english literature

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Mockingbird and romeo and juliet

Similarities Between To Kill A Mockingbird And Romeo And Juliet


If you have read and compared Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird, you might have noticed the similarites and differences in terms of the theme "Responsibility". This theme is shown in Romeo and Juliet from the Friar, the Nurse, Juliet, Romeo, Capulets, and the Montagues. In to kill a mockingbird, the same theme can be applied to the actions of Atticus, Calpurnia, Scout, Jem, and the Ewells.

From the book Romeo and Juliet, responsibility is shown throughout by the main characters. The Friar had the responsibility of serving his people. Nurse had the responsibility of taking care of the Juliet. It was personal responsibility for Romeo to love Juliet and vice versa. Capulets and Montagues had responsibilty for keeping the feud going on by taunting, thumb-biting, fighting, and foul language. Responsibility can be said as one of the main themes for Romeo and Juliet, as the characters repetitively display this in the book.

Similar to Romeo and Juliet in the common theme "responsibility", To kill a mockingbird also have many of its characters showing this trait. Atticus had personal responsibility to take care of his children as both mother and father, showing them personal integrity, and modelling morality. Calpurnia has professional responsibility to nurture Jem and Scout, being the mother figure and teaching them lessons about integrity. It was the Ewells' responsibility for them to act like the village idiots and disgrace and the the mob to promote hatred, anger and violence to Tom Robinson. To kill a mockingbird constantly has the theme "responsibility" brought up by the characters.

It is hard not to notice the common theme of Responsibility in Romeo and Juliet and To kill a mockingbird. All the main characters talked about in these books in some point will have Responsibility brought up. Responsibility is a common theme and it was shown in both Romeo and Juliet and to kill a mockingbird.

Narrative Technique


Characters (actors)

Setting - place and time

Plot -sequence/series of events

Theme-message or moral

Subject is the topic being hinted at

Narrative Technique

The theme of the story poaching is that some people exist that take the interest to know how exciting their life is compared to other people. Some people like bragging and impressing others.

Small Notes

Proverb: An expression that involves observation or a statement of what is meant true or wise.

Parable: A simple story illustrating a moral or ethical lesson using human characters

Fable: A fiction based story that states a moral or ethical lesson using nature or animals

-In short stories, the author may make the story short to get the meaning across quickly

-Stereotypes challenges views

-Statement of opinion

1st person omniscient-person speaking (I, we me, us)

2nd person omniscient -person speaking to (you)

3rd person omniscient -person speaking about (he, she, they, him, her, them)

3rd person narrator can be limited or omniscient

1st person narrator can be major or minor, limited or omniscient

Omniscient means "all knowing"

Pathos: the quality in a work of literature which create sympathy for a character

Irony: A statement or situation that suggests the opposite of what appears on the surface. Three common types of irony are verbal-saying one thing while implying the opposite; situational-expecting something different from what actually happens; and dramatic-when the reader or viewer knows something that the character do not.

Allusion: A brief, direct or indirect reference to a figure, place, event, idea or object from myth, religion, history, literature, society, or popular culture. The writer assumes that the reader is familiar with the reference.

Soliloquy: Said by character alone on stage

Aside: Other characters are present, but speech is not directed to them

Both: Reveal the thoughts of the speaker

Dramatic Irony: When a character does not know something that audience does which is negative; this lack of knowledge creates a twist which is bad for a character

Romeo and Juliet Study Guide


The play takes place in the town of Verona.

Background information-

The Montagues and Capulets are two rivalry families.They are involved in a family feud that goes back years before any of the members were born.Yet the feud still continues due to the fact that neither family is ready to forgive and forget the past. Even the townspeople are involved because the families do not keep the feud in the privacy of their own home but have been seen fighting in the public streets and displaying violence. They disrupt the peace of Verona and even Prince Escalus personally had to break up a fight, where the family members were heavily fined. They were also given a warning that another public fight could result in death. While this is occurring Romeo, the main character, is getting over his last love, Rosaline, and was very upset. Juliet of the Capulet household has just been introduced to a wealthy young man, Paris, who her parents wish her to marry. Yet she does not love him.


