Themes in "To Kill a Mockingbird?"I've chosen Justice, Prejudice, and Fear as my three main themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's difficult to find two important quotes on Prejudice and...

Themes in "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

I've chosen Justice, Prejudice, and Fear as my three main themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's difficult to find two important quotes on Prejudice and Justice because there are so many about them, I don't know which one is most important. Any help on quotes? And When the town calls Atticus a "ni**er lover", is that related to Justice or Prejudice?Thanks?!

Asked on by ferrylee

2 Answers | Add Yours

mrs-campbell's profile pic

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

Posted on

The quote you related above is a good one to use for prejudice.  We see how racism (an extreme form of prejudiceness) is extended beyond the race itself to anyone who is kind to them.  Even though Atticus isn't black, he is still judged, because he is helping a black person.  He is tagged with the racist term, one step removed.  It shows just how racist people are; they can't just limit their hatred to the race itself, but to anyone who associates with the race.

Another quote you might want to use for prejudice comes from Atticus' closing argument.  He states that the Ewell's testified, "confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption-the evil assumption-that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings...we know [this] in itself is a lie as black as Tom Robinson's skin."  (chpt. 20)  Here we see white people banking on the jury being racist.

For justice, Atticus states that "there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal-...that institution, gentlemen, is a court...in this country our courts are the great levelers"  This shows that Justice should be served in the courts.  Later, when it is not, Jem complains, "You just can't convict a man on evidence like that-you can't" and Atticus replies, "They could and did." (chpt. 21) Here we see justice NOT working, with sad results.  Prejudice gets in the way.

I hope those help, and good luck!

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Never discount the importance of the title of a novel.  In this case, the title itself is used to express the lack of a sense of social justice that exists in the community of Maycomb.  Atticus tells the children ..."it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" because mockingbirds do not harm anyone.  Of course, both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are symbolized by the mockingbird.  And, social injustice is committed against the two who bother no one; they both only seek to help other human beings.

We’ve answered 318,980 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question