Passages that highlight themes?i need to find the 5-10 most important passages in the novel or passages which highlight the themes of the novel particulalry well - example below for...

Passages that highlight themes?

i need to find the 5-10 most important passages in the novel or passages which highlight the themes of the novel particulalry well - example below

for example, the scene with ms dubose. although this is seeminglt unimportant for the plot of the novel, it seeks to demonstrate the deceptive nature of appearances and also shows scout and jem a truer definition of courage.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a lot to ask someone else to do for you.  Though we're happy to help, you need to select which passages from To Kill a Mockingbird seem to reflect what you believe to be the key themes and ideas based on your reading and understanding of the novel.  This is a story packed with great learning moments and opportunities for growth, so you'll have plenty from which to choose.  Here are two which I think would be rather universal choices; from there you'll have to find your own.

Atticus's closing argument.  As he addresses the jury for the last time, everyone in the room understands that Tom Robinson is innocent; however, the reality is that unless those twelve men do something drastically uncharacteristic for this day and time and place, Tom will be found guilty.  Atticus's closing argument is passionate, reasoned, and timeless; it speaks truth for all men for all time.  It doesn't produce a correct verdict, but it expresses the hope for equality in the future.  One event which I would connect to this speech happens once the verdict has been read.  As Atticus leaves the courtroom, Rev. Sykes and all the blacks in the balcony stand, paying tribute to a man who stood for right in the face of prejudice and injustice. 

Dinner with Walter Cunningham at the house.  Scout learns several key lessons from her father at the end of it all.  When Walter comes to share the noon meal, the kids are dumbfounded that their father speaks to Walter as an adult.  She learns that you should talk to people about the things that matter to them.  Scout gets scolded for her rude behavior (a lesson to be polite to others even if they do things differently than you), and she has a serious talk with her father that evening.  Atticus takes the opportunity to teach her one of life's most valuable lessons: 

You never really know a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it.

There are undoubtedly scores of incidents one could choose for this assignment.  Good luck!


James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with auntlori that the dinner scene is an important passage in the novel, dramatizing in small space one of the major themes of To Kill a Mockingbird.

The scene with the shooting of the rabid dog seems to me, too, to relate to at least one of the major themes in the novel, the hysteria or rage that seizes many white people when they're confronted with the idea of an intimate "mixing" of the races. Atticus' one shot in that scene in the novel, bringing down the dog in just one try, mirrors his attempt in court to counter the racist madness that will lead to Tom Robinson's conviction.

The scene with the rabid dog also relates to the whole question of when or whether violence (or deception, for that matter, which might be seen as violence to the notion of what is true and right) might be justified. It's okay to shoot a rabid dog, the novel seems to tell us, just as it's okay to shoot a blue jay, but it's not okay to light a match under a turtle (at least according to Dill) or to shoot a songbird. I should add that I am a little skeptical of the lesson that the novel seems to be presenting here. I don't think it's right to shoot blue jays, for example, and I'm troubled by the novel's ending, which seems to suggest that local authorities may be doing the right thing when they cover up the truth of a crime in order to protect someone they like at the expense of someone they don't like.

haileebrooke123 | Student

what about just a universal theme?

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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