  • Romeo is a Montague. He falls in love with Juliet and proceeds to marry her. He is a tragic character. He is characterized as hasty and emotional. He is young.
  • Juliet- She is a Capulet. She falls in love with Romeo. She believes marriage should be for love. She is also characterized as hasty. She is young
  • Lord Capulet- He is Juliet's father. He is strict, harsh, not understanding. He wants her to marry Paris.
  • Lady Montague-She is Romeo's mother. She is very busy and strict.
  • Lord Montague-He is Romeo' father. He is stubborn and not willing to forgive.
  • County Paris- He is kinsman of Prince. He cares about Juliet and wishes to marry her.
  • Prince Escalus- He is Prince of Verona. He wants to call a truce and end the family feud.
  • Friar Lawrence- He is the Priest in Verona. He weds Romeo and Juliet hoping it will unite both families. Instead it causes fighting. He later gives Juliet sleeping potion. He helps Romeo out.
  • Friar John-He was supposed to deliver a letter to Romeo about Juliet, but Romeo did not get it.
  • The Nurse- She cared for Juliet during childhood. She wants Juliet to be happy. She is very talkative.
  • Mercutio-He is a good friend of Romeo
  • Balthasar-He is a servant amd a friend of Romeo.
  • Benvolio- He is a friend of Romeo
  • Tybalt- He is a nephew of Lady Capulet. He has a bad temper.
  • Samson- He is a Capulet servant
  • Gregory-He is a Capulet servant

Plot Summary-

Romeo (Montague), who is in love with Rosaline, goes to a party in an effort to forget her or to ease his broken heart. At this party he met Juliet, and immediately fell in love with her. He later finds out that she is a Capulet, the rival family of the Montagues. He decides that he loves her anyway and they confess their love for each other during the very famous "balcony scene" in which they agree to secretly marry the next day. Friar Lawrence agrees to marry them in an effort to end the feuding between the families. Unfortunately, the fighting gets worse and Mercutio (Montague) , a good friend of Romeo's, ends up in a fight with Tybalt (Capulet), Juliet's cousin. Tybalt kills Mercutio, which causes Romeo to kill Tybalt in an angry rage. For this, Romeo is banished from Verona.

At the same time, the Capulet's are planning Juliet's marriage to Paris. Juliet does not want to marry this man so she arranges with Friar Lawrence to fake her own death with a sleeping potion that will make everyone think that she is dead. Friar Lawrence promises to send word to Romeo to meet her when the potion wears off and to rescue her to Mantua, where Romeo is currently staying. There they would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, Romeo does not receive this message on time and upon hearing of her "death" goes to Juliet's tomb where he drinks poison and dies. When Juliet's potion wears off, she awaken's to find her lover's corpse. She then proceeds to stab herself with Romeo's dagger. The two families find the bodies and their shared sorrow, finally make peace with each other.


  • Hastiness- Romeo is hasty to fall in and out of love. The two are too hasty to get married; they never thought about what could go wrong.
  • Infatuation- Romeo and Juliet, in all probability, were not really in love. They were infatuated with each other. They were in love with the idea that they were in love. They could not have fallen so deeply in love with only one conversation.
  • Selfishness- Everyone in this play (except Benvolio) acts selfishly. Juliet never told her parents about Romeo and did the selfish act of faking her death, which greatly upset them. The Capulets were selfish for making Juliet marry a man that she did not love. Both of the families were selfish for continuing the fighting. Friar Lawrence ran away when they saw the two families go into the tomb. He wanted to prevent himself from getting in trouble. Tybalt was selfish for killing Mercutio. Romeo was not thinking of Juliet as he killed her cousin.

Key Issues

  • Feuding- The feuding of the families was the whole reason for the tragedy. They should have reconciled their differences years ago. They didn't even know what they were fighting about.
  • Stereotypes-Some members of the Capulets and Montagues have never even met and yet they hate each other. Why? Because of a person's last name.
  • Dreams- The whole story had occurred in a dream which foretold their fate . This was a warning for Romeo yet he chose to ignore it.
  • Decisions- Many difficult decisions had to be made. Friar's decision to marry them was difficult. He could have told their parents. He risked taking the responsibility for marrying them knowing it might cause upheaval. Juliet had the difficult decision of how to get out of marrying Paris. She was also confronted with the dilemma of whether to appease her parents and follow their wishes which would mean marrying Paris or follow her heart and marry Romeo.The families made the decision to end their feud to prevent any more unnecessary deaths.
  • Sacrifices- Romeo and Juliet were willing to sacrifice their relationship with their families in order to be together.
  • Fate- It was considered fate that they would meet and fall in love and then die for each other. Fate brought them together as well as ended their lives. It was in the stars.

Moral lessons

There is more to love than lust. Romeo and Juliet did not take the time to get to know each other and form a deep intimate relationship. They rushed into their relationship. They were also very young to be experiencing love . Even people much older than them do not know what love means. It may have really been true love that was mutually felt by both of them though.

