To Kill A Mockingbird

By: Ben, Miguel, and Ferguson

Thematic Statement

The unanimous opinion of racism in Maycomb County builds a theme of injustice in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird because social class in Maycomb’s society is based upon the color of a person’s skin.


Racism was ironic during one of Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle meetings, she talks about how the people in Africa live in "poverty and darkness" with no one but J. Grimes Everett to help them. The irony is that the ladies feel sorry, and are so willing to help the Mrunas, that they overlook the problem at home, and even make fun of their own black cooks and servants.


Atticus represents morality and reason in To Kill a Mockingbird. He is one of the very few characters who never has to rethink his position on an issue.

Character Foil

  • Aunt Alexandra’s point of view jon racism vs. Atticus’s.
  • Atticus and Aunt Alexandra have differing opinions on the treatment of black people in Maycomb County.
  • “Anything fit to say at the table’s fit to say in front of Calpurnia.”
  • “I don’t think it’s a good habit, Atticus. It encourages them. You know how they talk among themselves.”


A very important and recurring symbol is the dog, Tim Johnson. It was just an old dog wandering the streets of Maycomb recognized as the community pet until it acquired rabies and was more feared and started to be more relative to Tom Robinson. It symbolizes the disease of racism .

  • “Mr. Nathan, Mr. Arthur, mad dog’s comin‘! Mad dog’s comin’!”


As we all know, the narrator is Scout. The narration is affected by the flashback to childhood by giving us a child’s and adult’s point of view. You see the child’s point of view when she breaks up the mob that was going to kill Tom Robinson by innocently trying to talk to Mr. Cunningham. You see the adult frame of reference when she begins the novel talking about Jem’s broken arm.

  • “When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.”
  • “He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away. My friendly overture had fallen flat”


The Civil War is used as an allusion very early in the novel as a way to make us more familiar with the past and moral standing of the narrator’s ancestry. Simon Finch, a Finch ancestor, “regarded with impotent fury the disturbance between the North and the South.”

Literary Critisicm

During the trial in To Kill a Mockingbird Tom Robinson says he ran because he feared southern justice. He ran, he says, because he was “scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do.”

May, Jill. "Defense of To Kill a Mockingbird." Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints. Ed. Nicholas J. Karolides, Lee Burress, and John M. Kean. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1993. 476-484. Rpt. in Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Literature Resource Center. Web. 2 June 2015.URL

The snowman Jem made was showing that the snowman covered in mud is the same as the one he covered up with snow. Showing that the black man is the same as the white man, that all human beings are virtually the same.

Smykowski, Adam. "Symbolism and Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird." Readings on "To Kill a Mockingbird". Ed. Terry O'Neill. San Diego, Calif.: Greenhaven Press, 2000. 52-56. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 194. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 June 2015.  

An element of the novel that was not previously considered was if the trial was right in charging Tom Robinson with rape because he had actually committed, or nearly committed, the crime, and how would that change the novel?

Atkinson, Rob. "Comment on Steven Lubet, 'Reconstructing Atticus Finch.'." Michigan Law Review 97.6 (May 1999): 1370-1372. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 194. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 3 June 2015

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