2To Kill a Mockingbird is about racism. To determine the theme, you have to explain what it teaches about racism.OK… racism is bad. We knew that already.GO DEEPER.
3Getting To Depth = WHAT ELSE? Where does racism appear?How does racism affect people?How does racism affect a community?How does racism against black people affect white people?Are there different types of racism?What is the human cost of racism?
4Consider Tom Robinson/ Tom Robinson’s death What Calpurnia says about two languages.First Purchase ChurchDolphus Raymond and his “mixed” kidsMs. Merriweather’s comments at the tea partyHow Bob Ewell perceives the eventsMayella’s “attraction” to TomHow Miss Gates is hypocritical
5Come up with a thematic statement about the theme about racism in To Kill a Mockingbird.
6Coming of Age/ Loss of Innocence Scout and Jem grow up in this novel. We see each of them mature through their behaviors, actions, and the things they say. They lose their innocence. What do we learn about growing up from this novel? What happens as we grow up and get older, as demonstrated in this novel?
7Courage/IntegrityWhat are some events that are meant to teach us about courage or integrity?
8Stepping into someone else’s skin Write a thematic statement about this topic.
9InnocenceThe mockingbird comes up several times in the novel. It does nothing to hurt anyone or anything, but they make music to enjoy. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. It is a symbol of innocence. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are also innocent. What is the author trying to make us think about innocence from the events of this novel?
10The Gothic MotifHarper Lee includes many Gothic elements in To Kill a Mockingbird. Why? What does it do to the story? How does it affect it? What was her purpose in including these elements? Where do we see the ribbon of the gothic throughout this novel?