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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Why do you think to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee should still be taught in schools?

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Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird should still be taught in schools because its lessons are timeless. Although the novel was published in 1960 and set in the early 1930s, it is still as relevant as ever, as are the topics and issues it addresses.

The primary theme of the story is tolerance—particularly, tolerance of people who are viewed as different by society. This lesson is always worth teaching and learning. Society may change, but the validity and necessity of tolerance are constant.

The novel discourages prejudice and teaches readers not to judge others by their appearances or based on rumors about them. Jem, Scout, and Dill initially believe the horrific stories they hear about Boo Radley. Boo's abnormal appearance and reclusive behavior further fuel the children's shared belief that Boo is dangerous. By the novel's conclusion, the children realize that Boo is the opposite of everything they believed him to be. He is kind, shy, gentle, and caring.

Atticus teaches his children about tolerance and equal treatment of others by defending Tom Robinson, even though he knows his chances of winning the case are slim. He does this because it is the right thing to do and to set an example for his children and the people of Maycomb.

It has been over fifty years since the release of the novel. Although the world and society have changed a great deal in that time, many of the issues confronted in the novel still exist in some form today.

Unfortunately, abusive treatment and misjudgment of those perceived as different are still currently large problems. People are bullied, beaten, and sometimes even killed because of their appearances, sexual orientations, races, and other characteristics. Although racism is not as rampant as it was in the 1930s and 1960s, it continues to be a very large and significant social problem today.

So long as conditions such as these exist, the lessons taught in Lee's novel will continue to be relevant. The book is a reminder of how far we have come as a country and a society and also a reminder of how far we still have to go.

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