Labels mean nothing- Their last name was a label. Their names were what almost kept them apart. . But love saw through that. They saw each other in secrecy and soon fell madly in love. Love sees no barriers.

Listen to advice-If the families had listened to the Prince of Verona and made peace, then Mercutio and Tybalt would not have died. If Romeo and Juliet would have listened to the advice given to them by the Friar then they would not have died so young. The Friar cautioned them about acting hasty and irrational. But instead the star-crossed lovers meet the fate of death.

Don't seek revenge-The families sought revenge for things that did not even involve them and happened years ago. They needed to forgive and forget. Yet when both parties are stubborn it takes the death of two young lovers for them to realize that their actions were wrong. . Tybalt called Romeo a villain and dared him to fight. With his refusal Mercutio began to fight Tybalt to defend the family name. Romeo tries to stop them, but it is too late when Tybalt kills Mercutio. In anger and guilt Romeo than retaliates and catches Tybalt. In Romeo's rashness Tybalt dies .

Don't act hastily- This involves the manner in which Romeo and Juliet acted . They should have thought things through first before they jumped into matrimony. Matrimony is a lifetime thing and not just a teenage phase.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird


The basic time setting is in the South during the early twentieth century (1930s). Due to the Great Depression, poverty is a subject that affects many. Instead of using this as a binding theme, the people in the town use it as an element of separation. Prejudice of every sort runs rampant throughout the town, and even though things are simply "not fair", the time frame has to be remembered. Many stories have already occurred before the course of the novel begins. The reader learns of Boo Radley, who appears to be the "town freak". Not much is really known of him, just hearsay stories that people whisper to one another and to their children to warn them of the evils that may occur (this is due to their fear of the unknown). One story that is told is regarding an incident with Radley's father, who is supposedly stabbed with a pair of scissors, while Boo is under the influence of the "wrong group of friends". Mrs. Dubose is a story within herself. Introduced as an annoying old lady, who always screams insulting remarks at the children, she seems like the typical crotchety elderly woman. One day, Jem gets so fed up that he destroys every flower in her garden. As a punishment he is required, by his father to read to Mrs. Dubose everyday.

Atticus is another prominent character throughout the novel. As a single parent, he faces the world, raising his two children with his maid, Calpurnia, (who experiences better conditions and responsibilities than other African Americans of her time, due to Atticus' beliefs). He has a reputation for being an open-minded, fair man, overflowing with integrity. It is also learned that he is self-educated, and tries to indoctrinate his children to love education and literature as much as he does. The relationship he holds with his children should also be noted. Even though he is incredibly busy Atticus always seems to find time for Scout and Jem. He comforts them in their time of need, compromises, but always puts them back in their place, if they get out of hand. Tom Robinson, the accused, has a reputation within his own black community as an upright, honest, church-going family man. The Ewells, as a contrast to Robinson, aren't exactly noted for being model citizens. Bob Ewell, the father, has a reputation for being the town drunk, allowing his children to miss out on valuable education.

The major event that has started to unravel, prior to the novel is the case between Tom Robinson and the Ewells. Robinson, who was a hired hand, is  accused of raping Ewell's daughter, Mayella. The case falls into Atticus' lap, not because he believes that Robinson is innocent, but because it is his job to prove the latter so.


Maycomb County, in the south, 1930s


Jean Louise Finch (Scout) -Scout is the main protagonist of the novel. The story takes place during her years of growing up and maturing. As it begins, she is six years old. She is the daughter of Atticus Finch. She is very curious about various topics; school, her frightning neighbor, Boo Radley, and all the strange people living in the town. She does not want to act like a "lady", she will much rather run around and play all day in overalls, and jeans, than sit and do nothing in a dress. She loves to sit on her father's lap and have him read stories to her. She really loves to read, and gets very upset when her teacher tells her to stop reading since she is so far ahead of her classmates.

Jeremy Finch (Jem) - Jem is Scout's older brother. He is 10 as the story begins, and 13 at its end.He is very wise for his age, and also very emotional. He takes after his father Atticus a lot.He is more easy-going and not as adventurous as Scout.

Atticus Finch - Atticus is the town's most respected lawyer. He is not wealthy, but he is well off in the community and kind towards everyone. He has been assigned a case of defending a black man accused of rape. Now he is both revered and reviled by the townspeople. After all, they do live in the south in the early 1930's. Atticus gives a lot of advice to his kids. He tells them that they cannot judge people until they "climb into their skin and walk around in it".

