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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Family Theme

In To Kill a Mockingbird, family is destiny. Within the confines of a small town where the same people have lived for generations, no one can escape…becoming their parents. Horror! Either the parents raise their kids to be like them, for good or ill, or the pressure of community expectations that a person live up, or down, to their family is too much to resist. While this attitude creates a comfortable familiarity and a cozy predictability, it also makes progress, both for the individual and the community, very difficult.

Questions About Family

  1. What's the effect of having the Finch children call their father by his first name? What does that suggest about their characters? About his? Their relationship? Do you know anyone who calls their parents by their first name? (Do you?)
  2. Why is Aunt Alexandra so obsessed with Old Family and Finch pride? What does she hope to accomplish by making Scout and Jem feel that as well?
  3. How does family intersect with class in the novel?
  4. What do the examples of good and bad parents in the novel suggest about the best way to raise kids?
  5. How does Maycomb's African-American community think about the idea of family?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

To Kill a Mockingbird suggests that family matters: individuals can't overcome being born into bad families.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, characters find it easier to think about people as groups rather than as individuals.

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