To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Themes are described as ideas that dominate a particular piece of literature. In almost all cases, pieces of literature will be centered a theme or a number of them.
The race of the characters of the novel shows the bias present in To Kill a Mockingbird. Robinson's trial in the court room shows the kind of mistreatment people go through even from those who have no saying in legal proceedings. When Jen and Scout escort Calpurnia to an African American church, they face racial discrimination from some of the members of the church. Aunt Alexandra also shows racism when she tells Atticus to mind his words when he is in front of African Americans. She states, \"Don't talk like that in front of them, it encourages them\". When the children, especially Jem, are exposed to the adults' racial issues, they think it is very petty and unethical.
Harper Lee's ideas of class are based on money, wealth and power. In the novel, Aunt Alexandra is loyal to the positions in Maycomb. She believes that everyone belongs somewhere in the community. She makes it clear that Scout cannot invite a classmate, Walter Cunningham to their home because of his low class. She states that she does not want Scout to pick the boy's behaviors and refers to Walter as trash. Aunt Alexandra also believes that the Finches are in a higher social class compared to the Ewell family. From the time when Aunt Alexandra moves into the Finch house, Jem and Scout crowded their minds with the issues of background and family. However, they are trying their best to relate the issues to their beliefs and live in Maycomb without worries.
Equality versus Inequality
The issue of equality and inequality is determined in Maycomb when Mr. Gilmer, the solicitor, pretends to be a decent person but the way he speaks to Bob Ewell is different from the way he talks to Tom Robinson; their racial differences being the main reason for this. This reveals how blinded the community is when it comes to racism. Inequality is also seen when the community divides itself into two groups; the wealthy and the poor; the families whose roots run deep and the newcomers. There is a sense of inequality between sexes; where women are not allowed to serve on the jury. Jem teases Scout about her gender, telling her that she is getting more like a girl as time passes.
Morality is the main issue in the novel. The town is full of good people who want nothing but the best for every citizen. For instance, Atticus does everything possible to instill morality in his children's life. He reminds them that everyone is the same and should be treated equally. However, the children's belief is shattered when they come into contact with the discrimination of Maycomb during the court trial of Tom. He is sentenced regardless of the fake evidence presented against him.
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