Arthur (Boo) Radley- Boo Radley is a recluse who lives near to the Finches. He is the subject of various rumors that he is a ghost, or a murderer. All of the kids in Maycomb are afraid of him. He is just very shy and he does not wish to interact with the townspeople.

Calpurnia - Calpurnia is the black maid and cook of the Finch household. She acts like a mother figure towards Scout, as in the scene where Scout unknowingly insults a poor neighbor boy, and Calpurnia teaches her how to behave. She takes the children to her black church to sing and pray with them since all of the black townspeople like them because Atticus is defending Tom.

Tom Robinson - Tom is the black man who was accused of rape by Mayella Ewell. He is a young man who works around the town doing labor. He was hired by Mayella to do chores for her. He is strong and a hard worker, even though his left arm is shriveled and useless. He is innocent of the crime, but because he is black, he is considered guilty by the townspeople.

Mayella Ewell - Mayella is the daughter of Bob Ewell. She is a teenager, who is very spiteful and emotional. No one has ever liked her, and when Tom tries to be nice to her, she accuses him of rape. She lives at the end of town in squalor with her father and other brothers and sisters.

Bob Ewell - Bob is the head of the least respected and most hated family in the town. They live like animals and are always dirty and illiterate. They are not included in any part of the town, as they are considered too low and animal-like to go with whites, and they are white, so they can't go with the blacks. The Ewell children only go to school on the first day, and they are never bathed or in good clothes. They just go that one day to get their records in, then they never attend another school day. Bob is an older man, who is very selfish and mean. He tries to kill Jem at the end, and he is the one who most likely raped Mayella.

Dill -Dill is a friend of Scout and Jem. He is seven years old. He has white hair and is very small for his age. He seems to be very intelligent. He tells Scout and Jem about all the stories of his family in other towns and his travels to New York.

Walter Cunningham - Walter is a classmate of Scout who is extremely poor. He is very nice. He is very thin because he has various diseases like hookworm. Scout invites him over for dinner one night because she feels sorry for him. Walter's dad is a good friend of Atticus, and it is because of him that Atticus is not harmed in the incident at the jail.

Mrs. Dubose - She is a very old woman who lives near to the Finch family. She has Jem read to her each week. One time when Jem and Scout were over to visit her, she goes off on an attack of their family. She says that Jem should be sent to reform school, and that Scout should quit wearing overalls and start acting like a lady. She then criticizes Atticus, which enrages Jem and Scout. She is addicted to morphine, which is the reason that she is so mean to everyone.

Aunt Alexandria - She is Atticus's sister. She wishes to make Scout behave like a "lady", and she takes her to a party with all of her older women friends. She doesn't approve of Atticus's defense of a black man, even though he is innocent. She is very concerned about how the Finch family is seen in the community. She doesn't want them to do anything that will make the town go against them.

Plot Summary:

The reader is introduced to the narrator, Scout Finch, who describes her family history and her town, Maycomb. She and her brother, Jem, are also introduced to Dill, and the children share stories and fantasies about the mystery man (Boo Radley) who lives near by. The reader learns that Scout has problems at school early on, but she learns a lesson in manners when Walter Cunningham comes to lunch and a lesson in compromise from her father, Atticus. As time goes by, Scout and Jem find some mysterious presents in the knothole of an old tree on the Radley place, leading to fascination with the mysterious Boo Radley.

Jem, Dill, and Scout venture out one night to try to see into Boo Radley's back window - an adventure that leads to frightening results, especially for Jem.

As the summer comes to a close, Scout and Jem find more presents in the Radley tree. Their treasures include small sculptures and a watch. Unfortunately, their bounty is suddenly cut off by Mr. Radley, who seals up the hole in the tree.

Winter comes quickly, bringing a rare snowstorm to Maycomb. Miss Maudie's house is ruined in a fire, and Scout has a rare encounter with Boo Radley without even knowing it.

Scout gets into a number of fisticuffs with both a classmate and her cousin when the two boys taunt her about her father, whom they insult by calling him a "nigger lover." Atticus explains to Scout that he will be defending a black man named Tom Robinson on the charge of rape.

When the danger of a rabid dog threatens the town, Scout discovers that her father, whom she previously thought too old to do anything, does possess some talents. Atticus turns out be a crack shot, killing the dog in one shot at a great distance.

Jem and Scout learn more about their neighbor Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose. Atticus eventually has Jem read to her, as she is a sick woman, and needs something to take her mind off of her predicament.

