Theme of Slavery in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Theme of Slavery in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
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The book To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee reflects many events from the life of the author. Many readers and experts find a great number of similarities between the life of Harper Lee and the little girl she depicts in the novel. However, the main idea of the author was not to write her own autobiography. The work is about many essential things: human relations, kindness, tolerance, but the main theme of the work is, undoubtedly, racial prejudices. The given paper will prove that the main goal of Harper Lee was to show the real relations between blacks and whites providing the facts from her own biography.

Though Lee denies the fact that the novel To Kill a Mockingbird is autobiographical, she emphasized that there were some events in her life, which impressed her so much that she reflected them in her novel. When the author was a little girl, she was a witness of many events connected with racial prejudices. Lee was born in Alabama in a family of a newspaper editor, thus she was always well-informed about what was happening around. Harper was only five years old, but she remembers perfectly the trial, which happened in her state. Several dark-skinned men were accused in rape and all of them were sentenced to death almost automatically without any chance to prove their innocence. The trouble was that the jury considered of white men only. According to doctors, who examined a woman, she was not raped at all, but even this fact did not help the men. It is interesting that several years later all of them were released and their innocence was proved. (The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author).).

The main event depicted in the work also proves that Lee made stress on the positions of blacks. The author described the trial over the dark-skinned man. The thoroughness the trial was described with testifies that this topic is very meaningful for the author. From the very beginning of the trial reader feels the despair of the defender, who knows pretty well what the end of the trial will be. The trial even appears to be not necessary, it is just a formality that should be followed, but the finale is very predictable. The events are depicted through the prism of childish perception that makes the novel especially attractive for the reader. Adults consider jury to be a perfect tool of democracy, and only a little child is able to see the truth. Only a child’s soul is still free of prejudices and can understand that both the black and white people are absolutely equal (The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author)).

The historical content also shows the main idea of the author. Harper Lee depicts the events, which took place at the beginning of the 20th century, her main idea is to show that notwithstanding that the slavery was abolished, the position of black people did not change much. They were not slaves officially, but were still treated as slaves. The idea depicted by writer is valuable due to its relevance. Even in the modern society of the 21st century racial prejudices are still present. The behavior of many of us shows that we are still full of prejudices. We may pretend to be free of them, but every time a black person appears near by, we feel his presence. We like to gossip about our dark-skinned friends not realizing that they may feel that and this may cause a great pain. Blacks still suffer from discrimination a lot all over the world. This is what Harper Lee tries to make us understand.


“To Kill a Mocking Bird” is the work that is really worth-reading and it is not surprising that it is included in school program. We can see that the main idea of the author to remind us that, despite of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, the attitude towards dark-skinned people is still not good enough, and moreover, it is even becoming worse. Thus, the problem of discrimination remains unresolved.

Works Cited
National Endowment of the Arts. “The Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird (About the Author).” National Endowment of the Arts, 2006.