To Kill a Mockingbird Summary Essay - Easy to Follow Guide

To Kill a Mockingbird Summary Essay


To Kill a Mockingbird Summary Essay

The novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is written by a great author Harper Lee and was published in 1960. The settings of the events are in Maycomb village in Alabama, Southern America. In those days, the cases of racism were very high, and blacks experienced many injustices, as we will see in the novel.

This book is considered a masterpiece of American Literature. It’s also the best seller with over 30 million copies in print, won several awards, and was voted the Best Novel of the Century. It portrays the real-life experience of society back in the day and the vices.


The author narrates the events that took place in her life in fiction. The story starts with Scout and Jen finding a friend at their immediate door called Arthur Dill, who used to visit his relative during the holidays.  As the saying goes, birds of the same feather flock together; these kids start some mischievous behaviors that they learn from Dill.

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They get curious about their mysterious neighbor Boo, who never leaves his house. Since kids are curious, they tend to follow his moves by peering through his window, and Boo learns they are following him.

A man called Tom Robison is accused of raping a white lady, Mayella Ewell. Since Jem's father is a lawyer and a kind-hearted man, he decides to defend this black man in a court of law. Unfortunately, the community doesn’t take this action lightly of defending a black man, and Atticus's family suffers from this. 

This story features themes like societal evil, education, racism, injustice, the rule of law, etc.  The author uses a narrative to create an imaginary picture of the flow of events.

You learn more about the great depression in Alabama and the reality of African American in the early 19s.

Characters in To Kill a Mockingbird

Here is a list of To Kill a Mockingbird Characters:

1. Scout Finch

She is a protagonist in the story, a girl who is 6-9 years when the events occur in this story.

Role: The lawyer’s daughter, Atticus. She acts like a tomboy by picking fights with other kids and getting involved in boys’ games and mischief.  She is a symbol of purity and innocence in Maycomb village. When she is abused because of his father’s act of helping an innocent man, she bears this with a heavy heart.

2. Atticus

He is the father to the scout and Jem and a professional lawyer. Finch is a widower and plays a major role in fighting racism, evil in society and facilitating justice for the oppressed.

Role: He is a lawyer, a kind-hearted person, a father to Scout and Jem, and a widower. He is a courageous man who dares to help an innocent man and doesn’t fear the repercussion from society. He invites social prejudice and hatred from the people.

3. Jem Finch

He is the brother of Scout and the son of Atticus, ten years old.  Scout and Jem are great friends and spend their moments together. He is also a friend of Dill

Role: He is a brother who is concerned about her sister at school and home. He understands why his father is helping a black man, and he is very brave to handle all the insults.

4. Arthur Boo Radley

He is the mysterious man in the village that lives a reclusive life. 

Role: He becomes Scout's savior when someone wants to attack them and builds a strong relationship with the Finch family.

5. Calpurnia

Atticus's caretaker takes care of his kids with proper values. She is very kind and generous, even to animals.

Role: She paints the real picture of cohesion, where she conducted herself maturely with the kids of a white man and also took the kids to their church on Sundays. She teaches society to avoid racism.

6. Dill

A curious friend to Finch’s kids who visits their aunty, a neighbor to their family over the holiday.  He is an outsider boy who is accepted in Maycomb society.

Role: He has great skill of imagination for movies and is very courageous. Dill influences Jean and Scout into mischievous activities during their summer holidays. He has a great interest in exploring the life of the legend Boo Radley. He becomes the symbol of innocence, especially in Boo’s life.

7. Myella Ewell

She is a witness who accuses Tom of rape and cannot prove it.

Role: She uses mob psychology to turn the entire community against Tom. So she is an opportunistic and also an evil lady.

8. Aunt Alexandra

She is the sister of the lawyer, Atticus.

Role: She educates Calpurnia on how to care for the kids, especially Scout. She knows that Scout has a Tomboy attitude and needs a mother figure.

