Love, Compassion, Empathy. Although these words have similar, yet different meanings, these 3 words can, if used appropriately, fall into one distinct category: Family. In Harper Lee’s, To Kill A Mockingbird, she demonstrates all the meanings of family in three different ways: family love and connection, empathy and compassion and ethical behavior. These are the tests and meanings of a true family. “Jem had returned to me. ” This is extremely strong line proves to the readers that there is an intense family love and bond between Jem and Scout.
After Jem returns from the Radley’s backyard without his pants, Scout feels relieved that her brother had returned to her. Family love can be shown in various different ways. Saying a sibling or parent is ‘yours’ is one way. Another way is by protecting and helping your family members. For example, when Atticus leaves his family one night to go and sit by Tom Robinson’s Jail Cell, little Scout saves both of their lives when her and her brother follow their father where Atticus was confronted by a mob ready to kill.
She “killed” the mob mentality by picking out a single member of the mob, Mr. Cunningham, and bringing up his son “It’s me Scout! I’m in class with your boy, Walter! Don’t you recognize me, Mr. Cunningham? ” By doing this, without even knowing it, Scout showed family love and saved her fathers life. Family love can also be shown through bond. Just being with your family can show your love. “Scout sat on her father’s lap as he read the newspaper. ” Even just small actions such as ones like this can bring out family love. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. ” The theme that really stand out in this novel is empathy and compassion. To be able to walk around in someone else’s shoes, to really see from their perspective, is difficult, but when it is done, it’s amazing how different you see the person. So many people in the world need empathy and compassion and don’t get it. Like Boo (Arthur) Radley, for example.
Everyone in town has something negative to say about him when really, he is a kindhearted man with compassion for the Finch kids. “Looks like she didn’t have nobody to help her. I felt right sorry for her. ” Even though she was in court accusing him of something he didn’t, Tom Robinson stepped into the shoes of Mayella Ewell and was able to feel sorry for her because he could see that she was suffering and that she was alone. Atticus can even go as far as to have compassion for the mockingbirds that live outside their house. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us. ” Atticus can even step into the birds point of view and he knows that they mean no harm to anybody. Although this is symbolic in the novel, it can also be very literal. If you see a little rabbit in your backyard, you’re going to say “Awww! It’s so cute! ” but if a baby mountain lion were to get into your backyard almost anybody would have it taken away.
Nobody would take the time to step back and realize that, at the time, the mountain lion was doing no more harm then the bunny would. “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience. ” During the 1930’s, there was a huge racial issue going on. Black people were not looked upon as equals to white people. Nobody knows why, they just weren’t. People had to decide between sticking up for what they knew was right, and protecting the blacks, or going with the flow of everybody else and looking down on black people. A uge theme in the second part of this novel, more than the first part, is ethical behavior. Ethical behavior is another word for choosing between right and wrong, following your conscience or going with the flow. Atticus has very good ethical values. Which he lives up to in the Tom Robinson case. One example is before the case, Atticus is talking to Scout. “If you shouldn’t be defending him, then why are you doing it? ” Little Scout asks her father. He replies with a truthful and very much ethical response. “For a number of reasons. The main one is that if I didn’t, I couldn’t hold my head up in town.
I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again. ” Ethical behaviors can also go the other way, a good example of this is Mayella Ewell. She accused Tom Robinson of raping her, when really it was her father who had raped and beaten her. But, she went with the flow of the crowd, and forced against her conscience by her father, to accuse Tom instead of Bob Ewell (her father). “I was sitting on the porch, and he come along. There’s this old chifforobe in the yard, and I said, ‘You come in here, boy, and bust up this chifforobe, and I’ll give you a nickel. So he come on in the yard and I go in the house to get him the nickel and I turn around, and before I know it, he’s on me, and I fought and hollered, but he had me around the neck, and he hit me again and again, and the next thing I knew, Papa was in the room, standing over me, hollering, ‘Who done it, who done it? ’” Although she knows that her own words are far from the truth, this is what Mayella tells the jury and explains to them that it was all Tom’s fault, when really she knew it was her father, but her ethical values had disappeared and had been taken over by fear. I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks. ” Little Scout, so little, yet so intelligent spoke these words as truthfully as anyone could. This one line pulls all 3 major themes of this novel together. Themes of family love, empathy and compassion and ethical behavior. These themes are not limited to the pages of this novel, they are also expanded to the real world where we should adapt and apply them to ourselves. We cannot always make the right choice, that’s why we have mistakes.
But following our ethical beliefs is always the right choice, even in a group decision. Compassion. Everyone should receive and return it at several different points in our lives. Last, there is the best thing a person can ever get: family love. There is no true or exact definition for the term, because it changes for each family. But for your family, you should learn what your own family love is and express it to the world, because nobody can show you what family love is like your family can.
Cite this To Kill a Mocking Bird Theme
To Kill a Mocking Bird Theme. (2016, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/to-kill-a-mocking-bird-theme-essay/