To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- The events of To Kill a Mockingbird are set in the 1930s, but racism is still with us. Can you think of examples of racism today, whether from the news or from your own life? What can the novel tell us about facing racism today?
- Is To Kill a Mockingbird a racist novel? Why does it portray African-Americans the way it does?
- Is Scout the hero of the novel? Is Atticus? Are there any heroes?
- How do gender and race intersect in the novel? In other words, how much of Mayella's treatment is due not just to her being a white person accusing an African-American of a crime, but a white woman accusing an African-American man of rape? Would the novel sound different if Scout were a boy?
- After To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee never wrote another novel. If she had written a sequel continuing Scout's story, what might it be like?
- Six-year-olds are cute, but they're not necessarily the most reliable narrators. How would the novel be different if it were narrated from Jem's perspective? Atticus's? Calpurnia's? Or in the third person?
- Many lawyers credit Atticus as their inspiration for entering the law profession, but others criticize that he's portrayed in the novel as the lone protector of powerless African-Americans who can't do anything for themselves. To what extent can Atticus be taken as a role model? Does he make you want to become a lawyer?
- Why do so many of the characters have nicknames?