Critical Analysis of "To Kill a Mockingbird"

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nsj90
Words 1738
Pages 7
Task 2: Critical Analysis
Ngien Sing Jier
For this semester, we are analysing a novel entitled ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ written by Harper Lee. I find this novel very meaningful and interesting to read as well. After reading and analysing the novel a few times along with the teachings of my lecturer, I can differentiate the story told from different perspectives, parts when Scout was young and parts when she was an adult. It is about the life and happenings in Maycomb County. The story is told in the first person point of view whereby Scout as the narrator, is a character in the story who tells us everything she has experienced. She can reveal only personal thoughts and feelings and what she sees and is told by other characters. Harper Lee wrote this novel based on her real life experience during childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. “Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ takes readers to the roots of human behavior namely innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humour and pathos.”

Theme is the main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. A theme may be stated or implied. Theme differs from the subject or topic of a literary work in that it involves an opinion or statement about the topic but not every literary work has a theme. Themes may be major or minor. A major theme is an idea the author returns to time and again, becomes one of the most important ideas in the story whereas minor themes are ideas that may appear from time to time. However, the theme makes some statement about or expresses some opinion on that topic.

The main theme in this novel is discrimination, focusing on racial discrimination by the Whites against the Blacks who are the African-Americans. However, there are some discrimination among the White themselves particularly against the…...

Similar Documents

To Kill a Mockingbird

...trial as the jury consists entirely of white people and even though Tom’s case is stronger than the Ewells he does not have much chance. In conclusion, Harper Lee engages the reader’s sympathy using techniques such as description and dialogue. Using these two techniques, Lee creates imagery in the mind of the reader to help them to sympathise for Tom. Later in the novel, Tom Robinson is killed and this engages the reader’s emotions as the reader’s sympathy towards Tom has been built up through out the trial. His death leaves the reader sad and angry because of the unjust way in which he was convicted. Tom is the mockingbird in the story because he only tries to make Mayella happy just like a mockingbird would through its singing. Tom Robinson was killed for an unfair reason as Atticus said early on in the book, ‘it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’. This quote from Atticus makes the reader feel sympathetic for Tom as it shows how the Finches have all the compassionate values and the reader feels angry that the other white people can’t realise such values. Reuben Walker...

Words: 881 - Pages: 4

To Kill a Mockingbird

...The text under analysis belongs to belle-lettres style. The sub-style is emotive prose. The biggest part of the text is the finest example of oratorical style. The extract is taken from the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The author of the novel is Harper Lee. She is an American writer. She was born in 1926 in the state of Alabama. In 1945-1949 she studied law at the University of Alabama. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is her first novel. It received almost unanimous critical acclaim and the Pulitzer Prize. In this book the author paints a true and lively picture of a quiet Southern town in Alabama rocked by a young girl’s accusation of criminal assault. The main character of the novel is Atticus Fintch, an experienced smart lawyer. He was asked to defend Tom Robinson, a Negro, who was charged with raping a white girl. Her name is Mayella Ewell and she is old Bob Ewell’s daughter. Atticus has got two children. Their names are Jem, who is thirteen and Jean Louise, nicknamed Scout, aged seven. The extract under consideration contains the scene in the court. Both children were present at the trail and it is Jean Louise who describes it. So, it’s the first point narration. Jean’s observations make the story vivid, convincing and emotional because she “saw something only lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for”. Also her observations after her father help the reader to understand how Atticus was excited and nervous in the court. The atmosphere at the......

Words: 2073 - Pages: 9

Analysis of to Kill a Mockingbird

...Nelle Harper Lee is an American writer who won the Pulitzer-Prize (1961) for her only book To Kill a Mockingbird. The plot and characters are broadly based on the author's observations and recollections of her family and neighbourhood, as well as on an event, similar to that in her novel, that occurred near her hometown. In 2007 Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. The extract begins with Atticus’s concluding words on the evidence for the defence. The author passes on to the lawyer’s appeal to the jury: the defendant points at the lack of medical evidence of Tom Robinson’s criminal actions, the doubtful testimony of the Ewells and the fact that Mayella couldn’t be beaten by right-handed Tom Robinson. Then the lawyer supposes that Mayella slandered against Tom to conceal her attempt to tempt him. The author exposes the widespread false assumption on the black through Atticus’s antiracist appeal to the jury for being unprejudiced against Tom Robinson. The final part of the speech reveals the author’s criticism at the common opinion on the equality of people. The extract ends with finding Tom Robinson guilty. The main idea of the story is to make the reader think about the power of prejudices and the consequences they may bring about. The author treat this subject critically: she not only develops the idea of equality of people in the eye of the law and shows us how narrow-minded people of prejudice are, but proves that......