Atticus leaves town, and Calpurnia, the Finch's black maid, takes Jem and Scout to her church. They also learn more information about Tom Robinson, the man who Atticus intends to defend.

As Tom Robinson's trial approaches, Atticus worries about the safety of his client. This fear that proves to be justified. A group of townspeople, including Walter Cunningham, appear at the courthouse one night, with the intention of lynching Tom Robinson. The only person who stands in their way is Atticus. At first, the mob intends to plow right through him, but with the unexpected arrival of Scout, they realize the error of their actions.

When Tom Robinson's trial finally begins, evidence begins to show that Robinson is obviously innocent. Heck Tate and Mr. Ewell take the stand in Tom Robinson's trial, giving further evidence to prove Robinson's innocence. Atticus points out that a left-handed man must have beaten Mayella Ewell. He goes on to show that while Mr. Ewell is left-handed, Tom Robinson's left arm is crippled due to a farming accident. When Mayella Ewell takes the stand, it becomes obvious that her story has many holes in it. However, she starts crying hysterically before Atticus may point many of them out.

When Tom Robinson takes the stand, the obviously true story comes out. It becomes evident that Mayella Ewell was a very lonely person who's only crime was to kiss a black man. Her father, Bob Ewell, beat and raped her for this crime. Mr. Ewell also forced her to say that Tom Robinson did it, so that he wouldn't get in trouble.

As they take a break from the trial, Scout and Dill get to know Dolphus Raymond better. He is thought to be a town drunk, looked badly upon for being a white man that married a black woman. As it turns out, he isn't drunk after all. He merely uses it as a cover-up, so that he doesn't have to answer questions about his life. Afterwards, Scout and Jem listen to Atticus's closing statements in the trial.

After the verdict is announced in Tom Robinson's case, guilty, the children, as well as other members of the community, discuss and react to the verdict. Atticus and the children discuss the trial, Scout and Aunt Alexandra discuss Walter Cunningham, and Jem and Scout discuss class distinctions.

As Scout suffers through one of her Aunt's missionary circle affairs, Atticus returns home with the news that Tom Robinson has been killed. He brings the news to Tom's family, who reacts as can be expected. Tom was killed while trying to escape, but he knew he never had a chance, with his crippled arm. After a classroom discussion of Adolf Hitler and his treatment of the Jews, Scout is struck by the hypocrisy of many of Maycomb's residents. While condemning Hitler for being prejudiced and genocidal, the same people act racist and genocidal themselves.

It would appear that Bob Ewell has not forgotten his grudge against some of Maycomb's citizens, including Judge Taylor and Helen Robinson. In the meantime, Scout prepares for a Halloween night presentation at her school. She plans to wear a bulky pig costume, one the severely limits her vision.While returning home from the school pageant, Jem and Scout are attacked. Jem's arm is broken, and a stranger carries him home. Scout cannot see what is happening due the darkness and her constrictive costume. Afterwards, a search of the area by the local officials turns up Bob Ewell's dead body. As Heck Tate and Atticus listen, Scout tells them what happened to her and Jem, ending by pointing to the man who had carried Jem home, who she realizes is Boo Radley. Atticus assumes that it was Jem who stabbed Bob Ewell, but the sheriff tells Atticus that he intends to report that Ewell fell on his own knife. Atticus is sure that the sheriff is trying to protect Jem, until it finally dawns on him that it was actually Boo Radley who killed Ewell. Scout walks Boo Radley home, and then returns to her house to see Atticus sitting by her unconscious brother, as the novel ends.

Major Conflicts

Man vs. Society: The conflict of man vs. society is basically one that deals with the prejudices, and values that the society holds. The individual that poses a different view than the society, is discriminated against, for not "flowing with the norm".

Boo Radley vs. Society: The fear of the unknown plays a major role in thisconflict. Viewed as the town freak, the parents of the community tell stories of Boo, and warn their children against going near him, or even worse: becoming him. These stories and the curiosity built up inside every child leads Radley to be set off from society.

Robinson vs. White Society: As another "mockingbird", of the story, Robinson is wrongly accused, and loses his life due to the racism of the community. Even though it is obvious, to every person in the jury, that Robinson could not have committed the crime, and that he is an upright and religious churchgoing man, he is still accused of rape, and jailed.

Man vs. Man - The conflict of man vs. man is a vengeful one. The conflict is usually present due to a feud, disagreement with principles or an actual physical confrontation. It is expressed and enacted in various ays. This type of conflict is expressed in certain situations in this novel.

