Suggested Essay Topics
1. Describe Boo Radley, through the eyes of Jem and Scout Finch. Discuss his habits, his appearance, and his actions.
2. After defining the words “Caste” and “Class,” describe the caste and class system in Maycomb. Do you think such a system would still exist in the town today? Why, or why not?
1. Contrast the teaching styles of Atticus Finch and Miss Caroline Fisher.
2. Describe the outward appearance and the actions of Miss Caroline. Are there any contradictions between the two?
1. Contrast Atticus Finch’s idea of the law and Mr. Radley’s idea of the law.
2. Compare and contrast Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell.
1. What evidence does one have that Boo Radley is trying to make friends with the children?
2. How is Scout growing and maturing as the story progresses?
1. Explain why Miss Maudie Atkinson would be a good friend for a young, motherless girl to have.
2. What lessons did Atticus Finch try to teach the children when he found them using a fishing line to give a message to Arthur Radley?
1. Why did Jem return for his pants?
2. Why were the children going to spy on Arthur Radley on the last night of summer?
1. What were the six gifts placed in the tree? Why do you think those gifts were chosen?
2. What are the children beginning to think of Boo as a person?
1. Describe Miss Maudie’s reactions to her home burning. Tell why she was able to behave in this way.
2. Describe the colors of the snowman/woman. Tell how the colors relate to Maycomb. Describe the outward appearance of the snow person and how it changes. Describe the interior of the snow person. Is there symbolism relating to gender bias here? Why, or why not?
1. Compare and contrast Atticus and Jack. Consider their methods of disciplining Scout. How are they the same? How are they different? Which person do you think is more effective in getting the desired result? Why do you believe this is true?
2. Describe the outward pressures on Scout to “become a lady.” Do you think Atticus applies the same pressures? Why, or why not? Why do you think Atticus behaves in this way?
1. Atticus had many accomplishments. What were some of these? Jem and Scout did not recognize their father’s accomplishments, they wanted him to distinguish himself in other ways. When Atticus killed the dog, Jem decided to keep this silent. Why do you think this happened?
2. Contrast marksmanship with playing the piano, according to Miss Maudie. Explain why Atticus refused to hunt.
1. Describe Mrs. Dubose. Describe her home. Does the setting in which Mrs. Dubose lives seem suited to her personality? Explain.
2. According to Atticus, what is real courage? Give examples of real courage you have seen in To Kill a Mockingbird.
1. Describe the double life that Calpurnia leads. Why does she lead this double life?
2. Compare and contrast the...
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