One Of My All Time Favourites And A Classic: To Kill A Mockingbird

| Updated: April 23, 2022 2:30 pm

Harper Lee addresses a number of problems in her story, the most crucial of which is prejudice. However, she has decided to focus on the themes of family life and courage throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, which, along with the issue of prejudice, can all be observed through Tom Robinson’s trial and the daily lives of the residents of Maycomb.

Prejudice:

Several characters show prejudice at various times during the narrative. Many residents of Maycomb are bigots and prejudiced against African-Americans. For example, merely because he is a black man and she is a white woman, Tom Robinson is presumed guilty of sexually assaulting Mayella Ewell, even when the evidence points to his innocence. Mr Gilmer, the lawyer in charge of proving Tom’s guilt, is taken aback when he hears that he felt sorry for Mayella. “You felt sorry for her, you felt sorry for her?” he asks. Many white individuals in the courtroom are taken aback by Tom’s chutzpah in feeling sorry for a white person, and his guilty verdict seems inescapable from that point forward.

Atticus believes in tolerance and equality, which he wishes to pass down to Jem and Scout. His sister, Aunt Alexandra, on the other hand, is unique. The reader can see this in her treatment of Calpurnia. When Aunt Alexandra arrives at the Finch residence to assist look after Jem and Scout while Atticus is at the trial, she instructs Calpurnia to take her suitcase upstairs, which Atticus would never do. The ladies of Maycomb feel sadness for the Mruna tribe in Africa and express sympathy for them during Aunt Alexandra’s missionary tea, but they later condemn the black people in their own village. This is deeply prejudiced and contradictory.

The Mruna tribe did not exist in reality. Mrs Merriweather’s tribe was developed by Harper Lee to serve as an example of how hypocritical women can be. She can sympathise with the Mruna people for what she perceives to be their wretched lifestyle, but she is unable to sympathise with the black residents of Maycomb. Instead, she accuses Maycomb’s black residents of being lethargic and grumpy, and she doesn’t comprehend their anguish over Tom Robinson’s conviction. Mrs Merriweather is particularly interested in the Mruna tribe because they are not Christians, and she feels that by converting them to Christianity and introducing them to the Bible, white missionaries might rescue their souls.

In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee shows the theme of prejudice through:

  • Tom Robinson’s trial.
  • Aunt Alexandra’s missionary tea.
  • The way Boo Radley is treated.
  • The way the people of Maycomb react to Dolphus Raymond’s children.

Family Life:

To Kill a Mockingbird features multiple families, each of which is distinct. Harper Lee makes it obvious that the Finch family is the one with which she most identifies, and the one to which she believes others in the neighbourhood should strive. Atticus is an excellent role model for his children as a father. He is fair, just, tolerant, and forgiving. He treats Jem and Scout as equals and with maturity, and they address him by his first name rather than by his surname. This shows that Atticus respects their viewpoints as equals. He wants to demonstrate to them that he will treat them like grownups.

To Kill a Mockingbird features multiple families, each of which is distinct. Harper Lee makes it obvious that the Finch family is the one with which she most identifies, and the one to which she believes others in the neighbourhood should strive. Atticus is an excellent role model for his children as a father. He is fair, just, tolerant, and forgiving. He treats Jem and Scout as equals and with maturity, and they address him by his first name rather than by his surname. This shows that Atticus respects their viewpoints as equals. He wants to demonstrate to them that he will treat them like grownups.

How is the theme of family shown in the novel?

In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee shows the theme of family through:

  • Atticus’ treatment of his children
  • family heritage
  • the help Helen Robinson is given by fellow black families

Courage:

Several characters in the tale demonstrate courage. For starters, Atticus is portrayed as a brave guy for volunteering to defend Tom Robinson despite the fact that he knows it will be unpleasant for him and his family. He also realises that he has a slim chance of winning the case. He is especially brave when he spends the night alone guarding Tom Robinson’s prison cell, knowing that a lynch mob will almost certainly try to kidnap Tom. Throughout the novel, Atticus fights racism and encourages his children to do the same. “Don’t say **, Scout,” he says.

Other instances of courage can be found throughout the narrative. Miss Maudie demonstrates bravery by refusing to be upset since her house has burned down. Instead, she remains upbeat, reminding everyone that she would soon be able to enjoy the larger garden she has always desired. Boo Radley demonstrates bravery by preventing Bob Ewell from harming Jem and Scout despite having to leave the safety of his home.

Mrs. Dubose is also a courageous character. She has been addicted to the drug morphine for a long time and is determined to break free before she dies. When Jem reads to her, he is unknowingly assisting her in overcoming her addiction. Her decision becomes even more daring when it becomes clear that she doesn’t need to go through the agony of being morphine-free because she will die regardless.

She does it, though, for her own pleasure since she does not want to be addicted to the drug when she dies. Mrs. Dubose is courageous, but few people in Maycomb are aware that she is fighting a terrible personal battle to overcome her addiction. This makes Atticus think she’ll be even braver, which is why he wants Jem and Scout to see what she’s doing. He wants kids to learn that bravery sometimes entails doing difficult things that others will never understand or judge you for. Scout and Jem are being prepared for the bravery they will need to demonstrate during Tom Robinson’s trial.

In To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee shows the theme of courage through:

  • Atticus defending Tom Robinson
  • Atticus’ attitude towards guns
  • Mrs Dubose’s determination to be morphine-free at the time of her death.

Samaira Jindal is a class 9th student of Ahmedabad International School (AIS), Gujarat.

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2 Comments

  1. Eeshan modhinakia

    Very well written article should be published in paper 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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