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There is no single theme in the first half of the novel, but most of author Harper Lee's main themes can be found in the pages of Part One of To Kill a Mockingbird. The theme of prejudice begins to raise its ugly head as the trial of Tom Robinson draws near. Scout has to deal with gossip about her family and the "nigger-lover" insults that are hurled at her. Scout learns about tolerance while having to deal with her inexperienced teacher, Miss Caroline. Guilt and innocence are shown through the changes in her perspective about Boo Radley and how very little of Miss Stephanie's gossip proves to be true. Through Miss Caroline, Scout discovers that people can possess both the traits of knowledge and ignorance. Scout is able to witness two entirely different types of courage when Atticus picks up a gun once again to kill the mad dog; and when Mrs. Dubose battles her addiction to morphine. And there are many instances of how one of the novel's primary themes--the loss of innocence--affects all of the children in the story.
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