Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird: Summary And Analysis

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Harper Lee wrote the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Despite having been published in 1960, it takes place in the small Alabaman village of Maycomb in the middle of the 1930s. Scout Finch, a six-year-old who resides with her ten-year-old brother Jem and lawyer father Atticus, narrates the story of the novel. Scout, Jem, and Dill attempt to compel their reclusive neighbour Boo Radley to leave his home. Since Boo was a teenager, he has not been spotted around Maycomb.

In the course of the book, Atticus is required to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white lady. Many Maycomb inhabitants are racists. Even though everyone is aware that Atticus has little chance of success, he decides to take the case. The reader observes the trial’s progression via Scout’s innocent eyes as she and her brother progressively learn important life lessons from their father about empathy, understanding and tolerance.

Summary of ‘to kill a mockingbird’ in 13 points

  • Upon arriving in Maycomb, Dill runs into Scout and Jem.
  • They intend to force Boo Radley, a local recluse, to leave his home.
  • Scout begins school and quickly develops a distaste for it.
  • Scout and Jem start to discover gifts left in the Radley oak tree’s hole.
  • The kids continue playing games centred around Boo Radley when Dill comes back. When Jem goes back to recover his pants after they become caught on the Radley gate, they have been clumsily repaired.
  • The children cannot leave their note of gratitude since the hole in the tree is closed with cement. No more presents may be given.
  • First snowfall in many years coincides with Miss Maudie’s home burning down.
  • By shooting the crazy dog, Atticus startles the kids.
  • When Mrs. Dubose makes fun of him for Atticus’ defence of Tom Robinson—a black man accused of raping a white woman named Mayella Ewell—Jem beheads her camellias. Atticus makes Jem read to Mrs. Dubose as a consequence.
  • In order to protect Tom Robinson from the lynch mob, Atticus is waiting outside of his prison cell.
  • Tom is judged guilty even though he is innocent as the trial gets underway.
  • Tom gets shot dead while attempting to flee.
  • In an attempt to protect Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell’s father, Boo Radley leaves his home and shoots Bob Ewell.


To Kill a Mockingbird’s main character and narrator is Jean Louise Finch, who also goes by Scout. She is a six-year-old tomboy who climbs trees while wearing overalls. Then there is Jem Finch, Scout’s four years older brother. Atticus Finch, their father, is also present. He is divorced. He is a lawyer as well, so the Finches are doing okay financially for their neighbourhood. Atticus  resembles a moral exemplar.

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Bob Ewell is his opponent. He is a destitute, inebriated, and hateful man. Mayella Ewell is his child. Additionally, Tom Robinson, a black field hand, enters their story at this point. Then we have Arthur “Boo” Radley in the story. Though his presence is often sensed, he is rarely seen. He is a loner who lives in a spooky mansion close to the Finches.

Themes in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird

1) Racism

Of course, racism is a prominent issue throughout the book. Black people continued to experience severe social subjugation during the Great Depression. Blacks and whites were not allowed to mix in public places, as evidenced by the physical segregation of races in the courts and the visibly separate black and white sections of town. Additionally, interfaith marriage was frowned upon and practically unheard of.

Scout examines the distinctions between black people and white people throughout the entire book. Calpurnia, Scout, and Jem go to church, and Scout really enjoys it. She then requests permission from Calpurnia to visit her home since she has never been there. Calpurnia concurs, but for the most part Aunt Alexandra prevents the visit from happening. In the courthouse balcony, Jem, Scout, and Dill watch the trial alongside the town’s black residents. In addition, Mr. Raymond, a white guy who wed a black lady and has mixed-race children, engages Scout and Dill in a lengthy discourse. Mr. Raymond discloses that in order to get the town to accept his decision to marry a black woman, he walks around with a paper bag containing a bottle of Coca-Cola.

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Tom Robinson was found guilty solely because his accuser is white and he is a black guy. His case has such overwhelming support from the evidence that race was unquestionably the deciding factor in the jury’s verdict. Miss Maudie and Judge Taylor are two residents of the community who support Atticus in his battle against racism. Although they are definitely in the minority, Jem and Scout support racial equality. When Atticus loses the case, he tries to explain to his kids that even though he did not win, he still made a contribution to the fight against racism because of the jury’s protracted deliberation. Typically, a case like this would have a quick verdict.

2) Bravery

In To Kill A Mockingbird, bravery can take many different forms. It takes courage for Atticus to stand up for a black guy in the face of hostility and threats of violence. He also shows courage in the face of peril when he shoots the vicious dog and confronts the group of men outside the jail. Atticus exhorts Scout to show courage and refrain from confronting individuals who disparage her or her family. Atticus regards refraining from using force as one of the noblest expressions of bravery. Early in the book, as the kids approach the Radley house, they think they are being brave, but they eventually discover that this was a deception and that they were being dumb. Mrs. Dubose is praised by Atticus as the epitome of bravery because she fights her morphine addiction even though she knows she will die in the process in order to break free from it before she passes away. Atticus advises his kids to show Mrs. Dubose a lot of respect because he too battles a force stronger than himself. Finally, Bob Ewell exemplifies the height of cowardice because he attacks children in the dark to feel more manly while also lying to the jury to defend himself.

3) The law and justice

The focus of the book centres on Atticus, a lawyer, and his representation of Tom Robinson. Despite the fact that Atticus loses the case, he firmly believes that no matter their social standing, men are treated equally in the courtroom. He mentions this information in his closing arguments to the jury and repeats it when speaking with Jem and Scout later on about the jury selection and trial procedure. Atticus thinks that the courts is where racial equality can and will be achieved.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Mr. Atticus fighting for Tom !

Additionally, despite his strong belief in upholding the law, Atticus is aware that there are times when it needs to be broken. For instance, Bob Ewell is allowed to hunt even during the off-season since the town officials are aware that if he is not allowed to hunt, his children might go hungry. Additionally, according to the law, Boo Radley would have to go on trial at the book’s conclusion to decide whether or not he killed Bob Ewell in self defence. However, Boo should not be made to endure intense public attention or condemnation, as understood by Atticus, Heck Tate, and Scout. As a result, in order to protect Boo in this situation, the legislation must be changed.

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