As part of the study of To Kill a Mockingbird, you will be writing an essay on one aspect of the novel. You will be given some class time to work on the essay and you will be given specific instruction on essay writing. The final product will be graded for content, organization, expression, mechanics. You will be given additional marks for collecting quotations, preparing an outline and writing a rough draft.
Choose one of the following topics:
1. Examine the use of the mockingbird as a symbol in the novel. What does the mockingbird symbolize? Which three characters can be considered “mockingbirds?”
2. At the end of the novel, Scout thinks that “Jem and I would get grown but there wasn’t much else left for us to learn” (Lee. 1982, p.282). What important lessons have either Scout or Jem learnt from Atticus’ defence of Tom Robinson and the events surrounding the trial?
3. What does the novel have to say about “courage?” Who are the courageous characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, and how do they demonstrate their courage? What is Harper Lee’s message about real courage?
4. Several times Atticus emphasizes the need to consider things from another’s point of view. How does following his advice change the children’s opinions of other people in Maycomb? What is the author’s underlying message about seeing things from another’s viewpoint?
5. As the novel progresses, Scout and Jem come to understand and value Atticus. What events cause this development of the children’s admiration for their father? How does each event contribute to their understanding of Atticus?
6. Examine the theme of prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird. How is prejudice demonstrated in the story and by whom? What is the author’s underlying message about prejudice?
7. Examine the theme of hypocrisy in the novel. How is hypocrisy demonstrated in the story and by whom? What is the author’s underlying message about hypocrisy?
*Your essay must make specific references to the novel and use direct quotations (with citations) to support your arguments.
*Essay length: 500 words with a minimum of 5 citations
For more great resources, please see my full unit plan for To Kill a Mockingbird.
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