Words: 2591 - Pages: 11

To Kill a Mockingbird

...of To Kill a Mockingbird takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, six-year-old named Scout Finch, lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout become friends with a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt for the summer. The three children are afraid of their neighbor "Boo" Radley. The adults of Maycomb don’t like to talk about Boo and for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other's imaginations with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. After two summers of being friends with Dill, Scout and Jem find out someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley house. Boo makes gestures to the children but is never seen in person. Atticus is assigned to defend a black man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman. Although many of Maycomb's citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom. Atticus discovers that the accusers—Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk—are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her in the act. Even with convincing evidence of Tom's innocence, the jury convicts him. Tom is soon shot and killed while trying to escape from prison. Harper Lee wrote To Kill a......

Words: 1287 - Pages: 6

To Kill a Mockingbird

...A mockingbird is a harmless bird that makes the world more pleasant. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the mockingbird symbolizes Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson, who were peaceful people who never did any harm. To kill or harm them would be a sin. Scout's father, Atticus, tells Scout and Jem, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Atticus is portraying that they are innocent and to harm them would be a sin. The mockingbird symbolizes these three characters because it does not have its own song, the mockingbird only sings other birds' songs and is seen through the other bird’s voices. The people of Maycomb only knew Boo, Atticus and Tom by what others said about them. These characters do not really have their own voice or song, they are only known for what others say about them. Atticus is a lawyer in Maycomb, a typical southern town where racial discrimination is the normal behavior. When he decides to defend Tom Robinson a black man, the people in the town were threatening him for doing so. Though Atticus never showed any sign that he doubted what he was doing. Atticus saw the evil in his world and was only trying to protect his children from it. He simply denied the natural behavior to colored people and fought against it. Atticus took the hatred, pushed it aside, kept his head high and stayed true to himself. He never hurt a soul and was just as innocent as a mockingbird. Boo Radley went......

Words: 678 - Pages: 3

To Kill a Mockingbird

...The story under analysis is the excerpt from the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, that’s why it has not a special title. The title of the whole book is thought-provoking and idiomatic; it makes the reader wonder what a Mockingbird is and who is supposed to kill it. The subject matter of the story is racial discrimination, corruption of the court system in the American world of prejudice. This extract depicts a trial of Tom Robinson, a Negro, who is in the criminal dock on a capital charge of assaulting a white girl. His defending counsel Atticus Finch is an experienced lawyer and progressive minded man. It is the Atticus’s speech to the jury that takes the best part of the text, so as far as contextual style is concerned; it presents a vivid example of oratorical style. Thus the main part of the text presents the main character’s monologue with bits of the story-teller’s commentary and dialogues. As for the type of narration, it is the first person narration the story-teller being the observer of the events. It is chosen to convey the atmosphere of the court-room. The story is told by the Atticus’s daughter, Jean Louise, and her description makes the story more convincing, vivid, real and emotional. Now I would like to dwell upon the compositional analysis of the text. The story has neither introduction nor conclusion. It can be explained that the text is only an extract from the novel, so there are big parts of the novel which both precede and follow the......

Words: 2401 - Pages: 10

Analysis of to Kill a Mockingbird

...Racism has for a long time been a worldwide problem and does still exist to this very day. Although several protagonists of rights has accomplished a lot of success throughout the time by defending blacks, some people still think that the color of a man’s skin is connected to his status as a human being. But what happens when a white man stands up to defend a black man, in a society which is based on prejudices against blacks? And does moral even interfere? That is some of the question the author, Harper Lee, is answering in his novel "To kill a Mockingbird", published in the year of 1960. The story is about the siblings Scout and Jem Finch living in a small town called Maycomb. They have lost their mother but as a replacement they have their nanny, Calpurnia, to look after them. Their father, Atticus, does also take care of them while being one of the only lawyers in the county. One summer, the siblings become fascinated by their neighbor, Boo Radley, who never seems to leave the house. Scout and Jem spend most of the summer, in company of their friend Dill, trying to get a glimpse of their mysterious neighbor. After several attempts of getting near the house they must conclude that Boo Radley remains a puzzle as Jem and Scout goes back to school. The subsequent summer Atticus is struggling with a case, in which he is defending the black man Tom Robinson. Tom has been accused of raping the white girl Mayella Ewell. Atticus, as well as Jem and Scout, is assured......

