Title and Publication:
Jem: Scout's older brother, Jem serves as protector. His presence also highlights Scout's youthful innocence.
Atticus: The proud, moral, respected father.
Tom Robinson: The accused but apparently innocent rapist.
"Boo" Radley: The mysterious neighbor.
Possible First Sentence:
- Have you ever judged a person by his or her appearance?
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is a captivating book that explores difficult topics.
- Sometimes, it takes a lot of courage to do what you feel is right.
- Things and people aren't always what they seem to be.
The Link Between Ignorance and Racism:
Much of the town casts judgment upon the accused Tom Robinson, despite the hard evidence to the contrary.
Scout lives in the small Alabama town of Maycomb in the 1930s with her brother, Jem, and her widowed father, Atticus. Another presence in the house is the stern but ultimately kind-hearted African-American housekeeper named Calpurnia.
The story takes place during the depression, but the Finch family is better off than many in this small town, as Atticus is a successful and respected lawyer.
Two main themes that permeate this book are judgment and justice. Scout and Jem learn lessons about judging other people through the character of Boo Radley, a mysterious and reclusive neighbor. Early in the story, the children poke fun at Boo, but they ultimately discover his goodness.
This theme is also present in the developments surrounding the character of Tom Robinson. Robinson is a poor African-American field hand who is accused and tried for rape. In the process of defending Robinson, Atticus is able to provide evidence that the young man is innocent. Nonetheless, because of the racist nature of white society in that time and place, the young man is convicted.