themes

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Morality, Harper Lee Pages: 3 (1050 words) Published: July 20, 2007
"To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee is renowned as a great text because of the important moral values it displays. The themes of the text such as growing up, courage and prejudice were particularly significant issues during the authors time, yet have never lost their importance Harper Lee highlights these themes through the use of language techniques, structure and symbolism.

The nature of growing up is portrayed through Scout and Jem's travels from childhood to maturity and the accompanying growth in their ability to see things from the point of view of others. Their change of attitude, in Chapter 16, to Mr Dolphus Raymond is an example of this. He is a white man from a rich family who is looked down upon be the white community because he lives with a black woman and her children. However, Scout and Dill learn that by pretending to be permanently drunk he gives the white community a reason for his chosen way of life. He explains to Scout and Dill that he does not drink much. He tells them this because they are young and without set attitudes they are more able to understand. Scout realizes that his "perpetrated fraud" is only to escape society's prejudice. This is the beginning of a change in Scout's outlook on life. Atticus continually encourages Scout and Jem in their growth and, leading by example, guides his children towards the high standard of moral values that he thinks make an honourable human being. This gives the text value because Harper Lee is effectively using Atticus as a moral example not only for his children, but for the reader as well.

A part of Scout and Jem's growth is the development of courage. It takes great courage to stand up for what is right rather than always taking the "path of least resistance." Atticus' willingness to defend a Negro, Tom Robinson, in spite of strong criticism, is the novel's classic example of courage and honorable character. In stark contrast to the offensive and abusive behaviour of Mr Robert Ewell,...
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