Words: 1164 - Pages: 5

To Kill a Mockingbird

...will introduce you to the two main characters in Harper Lee's book "To kill a mockingbird", comparing them in their attitudes and actions. Atticus Finch is a single father raising two children in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Atticus works as a lawyer believing in equal justice for all Americans regardless of race or religion. Bob Ewell is also a single father raising eight children who also lives in Maycomb. Bob is unemployed collecting welfare who believes in racial segregation. He believes in different modes of justice for blacks and whites. Atticus is very compassionate while talking to his thirteen-year-old son Jem. Atticus was explaining to him that he would do anything just for Bob to stop beating his kids. As he said, "So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there."(Pg. 221) In addition Atticus explains to Jem that he had to do what he had to do because he destroyed Bob's last shred of credibility, whereas Bob is a coward who doesn't deal with the matter but makes things worse. Bob proves himself to be very cowardly. He doesn't think before making his actions. As a result of this he tried to kill Atticus' children, Jem and Scout. As they were walking home from the Halloween pageant, Bob came out and tried to kill them. Bob got what he deserved when Boo Radley, a neighbor who......

Words: 639 - Pages: 3

To Kill a Mockingbird

...Zach McKinnell Mrs. Ivey Honors English 9 2\8\15 To Kill A Mockingbird was one of the best books of the twentieth century. It has lots of good morals and shows how people learn lessons. In this book there are many instances where people follow Atticus’ advice. When he says you need to walk in someone’s shoes before you can judge their lives. Throughout the book people learn about this lesson more and more. One example is when Scout walks in Boo’s shoes. During the story Scout was on Boo’s porch and was finally getting a view from Boo’s eyes. She said this is as close as you can get to walking in somebody’s shoes. She realizes Boo isn’t really the bad person everybody thinks he is. She realizes he really has a good heart and is a really kind person. She realized how it would have affected him if Atticus would not have lied. She saw how he saw the town and the people in it. Another example is Atticus and Heck walking in Boo’s shoes. They both realize that they have to lie to protect Boo. They realize Boo doesn’t want all the attention of being a hero. They both see he is a really good man. They see he’s never done anything wrong and doesn’t deserve to be brought out of his comfort zone. They compared it to killing a mockingbird, because a mockingbird does nothing but make pretty music and never hurts anyone, so why kill it? They walked in Boo’s shoes and saw why they should protect him from the attention and everything he doesn’t want. The next example is Jem......

Words: 456 - Pages: 2

To Kill a Mockingbird

...In the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, the novel commences by introducing the three main characters Charles Baker “Dill” Harris, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, and Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch. These three children are the focus of the revolutionary piece, which is settled in the farmers city of Maycomb, Alabama in the early years of The Great Depression. Why does the author include the third character Dill, why didn’t Lee focus only on the two Finch siblings? Possibly Lee meant to establish Boo within the plot to emphasize the children’s friendship. Perhaps this can be explained with; the Greek philosophy of Pythagoreanism, the Bible, and the compatible characters of the children. The story of how these children met was arbitrary; however, these were the years that will never be forgotten due to the mystery of Boo, the youngest within the Radley family. Arthur “Boo” Radley is a character in the novel that keeps Dill, Jem, and Scout together by arousing their curiosity. Boo could possibly be a psychotic ex-con and this only drives the kids deeper into the rumors about him. Boo is a mysterious recluse that leaves the entire neighborhood filled with questions. The mystery of Boo Radley is what initially brings the children together as a group and continues to be the glue that holds them together. Lee perhaps incorporated the Pythagoreanism a philosophy established by Pythagoras. This philosophy involves the theory of the perfection......

Words: 617 - Pages: 3

“to Kill a Mockingbird” Analysis

...“To Kill a Mockingbird” Analysis Harper Lee published “To Kill a Mockingbird “ in 1960, a time buzzing with racial segregation and irrational injustice. She based the book on various events that were all to real, only fifty years ago. Throughout the book, the author captures these horrendous inequalities and is able to explore these subjects through various situations and characters. However, it is not always just the color of one’s skin as to the reason of why they are treated differently. Lee is able to display examples of prejudice based on class and status of a person, rather than race alone, through the use of abstract symbols through the use of characters. Harper Lee use birds to symbolize traits in various characters throughout the book. Although it is not just mockingbirds used as the only bird example. When Jem and Scout receive guns to shoot for fun, Atticus warns them against shooting mockingbirds. However, he states that they may shoot all the blue jays they desire. Blue jays are the nuance bird; this connects to Bob Ewell due to the fact that he is the perfect display of a blue jay. The blue jays represent the prejudiced citizens of Maycomb; they are ever present and continue to taunt others. Atticus goes on to tell the kids that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. The mockingbird is the innocent bird and therefore sums up Tom Robinson the most clearly. As being an innocent man that is only being tried due to his race, he embodies the mockingbird perfectly.......