Bob Ewell vs. Tom Robinson - The conflict between the Ewells and Tom is not necessarily a direct hatred but it is a significant conflict in the story. Bob Ewell has his daughter, Mayella, accuse Tom of raping her. In truth, it was Bob who had raped and beat her. So Bob creates the conflict so he can get away with the crime. Tom is also a convenient and convincing "rapist" because he was at the house frequently and because he is black. This indirect conflict was settled in court and Tom was convicted of Bob' crime.

The Ewells vs. Atticus Finch - During the trial, Atticus was the lawyer for Tom. He proved through various examples and forms of evidence that Bob was guilty, not Tom. This completely, but silently, destroys any type of credibility that Bob possessed. He now resented Atticus and sought revenge on him. He took the matter into his own hands again and attacked the things that Atticus held most dear, his children. After a Halloween ball, Jem and Scout were walking home. Bob Ewell followed them and attacked them with a knife. If Boo Radley had not been there, then Jem would definitely have been killed.

Key Issues

TomRobinson's innocence : although the evidence clearly proved his innocence (the one arm, his respectable personality, and his class difference) in the court case in which he was accused of raping Mayella Ewell (Her father actually did it), the town would not allow Tom Robinson to be set free, due to the town's racist mentality. Tom Robinson was black.This is an example of racism in the book.

Atticus' hidden courage : Atticus was truly a brave man, although on the outside he appeared to be a pacifist. He often encouraged his children to avoid conflict (Mrs. Dubose is one example). When Atticus killed the rabid dog, his children gained a totally different view of him. The whole town had revealed to them the secret of their father, that he was an excellent marksman and a brave man. Scout and Jem saw the Atticus that was once brave and daring. Thus, they became proud to model themselves after their own father, once shunning him.

Mob mentality : Mob mentality is when a whole group of people, in this case, the people of Maycomb County, is caught in one specific mind set, for or against something. The mob mentality of the town allowed the residents to believe that Tom Robinson was guilty, despite Atticus' excellent defense of Robinson in court. The town's mentality would never allow them to set a black man free, so they were prejudiced against Tom Robinson from the start. Tom Robinson had one arm, was a decent man, and never raped Mayella Ewell, which would have been sufficient proof to set any other man free. Since Tom Robinson was a black man, and since the town was prejudiced against him, the jury ignored all the evidence on convicted Tom solely because he was a black man.

Social classes : The County of Maycomb was divided into strict social classes, with each bearing animosity towards each one another. There were the black people, living in their own section of Maycomb, the Ewells, which were a class unto themselves, and the middle class of Maycomb County. Because of the great differences in the classes, Tom Robinson never had a chance of being set free, since he is of a "lower" class in the eyes of most of Maycomb county's citizens.

Mrs. Dubose's morphine addiction : Mrs. Dubose was an old lady who was very ill. As such, she was put on morphine and had become addicted to it. Before she died, her one wish was that she would conquer her addiction to morphine. So she spent her days and nights in bed, suffering through morphine withdrawal. At one point, Jem was read for her, as a punishment from his father for destroying Mrs. Dubose's flowers. It was at this point that the magnitude of her sickness could be seen. Mrs. Dubose was a very sick old woman. She could barely stay awake through Jem's readings. She would have fits of coughing. This was all a result of being deprived of morphine. Still, she soldiered on, and died shortly thereafter, having been free from the drug. She was no longer bound to morphine, or the earthly realm, and had thus prevailed through adversity.

Jem's Maturity : Jem started out as a playful child who was often a companion to Scout. Later on though, you could see his personality change from immature to mature. He grew to understand the ways of life, racism, and toleration. His experience with Mrs. Dubose was a learning one. He learned toleration, for by destroying her flowers after mere taunts from her brought him nothing but grief. In addition, after Mrs. Dubose died, he learns of her struggle and looks at her in a new light. This is an example of the ongoing theme of maturity in the book.

Jem and Scout's experiences with Boo Radley : Jem and Scout's experiences with Boo Radley allowed them to learn and accept those who are different from them. Boo Radley was viewed as the town freak, because he was very reclusive. As a result, the children are curious to learn more about him, so they launch a series of covert operations to penetrate the outer layer of the Radley house. They are scared off by someone, and are terribly afraid of that house from that day on. Still, Boo Radley comes to their aid when Scout and Jem are attacked by Bob Ewell, showing that the rumors were untrue. They gain a newfound respect for Boo Radley, and learn to accept him though he may be a little different from them. This demonstrates the theme of respect.