9. Tom Robison

An honest, hardworking African America, who is accused wrongly. He is a victim of racial prejudice and is discriminated against in terms of skin color.  He is later thrown behind bars to be hanged.

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 1- 10 Summary

The story starts with a flashback of when the narrator’s brother Jem got his arm broken at the age of 13.  Also, we learn that Jem is a great footballer, and his skills aren’t interfered with even after the accident.

Later the two siblings break into a quarrel where the events now start, and they blame the Ewell family, while Jem, who is older than Scout, curses the day they first met Dill at the begging of summer.

The plot starts when the kids are playing outside, and they notice a small boy, around six years old, in their neighborhood Charles Baker-Dill. The boy loves movie theaters. The kids start acting out the books they have heard.  But over time, acting gets boring, and the kids don’t have any tasks for the holiday. Dill gets an idea of how they can try getting Boo Radley out of the house to quench his curiosity about this man.

The scenes in Chapter 2 start when summer ends and the kids get to school. Scout isn’t excited about school as her teacher, Miss Caroline, discourages her from reading. Everything revolves around learning and interaction with the narrator's teacher.

There is a lot of mischief from several students in Miss Carol’s class. Scouts beat up Walter after a quarrel, and Jem intervenes.  It’s a bad day for Scout after school, and she even tries to convince Atticus that she doesn’t need school. She had fought in school, disliked her teacher, and the lessons were boring.

On her way home, Scout notices some chewing gums stuck in a knothole at the edge of Radleys yard. Scout tests if the gum has poison and tries to chew them, but Jem forces her to spit. Summer kicks in, school is over, and the kids are excited.

The kids keep getting more presents at the knothole tree, and now they have no qualms about taking them.  Atticus, a lawyer, decides to defend Tom Robison, accused of raping a white woman. His decision lands his kids into trouble even at school, as everyone abuses them, but Atticus cautions Scout to avoid fights.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Summary Chapter 11-20

Scouts and her brother Jem learn that their father has a skill of a marksman after he shoots at a mad dog.  His children and the villagers respect Atticus due to this skill. Scout and Jean are amazed his dad knows how to shoot.

Tom Robison’s case creates tension in Maycomb village, which affects the Atticus family. They are abused and harassed by everyone.  This case highlights the themes of racism, social class, justice, and the rule of law in the story.

 Dill sneaks into Scout’s home after running away from her mother. During his stay, he helps Scouts understand the complexity of social class and racism in their village. 

Tom’s trial ends, and Atticus delivers a very strong argument for his innocence. But due to racism, the White Jury finds him guilty, and he is sentenced. All these events make sense to scout the depth of racism in their society.

The overall events culminate in depicting social injustice in their village. The harsh realities of social evils are now clear to Scout, and she struggles to understand her father’s belief in justice.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 21-31

After the trial of Tom, Scout, and Jem face a challenging moment to come to terms with the verdict. Their dad encourages them to have hope in the system, even if it has flaws. Tensions keep pilling in the village until Bob Ewell confronts Atticus.

Later Scout and Jem are attacked by Bob, but Boo rescues them. The story ends with Scout walking boo home and her realizing that he is a kind and gentle person. She reflects on all the events and how they have changed her understanding. 

Her dad keeps on mentoring her that the world has good people. Again, the same good people are capable of doing good or bad. 

To Kill a Mockingbird Themes

The following are some of the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird that are portrayed in this book :

1. Racism

Racism is shown through Tom’s trial case. The Jury makes a wrong judgment for this man simply because he is black and ignores the argument presented by the lawyer Atticus. Scout and Jem also face difficulties in school because of their father helping the accused man, which emerges due to the racism mentality in Maycomb, Alabama.

2. Good and Evil

The racism issue is a social evil in this society. The Atticus family presents kindness in this society. Atticus portrays his goodness by hiring a black nanny, Calpurnia, to care for his kids. Also, his decision to help Tom to win his case shows he is good; he doesn’t believe in racism and can’t allow an innocent man to suffer.

