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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what is a thesis for don't judge a book by its cover, stand...

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diana123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2009 at 6:09 AM via web

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" what is a thesis for don't judge a book by its cover, stand up for what you believe in, and respect your elders?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 14, 2009 at 7:23 AM (Answer #1)

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All of these sub-points could fall under a thesis statement that has to do with lessons that one can learn from the book "To Kill a Mockingbird."  Another thesis statement that they could all fall under is valuable lessons that Scout learns throughout the course of the novel.  You could also use those subpoints to argue the main thesis point of lessons that Atticus tries to teach his children, either through example or action.

Once you pick a main thesis idea, it helps to formulate a sentence that captures that idea.  So, for example, "In 'To Kill a Mockingbird', Atticus teaches his children valuable lessons."  Or, "In 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Scout learns several very important things that will help her in her life."  Or, "In 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Harper Lee uses the characters and situations to promote several important morals."  Then, using that main sentence as a guide, use those three individual sub-points, with examples for each. So, for the first point of not judging a book by its cover, you could use Tom Robinson or Boo Radley, and discuss how they don't end up being what they seem.  Other characters to fall under this category are Mrs. Dubose, and Atticus himself (as he shoots down the rabid Tim Johnson).  For the second point, you could use Atticus as he defends Tom's innocence at the possible threat of danger to his children, and Mrs. Dubose as she goes off her pain addiction to be clean before she dies.  For the last point, you could use how Atticus teaches Jem to respect Mrs. Dubose, an elderly woman, or how he always supports Cal's opinion on issues. Discuss each of these examples for each sub-category, all under the main umbrella of the one thesis statement that you end up choosing.

I hope that those ideas helped a bit; good luck!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 14, 2009 at 7:43 AM (Answer #2)

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Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" is certainly replete with moral lessons that well serve young people as they enter the adultworld.  Of course, Atticus Finch serves as the model for these lessons in integrity and respect.  So, perhaps you may wish to build your thesis with Atticus Finch is mind as the character to turn to for supporting details:

Atticus Finch of "To Kill a Mockingbird" stands as a salient character who embodies integrity, clear, rational and independent thinking, and charity of heart. 

With the topic and ideas you have been given, you should not want for examples and supporting passages.  Be sure to adequately support your thesis with these details as doing so indicates a close reading of the novel (and the consequent good grade!).

For help writing your essay see the how-to topics and check out the Essay Lab.  Enjoy your assignment.

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