To Kill A Mockingbird Test Essay Question

List Of Easy Essay Topics For To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is an award winning novel that was published in 1960 and is renowned as a classic in modern literature in America. The novel’s characters and plot are remotely founded on the author’s observations of her neighbors and family, including an event that happened near her hometown when she was about 10 years old. The novel is particularly renowned because of its humor and warmth, despite the fact that it deals with serious and negative issues like racial inequality and rape.

The novel raises interesting social issues of morality, ethics and integrity, and it makes a good basis for writing essays on a wide range of related topics. In case you find that you have been required to write an essay about any issue in the book and you don’t have an idea of what to write about, here is a list of easy essay topics for To Kill a Mockingbird that you may consider.

  1. Discuss the parenting style of the narrator’s father, Atticus. What kind of relationship does he have with his children and how does he strive to impart conscience in his children?

  2. Discuss the concepts of fairness and justice in the novel.

  3. Conduct an analysis of the trial scene and discuss how it relates to the rest of the story in the novel.

  4. Discuss the role that the family plays in the novel, with special focus on Aunt Alexandra.

  5. Discuss how the author portrays the town of Maycomb and examine the town’s role in the novel.

  6. Discuss using relevant examples the different types of discrimination in the novel.

  7. Discuss the moral development of Jem and scout in the novel.

  8. Conduct an analysis of the childhood world of Dill, Scout, and Jem and how they relate with Boo Radley in the first part of the novel.

  9. Analyze the relationship that Atticus has with the rest of the Maycomb community and his role in this community.

  10. Analyze how Jem and Scout change in the course of the novel and discuss how they still remain the same.

  11. Discuss the various angles through which the novel explores the notions of innocence and tough experiences, and good and evil.

  12. Discuss how the author portrays the black community and the attributes of Tom Robinson and Calpurina.

  13. In your opinion, how are the characters of Tom Robinson and Calpurina idealized or realistic?

  14. Analyze Miss Maudie’s relationship with the Finches as well as her relationship to the rest of the Maycomb community.

  15. What is the role of place in the novel?


Freshman English I – To Kill a Mockingbird Essay –

Directions: Write a 4-6 page (1000-1500+ word) essay, typed and double-spaced, on one of the following topics dealing with Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). Compose your essay in such a way as to edify and inform readers who are unfamiliar with this book. Follow the format outlined below. Your essay will be graded on the basis of the following categories: content (How informative is your essay?), organization (Does it follow my format with a definite underlying structure?), narrative voice (Does the narrative sound credible and coherent?) and clarity (Are the examples that are given in support of the thesis clearly presented and explained in depth?

Topic A –  Innocence and Experience – What are the major life-lessons that the younger characters in the novel (Scout, Jem and Dill) absorb as part of their coming-of-age in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s? You may pick one or more of these young people to write about and you may want to mention other kids in the story as well such as Walter Cunningham, Little Chuck Little, Burris Ewell, Cecil Jacobs and Francis Hancock.

Topic B –  Sources of Enmity – What are the significant sources of tension (i.e. suspicion, mistrust, class prejudice, racial prejudice,  snobbery, enmity, animosity, hatred) between various characters in the novel and what price is paid by certain characters for these antagonisms? For this topic, in addition to the younger characters mentioned above, you may want to concentrate on any of the following adult characters: Old Mr. Radley, Nathan Radley, Boo Radley, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Miss Maudie Atkinson, Atticus, Calpurnia, Lula, Zeebo,  Reverend Sykes, Aunt Alexandra,  Tom Robinson, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell, Sheriff Heck Tate, Mr. Gilmer, Judge Taylor, Mr. Link Deas, Dolphus Raymond, Miss Merriweather, Mrs. Farrow, Mr. Underwood.

Topic C – Dimensions of Social Inequality – What does this novel have to teach us about the problem of human inequality and the divisions within human society? Write about specific dimensions of inequality in Maycomb, Alabama – i.e. the advantages and disadvantages that certain characters experience. Try to identify an underlying common lesson that unites each of these characters. Your paper may choose to focus on characters such as Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell, Burris Ewell, Mr. Cunningham, Walter Cunningham,  Dill Harris, Dolphus Raymond or any of the other characters mentioned above.


Topic Sentence – Begin with a topic sentence that identifies the novel’stitle and author

and makes some general comment about the overall significance of the novel.

General Exposition – Next provide a general overview of the novel’s plot and subject matter and the principal characters.

Narrow the Focus – Be sure to narrow the focus so as to establish the range and scope of your essay.

Thesis Statement – At the end of your first paragraph, include a thesis statement or statements that specifically outline and clarify the life-lessons or sources of tension  or dimensions of inequality that your paper will be analyzing.

