Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Start Free Trial

Is this a good thesis statement: "To Kill a Mockingbird is a story of childhood and the system of segregation inflicted on the southerners"? I have to write an essay using TEEL.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I am not sure what you are asking. I am assuming you are writing about the impact that the social inequity of the south in this novel and the way in which it affected the child characters. You could certainly discuss the naivety at the start of the novel, and then the progression of disillusionment and lessons learned.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

You aren't asking a specific question here. I assume this statement is the thesis of your essay. Although we don't write essays for students here at enotes, I can give you some suggestions and get you headed in the right direction. For more ideas and details, follow the link below.

Since Scout is telling this story, the novel is a story of her childhood and that of her brother, Jem. You have the whole book to choose from for examples of their childhoods. Give specific examples of some of the events that reflect this statement. You might talk about the games they play or the events that occur that teach the young boy and girl some life lessons. You could also mention the way Atticus raises the two children or even about the people in their town who influence the children, such as Maudie Atkinson.

As far as segregation is concerned, you have no better example than the trial of Tom Robinson. What effect does Tom's trial have on the kids? What is the attitude of the townspeople toward blacks during this period of time? Give specific examples of the effects of racism on the town and the people in it. You could also mention Calpurnia, who has raised Jem and Scout.

Again, these are just generalities, but enotes has a great deal of information that you could use to get ideas for your essay. Go to the link below to access the information.

Good luck on your essay!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I am sorry, but I do not understand what a "TEEL" essay is.  However, in answering that prompt, I would take into consideration that segregation is not simply "inflicted" on this southern town.  They are willing participants in the system, not because they are inherently bad people, but because the southern historical tradition has taught them (white people) to fear people who are "different." Almost all characters participate in and perpetuate racism.  Despite his kindness, even Atticus speaks condescendingly of Tom Robinson.  But he also values understanding, telling Scout we don't understand others until we have walked around in their skin and never to hate. other people (not even Hitler). Note, however, how many people have a "difference": Atticus is a "different" sort of father in that he reads and doesn't hunt; Scout is quite a tomboy when being a lady is valued for a girl; Bo is a recluse; Miss Maudie has her teeth and her overalls; Mrs. Dubose is an addict; the "poor white trash" have their differences, and poor Mayella tries to compensate with her pretty geraniums. So, inflicted?  Not quite.  It develops out of the history  the south, and the southerners sometimes tolerate it, sometimes use it to develop their own sense of importance, and a few resist it.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team