The Cunningham's Financial Status vs. The Ewell's Financial Status : The Cunninghams were just as poor as the Ewells, yet they dealt with their poverty in a different manner. They did not suck money from the state through welfare as the Ewells did, and paid for what they could. They would not take handouts. An example of this is when Walter Cunningham was offered lunch money by his teacher. he wouldn't take it because he knew he would never be able to repay it. Poverty reduced the Ewells to an animalistic style of life, where fathers rape their own daughters. The Ewells also never attended school, aside from the first day, whereas the Cunninghams were faithfully attending school. In addition, the Cunninghams remained honorable despite their situation, while the Ewells didn't. The Cunninghams and the Ewells are two examples of how different people deal with the same situation of poverty.

Lessons, Morals, Applications:

Don't attack something if it hasn't harmed you:

This lesson is taught to Jem and Scout by Atticus when he teaches them about the mockingbird. He says that the mockingbird is innocent and only sings for you. It is therefore wrong to kill it. The examples of the mockingbird within the novel are Tom and Boo. Tom was attacked by the entire white society in Maycomb County. These attacks and accusations destroyed his innocent, respectable life. Arthur "Boo" Radley was also an innocent victim to the taunts and of the people of the county. Because of their aversion to his life they separated him from any chance of leading a normal life.

Unfortunately, prejudice is still applicable to today's society. Perhaps not as rampant as when the novel was written, but its venom can still be observed. The racial prejudice that was around in the 1930s, is still around 40 years later. Some things just don't change.

The importance of education can also be applied to life. Whether coming from the mouths of our parents, or teachers, it is constantly reminded that the road to bettering oneself is by education. Atticus constantly reminded Scout of this, and Harper Lee depicted it by contrasting the Cunninghams with the Ewells.

Respect and understanding are the key to peaceful coexistence. If one can achieve these two factors, then one can safely say that an armistice has been reached. Scout and Jem learned this by their dealings with Mrs. Dubose and Boo Radley.

Don't Judge Others:

Mrs. Dubose: She is also judged by the town. Others view of her is specifically expressed through Jem. He feels that she is an old hag who hates everything and scares everyone, especially children. When Jem is made by Atticus to go to her home and keep her company through reading and other activities he learns about the real Mrs. Dubose. He found that she was a genuine person who was only spiteful because of her addiction to the pain-killer morphine. But, she was inspired to spend her last days free from the drug. If the people of the town took the time to learn about Mrs.Dubose the way that Jem had maybe they would be more sympathetic and inspired as well.


Prejudice : Prejudice runs rampant in Maycomb county. ex1. The town has prejudice against blacks. This is seen in the case against Tom Robinson. It is obvious that he is innocent through evidence presented by Atticus(Bob Ewell is left handed, Tom's left hand is useless, etc.)but since the jury "cannot" find a black man innocent over a white family they find him guilty. ex2. prejudice against boo Radley. No one bothers to find out about the real Arthur "boo" Radley. He may seem a little scary but the town ridicules him and shuns him from society. All the children have been raised to fear him as the town freak. If they took the time to see the world from his eyes they might not be so prejudiced to his situation.

Maturity : Different degrees of maturity are displayed by the characters of the novel. ex1. Atticus. One might say he is an adult and therefore mature. This is a very irrational statement because there are many adults that have no hint of maturity. His view is very enlightened for a white southern man in the thirties. He shows his mature and enlightened views in the court room while defending Tom Robinson. He doesn't take Tom's defense lightly because he's black but tries hard to with his case. He also shows how mature he is in the way he treats and raises his children. The life lessons and the free thought that are exchanged show his maturity and understanding in bringing up scout and Jem. ex2. Scout. She shows a maturity level that is advanced for her age. This is due not only to her free spirit and intelligent approach to experiences but from the teachings of Atticus. She constantly asks questions and truly cares about important issues such as reading.

