Essay Questions And Answers For To Kill A Mockingbird

  • 1

    Analyze the relationship between Boo Radley and the children. How does this relationship change throughout the book? What are the causes of the developments in this relationship?

  • 2

    Discuss the concept of fear as presented in the novel. Compare the children's early fear of Boo Radley to their fear or lack thereof when Bob Ewell attacks them. Is Scout correct in stating that real fear can only be found in books?

  • 3

    Discuss the concept of family and Lee's presentation of the American family. What does it consist of?

  • 4

    Although critized openly, Atticus is respected throughout the town of Maycomb. Why is this true?

  • 5

    Discuss the concept of education. Does Lee argue for a dominance of education in the home or institutionalized education? What evidence does she provide?

  • 6

    Trace the theme of the mockingbird throughout the novel and analyze what the bird symbolizes or represents.

  • 7

    Trace Boo Radley's development from monster to savior. How does Scout's understanding of Boo develop? What lessons does Boo teach Scout?

  • 8

    Discuss Atticus's approach to parenting. What is his relationship with his children? Can his parenting style be criticized? If so, how?

  • 9

    Scout and Jem mature considerably through the course of the novel. What developmental changes do they go through, and what causes these changes?

  • 10

    Discuss the town of Maycomb as you might discuss a main character in the book. What is the identity or "character" of the town, and how (if at all) does it change and grow over the years? How does its diversity give it a pluralistic character?

  • 11

    Discuss law as it is represented in To Kill A Mockingbird. What power and limitations exist within the legal system according to Atticus, Jem, and Scout?

  • Instructions

    As part of the study of To Kill a Mockingbird, you will be writing an essay on one aspect of the novel. You will be given some class time to work on the essay and you will be given specific instruction on essay writing. The final product will be graded for content, organization, expression, mechanics. You will be given additional marks for collecting quotations, preparing an outline and writing a rough draft.

    Choose one of the following topics:

    1. Examine the use of the mockingbird as a symbol in the novel. What does the mockingbird symbolize? Which three characters can be considered “mockingbirds?”

    2. At the end of the novel, Scout thinks that “Jem and I would get grown but there wasn’t much else left for us to learn” (Lee. 1982, p.282). What important lessons have either Scout or Jem learnt from Atticus’ defence of Tom Robinson and the events surrounding the trial?

    3. What does the novel have to say about “courage?” Who are the courageous characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, and how do they demonstrate their courage? What is Harper Lee’s message about real courage?

    4. Several times Atticus emphasizes the need to consider things from another’s point of view. How does following his advice change the children’s opinions of other people in Maycomb? What is the author’s underlying message about seeing things from another’s viewpoint?

    5. As the novel progresses, Scout and Jem come to understand and value Atticus. What events cause this development of the children’s admiration for their father? How does each event contribute to their understanding of Atticus?

    6. Examine the theme of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird. How is prejudice demonstrated in the story and by whom? What is the author’s underlying message about prejudice?

    7. Examine the theme of hypocrisy in the novel. How is hypocrisy demonstrated in the story and by whom? What is the author’s underlying message about hypocrisy?

    *Your essay must make specific references to the novel and use direct quotations (with citations) to support your arguments.

    *Essay length: 500 words with a minimum of 5 citations

    For more great resources, please see my full unit plan for To Kill a Mockingbird.

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