Atticus teaches his kids a moral lesson and shows them that living with a conscience is possible without losing hope. Ultimately, Scout learns various moral lessons and appreciates his father’s stand for justice and treating people equally. In the end, she views Boo as a real human being.

3. Innocence

Scout and Jem feel bad for seeing an innocent man accused of committing a crime and faces imprisonment. Again, society demonizes his father for helping this young man.

4. Social Inequality

The well-off Finches stand almost at the top of Maycomb’s social hierarchy, with other townspeople beneath them. The farmers, Cunningham, lie below the townspeople, while the Ewells are under Cunningham. The blacks who portray admirable qualities fall below the Ewells, which answers their persecution of Tom Robinson.

5. Prejudice

 This novel has a powerful exploration of prejudice affecting society. The following are the types of prejudice that exist:

  • Racial Prejudice: The prejudice against African Americans is the book's most overt case. The profoundly rooted prejudice in the community is made clear by Tom Robinson's trial, a black man who is accused of raping a white lady. Tom is found guilty entirely based on his color by the all-white jury despite the lack of evidence against him.
  • Class Prejudice: The novel has some class prejudice. The other white families in town despise the Ewells because they are poor white families. The class discrimination in the community is highlighted by the fact that Bob Ewell can accuse Tom Robinson of rape and be believed despite the evidence pointing to his guilt.
  • Gender Prejudice: The book also discusses prejudice against women in particular. Women's roles are frequently diminished, and men don't take female figures like Scout and Calpurnia seriously. The trial also demonstrates how Mayella Ewell is a victim of discrimination against women since she is compelled to embellish Tom Robinson's deeds to preserve the appearance of her virtue.
  • Prejudice based on appearance: Boo Radley is the subject of many rumors and gossip because he lives alone and never leaves his home. Because of his appearance and reclusiveness, the townspeople believe he is dangerous, but he is kind and gentle.
  • These are some of the themes that are found in To Kill a Mockingbird If you need to learn more about themes, check our guide on how to write a literature review.

Style and Structure in To Kill a Mockingbird

The novel is written in conversation, but sometimes it takes a humorous turn.  The narrator uses a higher level of language to engage the reader. After setting the stage, she starts using a childlike narrative style. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How is Tom Robinson a Mockingbird?

The phrase, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, is intentionally and pointlessly destroying something that doesn’t harm.  Mockingbird is a songbird and not a game bird.  Killing a mockingbird is unnecessary cruelty. Tom being convicted unjustly is killing a mockingbird.

What Does the Rabid Do Atticus Shoots Symbolize?

Atticus shoots a rabid mad dog; the dog with rabies is symbolic because it threatens the community. Atticus is trying to protect the community from its dangerous elements. During Tom’s trials, Atticus also try to protect the community from a dangerous vice, racist tendencies.

Which are the Main Lessons in To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 29?

The main idea is Boo saving Scout’s life when Bob Ewell tries to attack Scout and Jem. Boo killed him with his knife. We also learned about Boo’s features, unlike the rumors we had.  He had a pale face, torn clothes, and a thin, pinched face, and it was colorless.

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Which are the Characters in Chapter 28 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

The characters in Chapter 28 are the following:

  • Jean Louise Finch (Scout)
  • Jeremy Atticus Finch (Jem)
  • Atticus Finch.
  • Charles Baker Harris (Dill)
  • Arthur Radley (Boo)
  • Bob Ewell.
  • Miss Maudie Atkinson.
  • Calpurnia.

To Finalize

To Kill a Mockingbird is a powerful novel that the author Harper presents. The novel presents racial prejudice that existed in the American South, Alabama. The novel portrays themes such as courage, morality, racism, innocence, inequality in society, good and evil, and family.

This book teaches a great lesson to the current generation on racism issues, inequality in society, morality, and being kind-hearted to humans.  If you are reading this book and require summary or analysis help, place an order for our help.

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