Words: 1714 - Pages: 7

Analysis of Extract from Novel to Kill a Mockingbird

...Lina Osmolovskaya Group 402 Analysis of the extract from novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” Hapter Lee was born in 1926 in the state of Alabama. In 1945-1949 she studied law at the University of Alabama. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is her first novel. It received almost unanimous critical acclaim and several awards, the Pulitzer Prize among them. The extract under study depicts a trial of Tom Robinson, a Negro, who is accused of assaulting a white girl. His defending counsel is Atticus Finch, experiences lawyer who is going his best to prove the innocence of the Negro. The main problem raised by the author is an issue of justice. The message of Hapter Lee is that in the face of court each and every human should be treated honestly, no matter what his social status, education or colour of skin is. The story is told by Jean Louise, seven years old daughter of Atticus who is watching the trial. It helps to make the narration much more vivid, emotional and real because she knows her father very well and therefore is able to see each and every unusual detail in his behavior. For example antisepsis “in public and private”, homogeneous parts of the sentence “he unbuttoned his vest, unbuttoned his collar, loosened his tie and took off his coat” and an epithet “stark naked” are employed to show how excited was Atticus on the trial. But despite his excitement, he did not lose his professionalism what is made clear by the use of simile “he was talking to the jury as if they were folks on......

Words: 626 - Pages: 3

To Kill a Mockingbird

...Final Analysis on “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Jackie Berry Colorado Technical University LITR 240 Prof. Peggy Huey May 9, 2011 Abstract When an author writes novels, short stories, or poems, most of their ideas come from life experiences. The author is trying to send a message that may mirror what the reader can understand. Many writings address conflicts, themes and symbolism. Harper Lee (2006) introduced many of these elements into her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Harper Lee gives accounts of the story as if she was a young child and learns many life lessons that change her life forever. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (2006), takes place a small populated town in Maycomb, Alabama. The author has taken us back when hatred and prejudice is very common in the 1930s. Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch are frowned upon because Atticus is defending a black man of allegedly raping a white woman. Atticus uses this opportunity to teach Scout and Jem morals that we teach our children today. Atticus teaches Scout and Jem to not to be judgmental towards anyone, not be afraid to stand up for what is right, and violence does not solve anything. Jem and Scout will also learn the true symbolizing of why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Harper Lee described the town of Maycomb as being a very poor and run down. The community is very small and everyone knew each other. The blacks and whites are divided and some......

Words: 1623 - Pages: 7

To Kill a Mockingbird

...Analysis of “To kill a mockingbird” Saryuna Rinchino, gr. 02193 The story under analysis is an extract from a novel “To kill a mockingbird”. The book was written by Harper Lee in 1960. Harper Lee was born in 1926 in the state of Alabama. In 1945-1949 she studied law at the University of Alabama. “To kill a mockingbird” is her first novel and after being published it was highly acclaimed and even was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, one of the most important awards in literature. The book became an international bestseller and was adapted into screen in 1962. The events of the novel “To kill a mockingbird” take place during a difficult time in the South. At that time black people were treated as people of lower level than white ones. Racial Discrimination was running high in the South as a whole, especially in Alabama. Many details of “To kill a mockingbird”are apparently autobiographical but Harper Lee insisted that the novel is fully a work of fiction. The events of the extract take place in the court of Maycomb County. Two small children secretly came to the trial and was sitting there the whole trial. A Negro, Tom Robison by name, was falsely accused in rapping a white woman. But Atticus, a defender and the two children’s father, was absolutely sure in his innocence and tried to give all necessary facts to persuade the jury. Actually it was the white woman’s father, Bob Ewell, who had bitten her as he had seen her kissing Tom Robinson. And also it was Mayella Ewell......

Words: 1233 - Pages: 5

To Kill a Mockingbird

...JC Miranda & Shant Bekarian Mrs. Lambert English Honors II The book To kill a mockingbird is a microcosm of the Judicial Branch and the American law system. Microcosm has a multitude of definitions that vary from a little world to a greatly diminished size. The definition being examined in this essay is something that makes up another entity of a larger size. Juror Eleven makes a connection between these two by stating his love for this country due to the differences between where he immigrated from and the United States. He also explains a side of democracy where everyone should play their part: “ We have a responsibility. This is a remarkable thing about democracy…., We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. This is why we are strong” (pg 50). Robinson creates this microcosm of the Judicial Branch through 3 characters which are Jurors 3, 8, and the foreman. These characters make up the microcosm by becoming sides of the justice system and representations of where the young man is guilty or not. Juror 3 is the side that believes the young man is guilty and opposes him which can mean that the he is more like the plaintiff or prosecutor in the justice system. On the contrary Juror 8 believes the young man is innocent which means that he is more like the defendant’s side in the justice system. The foreman is the one who calms the situation and stops a conversation from becoming too heated. He is most like the judge or bailiff that consoles......

Words: 608 - Pages: 3

NUEVO Nikon D750 Digital SLR Camera Body Only | The Banking Concept of Education - 656 Words | Контроль доступа и переговорные устройства