Essays About To Kill a Mockingbird: Top 5 Examples

Understand Harper Lee’s intention for the novel and successfully write essays about To Kill a Mockingbird. Here are some examples and prompts.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an iconic novel created by Harper Lee and published on July 11, 1961. It tells the story of a girl, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, and how she absorbed her father’s lessons through events over three years. She initially struggled to understand his lessons until she had to experience them firsthand through other characters. These include their recluse neighbor Boo Radley, African-American cook Calpurnia, and her father’s client accused of rape, Tom Robinson.

To further understand why this book is a timeless classic and why it deserves to be in teachers’ lesson plans, here are five sample essays you can read:

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Essays About to Kill a Mockingbird
Eric Draper, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Metaphor, Foreshadowing, And Allusion In The Book To Kill A Mockingbird By Anonymous On Edubirdie.Com

“…Harper Lee excellently uses metaphors, foreshadowing, and allusion to show the theme of coming of age. Coming of age is something that occurs in everyone’s life whether it be at a young or old age.”

The essay retells To Kill a Mockingbird’s plot to refresh its readers on the novel’s contents. The author focuses on the literary elements in the book and how they helped to develop the story’s theme. 

The writer gives examples of these elements. Metaphors for Atticus asking Scout to put herself in someone else’s shoes to understand their point of view. Allusions for referring to Mockingbirds, alluding to innocent people. Foreshadowing for Atticus telling his daughter to resist the urge to fight, followed by Scout being unable to control her anger.

2. Growth In To Kill A Mockingbird By Anonymous On Samplius.Com

“Scout and Jem are both excellent examples of growth and maturity during a childhood. Jem learns what it really means to be brave, and Scout gets a true representation of the prejudice in her town.”

The piece delves into Jem’s bravery and how it changes throughout the novel. From simply touching the side of Boo Radley’s house, understanding what racism is through Tom Robinson’s trial, and coping with the attack of Bob Ewell. In the end, Jem grew up to be his sister’s savior. 

It also expounds on Scout’s growth and how she learned lessons worth a lifetime in just three years. In addition, the author recounted times when Scout was narrow-minded as a kid and how the people who love her corrected her ways. 

3. Parenting In “To Kill A Mockingbird” By Writer Terra

“There is a wide diversity of parenting styles in Maycomb which leads to many children behaving poorly… Atticus, Calpurnia, and Miss Maudie combine to make parental figures during the childhood of Jem and Scout.” 

Terra scrutinizes the many parenting styles in To Kill a Mockingbird and examines their effects on the characters’ children. For example, she labels Bob Ewell a lousy parent, resulting in mean, stubborn, and uneducated kids. On the other hand, Scout and Jem have many parental figures they learned from, such as their father, Atticus, nanny Calpurnia, and family friend Miss Maudie.

The author relates instances in the book to prove why Atticus is a great parent and how he tried to protect them despite the hate around their town. Terra further narrates other times when Calpurnia and Miss Maudie taught Scout and Jem valuable life lessons. 

4. Critical Essays Racial Relations In The Southern United States By Anonymous On Cliffsnotes.Com

“The racial concerns that Harper Lee addresses in To Kill a Mockingbird began long before her story starts and continued long after. In order to sift through the many layers of prejudice that Lee exposes in her novel, the reader needs to understand the complex history of race relations in the South.”

The writer lists relevant headlines during the time of Harper Lee’s creation of her book. The list includes Jim Crow laws that legalized racial segregation, banned interracial marriage, the Scottsboro Trials, where nine black teenage boys were falsely accused of rape, and Rosa Parks’ part in the Civil Right Movement.

5. My ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Problem… And Ours By Zack Graham

“…after re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, I can’t help but think about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. The book’s themes and dramatic tensions are anything but dated: they live on around us, appearing on the news and on social media. When you teach this book, I implore you to use it as a way of exploring what’s happening in this country to your students. “

Graham labels his essay an open letter to teachers. He shares his honesty on how he didn’t appreciate reading To Kill a Mockingbird in middle school and how the Black Lives Matter movement motivated him to re-read the book. Finally, he debates why teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to children doesn’t send them the right message. 

He highlights how the heroes in the novel are white people in the characters of Atticus and Boo Radley. Next, he compels teachers to teach their students about racism, such as how white people demonize blacks. He also mentions allegories in the book that can be used to explain cybersecurity, mental disabilities, and other information teachers should give more attention to when discussing the novel. Finally, he also points out the parts of the book he finds “ugly” and infuriating.

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8 Prompts on Essays About To Kill a Mockingbird

Below are persuasive prompts you can use for your essay:

1. To Kill A Mockingbird As An Iconic Novel

For this prompt, explain why To Kill a Mockingbird is considered an iconic book. What makes it different from other books? Highlight the key points that make this bestseller a famous English literature example. Then, discuss its themes and provide a summary of the plot for those who haven’t read the book.

2. Literary Elements In To Kill A Mockingbird

In this essay, study the key literary elements that make this book so groundbreaking. First, talk through the literary elements Harper Lee used in this novel, such as the settings, plot, and motif. How did they make the story more digestible? Then, discuss your favorite elements within the book and expand on the points made.

3. Lessons To Learn From “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Atticus shares four lessons with his children in the book. Briefly summarize these lessons and share how you understand them. Then, give your opinion on whether they are good or bad advice and include your relevant experience connected to these lessons.

4. Why Is It Titled “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Explain to your readers why the novel is titled as such. Include what you thought of Harper Lee’s title, are there any other title you think better fits the book? For example, you may think the title should be: Atticus’ Four Lessons because the book revolves around his four core messages.

5. What Impacted The Creation Of To Kill A Mockingbird

Many events inspired Harper Lee during her time. For example, explain how Rosa Parks’ bus incident and the murder of Emmett Till affected the book’s plot. Then, to give you an idea, you can create a timeline of these events and add their possible impact on Harper Lee.

6. Is To Kill A Mockingbird Worth Reading? 

To Kill a Mockingbird was praised back when it was first published in 1960, but some comment that it has a one-dimensional view of racism. For this essay, share your thoughts and your stance on this debate. Also, include what you felt during and after you read the book and why you would or would not recommend it to others.

7. The Characters In To Kill A Mockingbird

Discuss the characters in the story — Scout, Jem, Atticus, Boo Radley, Bob Ewell, Tom Robinson, etc. Include why their parts are relevant in the novel. For example, if you pick Scout, share how her father’s lessons guided her through the book. 

My Reflection On A To Kill A Mockingbird Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird Movie was directed by Robert Mulligan and released in 1962. Highlight the elements that you think the movie managed to convey well. You can also point out what the movie missed.

If you are interested in learning more, see our essay writing tips.