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SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird: Context

Date of publication: 2017-08-16 13:11

Atticus suggests in this passage that it takes time and effort to understand another person's point of view. He doesn't simply suggest that this effort is necessary in order to be able to justify criticizing someone he implies that the more one tries to understand another person, the less one will be moved to condemn the other person at all. Atticus, as we see for the first time here, doesn't think that human nature is constant and unchangeable. Rather, he thinks that the way people act often stems from their past,  from their environment, and from their opportunities or lack thereof – and therefore that it makes little sense to put strict moral labels on others.

To Kill a Mockingbird Analysis

Step 9: You've read an editorial, you've discussed an editorial, and now it's time for you to write an editorial. So, what do you think? Should To Kill a Mockingbird and other books that use the "N-word" be taught in public schools? Why or why not?

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird: A Literary Analysis

In the small, tight-knit town of Maycomb, what "most folks seem to think" can quickly come to mean what is actually true. Such "group think" and the pressure it puts on individuals to join in it help to preserve and expand all sorts of prejudice. Here we see such logic at work, as Scout questions her father's choices based on what most people in the town think about those choices.

Things Fall Apart Thesis Statements and Essay Topics

Topic A –  Innocence and Experience – What are the major life-lessons that the characters in the novel ( Scout, Jem and Dill ) absorb as part of their coming-of-age in Maycomb, Alabama in the 6985s? You may pick one or more of these people to write about and you may want to mention other kids in the story as well such as Walter Cunningham, Little Chuck Little, Burris Ewell, Cecil Jacobs and Francis Hancock.

As he and Mr. Gilmer go back and forth, it becomes ever clearer that Gilmer is, purposely or not, misunderstanding Tom. Tom is attempting to refer to the societal assumption that all black men must be guilty – and, indeed, that that is why he finds himself in court now. Mr. Gilmer, for his part, stubbornly clings to this very assumption of guilt whose prejudiced bases Tom is referencing, and so Gilmer takes everything Tom says as an indication that Tom is guilty.

Because Boo is so determined to make friends with Scout, and because of the close proximity of their homes, it is inevitable the two will come into contact.

Scout still uses the word "cowardice" to refer to her decision not to fight, but the word is mainly a relic of her instinctive attitude towards courage – she is slowly beginning to accept her father's alternative approach instead. 

Rather than acting because he will win, Atticus chooses to defend Tom Robinson because he knows that it is the right thing to do. Interestingly, even though many people in town are prejudiced and disagree with Atticus's choice, for Atticus it is the fact that everyone in town knows him and his own beliefs that serves as another motivation for him to act according to his beliefs. He believes that only by standing up for his ideas can he then, in turn, be seen as a representative of the community (even if the community disagrees with some of those beliefs). In order to be morally consistent, Atticus believes, he must act on behalf of human dignity – and more specifically, this man's dignity – regardless of the end result.

The larger theme of the story is about racial intolerance, but Scout never tries to make it a lesson, it's simply part of the world she describes. That's why To Kill a Mockingbird rings true, and why it all seems so real.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greats, plain and simple. Whether it's your first time teaching it or you've taught it so many times that you've run out of fresh ideas, we've got you covered.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

Dill and Boo and Jem are all fascinating, but the most important character in the book is Scout's father, Atticus Finch. You get the idea that Scout is writing the story down because she wants the world to know what a good man her dad was, and how hard he tried to do the right thing, even though the deck was stacked against him.

Scout has a basic and fundamental sense of justice. This creates problems for her when she is confronted with what she feels is an unfair situation, ranging from Calpurnia scolding her to the racist attitudes of the townspeople.

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