Themes and Issues
When writing To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee was concerned about the
real human issues that affect all of us. She wanted to tell us about
what life was really like for African-Americans in the Deep South.
She wanted to tell us what life was like for the poor, children
and women in the Deep South. She wanted us to have a clearer picture
of how people do not always treat others as well as they should.
To Kill a Mockingbird therefore, is very
much a novel of social comment with a broad range of themes. It
is a story about growing up and Lee shows how two children come
to have a deeper understanding of the world and the people around
them when their innocence is confronted by prejudice and ignorance.
This section provides you with the opportunity
to think about the key issues and themes of the novel and work out
what Harper Lee is saying to you about each issue.
Below are examples of some of the many issues
present in To Kill a Mockingbird. Think about each one and
see if you can identify the themes they relate to in the novel.
Create a table with three columns. In the first column list these
issues. In the second column record the themes relating to each
of these issues and in the third column cite examples from the text
to support your ideas about each theme. For example:
Examples from the text
||persecuting someone because
they have black skin is unjust
||Tom Robinson is
falsely accused of rape