Body of Paper

Be sure to include at least three (3) developmental paragraphs each one of which provides  evidence – examples  – illustrations  (taken from various scenes in the novel) of the life-lessons or sources of tension or dimensions of inequality you have outlined in your thesis.  Each developmental paragraph must include at least one or two relevant quotations followed by commentary and analysis.

Remember to begin each developmental paragraph with A.) a topic sentence that identifies the example or evidence that is relevant to your thesis. Next, B.) set the scene sufficiently – i.e. explain  what is happening in the story and which characters are involved –  before introducing a particular quotation. Next, C.) quote in a concise manner any description and/or dialogue that you find especially important or illuminating.  For each quotation or paraphrase of a scene, D.) provide relevant  commentary and analysis – i.e. explain to your readers why each example or bit of evidence is significant.


Use your conclusion to make editorial comments (for or again)  the novel’s overall merits  and its depiction of the problems and issues mentioned in your essay. You may also use the conclusion to comment on how the lessons of the novel relate to your own personal experience of related subjects.


 Freshman English I – To Kill a Mockingbird Essay – Sample Thesis Statements

Topic A –  Innocence and Experience – Difficult Lessons of Youth

The three main children characters react in different ways to the trial of Tom Robinson – and take from it different lessons about the world; Dill who identifies strongly with Tom responds with panic and paranoia; Jem becomes cynical and disillusioned with the justice system, while Scout (perhaps like Harper Lee herself) remains accepting and hopeful about the possibilities of social change.

The children in the novel – Scout, Jem and Dill in particular – learn harsh lessons about the ways in which small towns and other close-knit communities can sometimes marginalize and de-value individuals who do not fit the mold.  These three see what the older folks in the story are oblivious to: the loneliness and isolation that certain social pariahs (Boo, Mayella, Dolphus and Tom) are forced to endure.

One of the big lessons that Scout learns in the story is how some children are branded from an early age as “acceptable” or “unacceptable” based on conditions and circumstances beyond their control. Aunt Alexandra’s judgments  – about the Radleys, the Cunninghams, the Ewells, Calpurnia, etc. –  serve as the perfect foil to Scout’s more mature insights.

Harper Lee identifies with the children in the novel more than the adults – with the possible exception of Atticus.  Like Scout, her sympathies lie with  good-natured kids such as Dill Harris, andWalter Cunningham, as well as the more problematic Cecil Jacobs and Mayella Ewell. From each of them, though in different respects, we learn about the need for maintaining “dignity in the midst of squalor” or as Hemingway would say “grace under pressure.”

Topic B –  Sources of Enmity (Ill-Will, Mistrust, Prejudice, Hatred, Animosity)

The novel deals most obviously with racial prejudice, but the greater lesson has to do with class differences and how a person’s inherited social status  – or what Aunt Alexandra calls “heredity” – unfairly determines how individuals are treated by others.

Perhaps the major underlying sources of friction within the community are the  economic hardships and uncertainties wrought by the Great Depression; the novel can be seen as a parable about how certain people react in extreme circumstances, some with fear, mistrust and suspicion, others with fair-play, generosity and good-will.

The real source of tension in Maycomb is the ongoing rift between the country folk – poor white farmers who have been “hit the hardest” by the economic catastrophe and the city folk – merchants and professionals who are desperate to avoid slipping into absolute poverty. Caught in the middle of all this are the innocent charactersBoo Radley, Tom Robinson and Dolphus Raymond – who are just trying to mind their own business.

Topic C – Dimensions of Social Inequality

Like other social protest novels, this novel makes a special case for the ideal of social equality – as a basic dignity that the law affords to all citizens, local or otherwise; the array of misfit characters including Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond,  Dill and even Mayella Ewell – each in their own way, show us the price that must be paid when the true meaning of democracy (“equal rights for all, special privileges for none”) is forgotten.

Maycomb, Alabama – although fictional – is a microcosm for all the petty snobberies and prejudgments that exist in small towns all over America; while Harper Lee goes to great lengths to show the “logic” behind the existing social order, she is also brutally honest in exposing its shortcomings. [We see this most specifically in the struggles of Mayella Ewell, Walter Cunningham and Dolphus Raymond.]

More than anything else, To Kill a Mockingbird is a book about the need for education, for literacy, and the advantages of literacy as the guarantor of equality and social mobility. The characters who value education (Scout, Atticus and Miss Maudie) are also the most generous and  magnanimous in their treatment of others; the characters who disparage learning (Bob Ewell, Mayella Ewell and Aunt Alexandra) are more fearful and suspicious of others.

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