Friendship : This is an influential theme in the novel. ex1. with Dill. The friendship with Dill opens scout and Jem up to a new world. He talks of experiences outside of their small closed community. He also introduces them to the stories of boo Radley. ex2. Atticus with his children. if Atticus did not have some kind of friendship with his children they couldn't call him Atticus. They also might not see his important lessons in the same light because not only is it teachings from a father but life advice and insight from a friend. ex3. Boo with Jem and Scout. It isn't really a friendship that they develop but a friendly understanding. For certain purposes is is just as important because just to understand that Boo was another real relatable person gave them the ability to oversee the stereotypes set on him. Plus their friendly manner allowed Boo to have an outside contact with the world(gifts in the tree)

Status : Status plays a role in every story. But the status divisions in this story are very defined and influences many happenings in this novel. The social structure is made up of four layers. The highest level is held by white, educated "wealthy" families (especially the men of those families). This includes the Finches and Mr. Tate. The second layer is the working "middle" class. Although these people are generally poor, they work and are somewhat educated. The members of this class would include small shop owners and farmers for example the Cunninghams. The next class although financially similar, has completely different morals, standards and quality of life. This class may include some who work, but most noticeably, it is made up of the town drunks, fools and all around irresponsible people. This class certainly includes the Ewell family. Finally the lowest rank in this hierarchy is the made up of the black citizens. Although they may be as educated and economically stable as those in the second or even first rank, because of their skin they are immediate outcasts and can obviously never move out of their strata. This specific structure had influence in certain events in this novel.

Sacrifice : When someone sacrifices something for the benefit of others it is usually well praised. But in this novel not all sacrificial acts are given their recognition. ex1. Tom Robinson sacrifices his life for his family: After the guilty verdict in Tom's trial, he was sentenced to be in jail and later hanged. But, this would almost definitely lead to his family being further ostracized from the Maycomb community. His execution and trial would linger with them. So, to end this future suffering for his family, Tom purposely tried to be killed while he made his "escape." No one truly realizes his intentions; maybe because he was black or people figured he was trying to save his own life.

Key Facts

narrator ·Scout narrates the story herself, looking back in retrospect an unspecified number of years after the events of the novel take place.

point of view ·Scout narrates in the first person, telling what she saw and heard at the time and augmenting this narration with thoughts and assessments of her experiences in retrospect. Although she is by no means an omniscient narrator, she has matured considerably over the intervening years and often implicitly and humorously comments on the naïveté she displayed in her thoughts and actions as a young girl. Scout mostly tells of her own thoughts but also devotes considerable time to recounting and analyzing Jem's thoughts and actions.

tone ·Childlike, humorous, nostalgic, innocent; as the novel progresses, increasingly dark, foreboding, and critical of society tense ·Past setting (time) · 1933-1935 setting (place) ·The fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama protagonist ·Scout Finch major conflict ·The childhood innocence with which Scout and Jem begin the novel is threatened by numerous incidents that expose the evil side of human nature, most notably the guilty verdict in Tom Robinson's trial and the vengefulness of Bob Ewell. As the novel progresses, Scout and Jem struggle to maintain faith in the human capacity for good in light of these recurring instances of human evil.

rising action ·Scout, Jem, and Dill become fascinated with their mysterious neighbor Boo Radley and have an escalating series of encounters with him. Meanwhile, Atticus is assigned to defend a black man, Tom Robinson against the spurious rape charges Bob Ewell has brought against him. Watching the trial, Scout, and especially Jem, cannot understand how a jury could possibly convict Tom Robinson based on the Ewells' clearly fabricated story.

climax ·Despite Atticus's capable and impassioned defense, the jury finds Tom Robinson guilty. The verdict forces Scout and Jem to confront the fact that the morals Atticus has taught them cannot always be reconciled with the reality of the world and the evils of human nature.

falling action ·When word spreads that Tom Robinson has been shot while trying to escape from prison, Jem struggles to come to terms with the injustice of the trial and of Tom Robinson's fate. After making a variety of threats against Atticus and others connected with the trial, Bob Ewell assaults Scout and Jem as they walk home one night, but Boo Radley saves the children and fatally stabs Ewell. The sheriff, knowing that Boo, like Tom Robinson, would be misunderstood and likely convicted in a trial, protects Boo by saying that Ewell tripped and fell on his own knife. After sitting and talking with Scout briefly, Boo retreats into his house, and Scout never sees him again.

themes ·The coexistence of good and evil; the importance of moral education; social class motifs ·Gothic details; small-town life symbols ·Mockingbirds; Boo Radley foreshadowing ·The Gothic elements of the novel (the fire, the mad dog) build tension that subtly foreshadows Tom Robinson's trial and tragic death; Burris Ewell's appearance in school foreshadows the nastiness of Bob Ewell; the presents Jem and Scout find in the oak tree foreshadow the eventual discovery of Boo Radley's good-heartedness; Bob Ewell's threats and suspicious behavior after the trial foreshadow his attack on the children.

All Copyrights Intended © Dhruv Bhalla

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