To Kill A Mockinbird by Harper Lee (theme)

Essay by Crony May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

The process of justice can create or bring down one's dignity and respect. To do what is right, and overlook others opinions might take courage, especially when being against what the majority of people believe. In Harper Lee's story, To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the main characters, Atticus Finch, faces this situation. He knows his duty to carry on and teach his family to do the right thing, which includes defending Tom Robinson - an innocent black man - even when most of the people don't think so.

        The youngsters learn straight from their father's mouth and from what they see, which is their duty to treat every person with fairness. Scout listens to Atticus talk about how she and everybody else should defend African Americans in every aspect(p75). Atticus doesn't want Scout or Jem to grow up like the majority of 'whites', who basically discriminate 'blacks'. Scout, interested in the conversation, attentively listens to her father and learns what Atticus feels is the right thing to do.

Atticus also tells Scout about "Tom Robinson's case . . . something that goes to the essence of a man's conscience(104)." Even when almost every other white man thinks Atticus is doing wrong on defending Tom Robinson, he stands firm on what he believes in. This is what Atticus is quietly passing on to his children, morality and fairness. Qualities that will become important for the rest of their lives and will help them treat everyone equal.

        The kids learn to act as adults when they confront situations of fear. Jem thinks differently in regards to Atticus being the "deadest shot in Maycomb in his time(p98)," Jem tells Scout, " . . . it's something you wouldn't understand. Atticus is really old, but I wouldn't care if he couldn't do anything(p98)."...