15 Great Topics You Can Investigate In Your Essay On To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird amid a time of segregation. During the 1950s, the South was still segregated between blacks and whites. As the 1950s drew to a close, the Civil Rights Movement began. Harper Lee set her novel in the Depression era to give readers a historical background for the current events of her day and the civil rights struggle in the United States. Due to the impact of the novel, it is a common reading assignment in English and literature classes. To write an essay on To Kill a Mockingbird, students can use some of the following ideas.

Essay Topics on To Kill a Mockingbird

  1. How did the Civil Rights Movement impact the way Harper Lee wrote to Kill a Mockingbird?
  2. Harper Lee used characters like Tom Robinson and Calpurnia to illustrate the black community. Are these characters a realistic or idealized version of the black community? Was her portrayal accurate for the time period?
  3. What is the role of family in To Kill a Mockingbird? In specific, consider the role of Aunt Alexandra.
  4. How are race relations portrayed in the novel?
  5. What was Atticus' parenting style? How did he try to instill a sense of justice, equality and conscience in his children?
  6. How is fear represented in the novel? How does the children's early fears about Boo Radley relate to their fear (or lack of fear) of Bob Ewell? Scout says that real fear can only be found in books. Is this true?
  7. What changes happen to Jem and Scout personally throughout the novel? How do they grow up and change personally? What remains the same?
  8. What was the world of Dill, Jem and Scout like? What was their relationship with Boo Radley like?
  9. How did the trial scene relate to the rest of the novel? How did Lee use the trial to argue against racial injustices and prejudice?
  10. How does the author describe the town of Maycomb? What role does this town play in the novel?
  11. What is the role of education in the novel? From the text, does it seem like Harper Lee wants institutionalized education or education at home to dominate?
  12. How does the author handle Boo Radley? What role does this character play within the novel?
  13. What does the mockingbird symbolize in the novel? What is the role of the mockingbird?
  14. While Atticus is criticized openly and loudly, he is still a respected member of Maycomb. Why is he both criticized and respected?
  15. What is the role of the legal system within the novel? How do Jem, Scout and Atticus interact with this system? What powers and limitations does the legal system have in To Kill a Mockingbird?
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