To write a good essay, it is essential to first read the material. Next, you would want to identify the key characters and point out their role in the narrative. It is also necessary to ascertain the main themes of the story. The climate of the culture is also very important to note. For example, this story would have a very different influence if it were set in more modern times.
It would not hurt to view the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, as this will add a visual ingredient to your recipe for an outstanding essay. However, do not use that as the only basis for your paper! You would be well advised to make use of any study guides that are available to you.
In order to pinpoint the key words, you should ask yourself which objects, situations, people could not be omitted without changing the story's meaning and/or outcome. As an example, the gender and race of some of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird are extremely important.