To Kill a Mocking Bird


Scout - Narrator


She is intelligent and, by the standards of her time and place, a tomboy. Scout has a combative streak and a basic faith in the goodness of the people in her community. As the novel progresses, this faith is tested by the hatred and prejudice that emerge during Tom Robinson’s trial. Scout eventually develops a more grown-up perspective that enables her to appreciate human goodness without ignoring human evil.

Jem - The brother


The typical American boy, refusing to back down from dares and fantasizing about playing football. Four years older than Scout, he gradually separates himself from her games, but he remains her close companion and protector throughout the novel. Jem moves into adolescence during the story, and his ideals are shaken badly by the evil and injustice that he perceives during the trial of Tom Robinson.

Atticus - The dad


A lawyer in Maycomb descended from an old local family. A widower with a dry sense of humor, Atticus has instilled in his children his strong sense of morality and justice. He is one of the few residents of Maycomb committed to racial equality. When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger of the white community. With his strongly held convictions, wisdom, and empathy, Atticus functions as the novel’s moral backbone.

Calpurnia - the maid


The Finches’ black cook. Calpurnia is a stern disciplinarian and the children’s bridge between the white world and her own black community.

Dill - the neighbor


Dill is a diminutive, confident boy with an active imagination. He becomes fascinated with Boo Radley and represents the perspective of childhood innocence throughout the novel.

Miss Maudie


The Finches’ neighbor, a sharp-tongued widow, and an old friend of the family. Miss Maudie is almost the same age as Atticus’s younger brother, Jack. She shares Atticus’s passion for justice and is the children’s best friend among Maycomb’s adults.

Miss Caroline

Mr. Walter Cunningham


A poor farmer and part of the mob that seeks to lynch Tom Robinson at the jail. Mr. Cunningham displays his human goodness when Scout’s politeness compels him to disperse the men at the jail.

Mr. Dolphus Raymond


A wealthy white man who lives with his black mistress and mulatto children. Raymond pretends to be a drunk so that the citizens of Maycomb will have an explanation for his behavior. In reality, he is simply jaded by the hypocrisy of white society and prefers living among blacks.

Burris Ewell



Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

Coexistence of good and evil

Scout and Jem’s transition from a perspective of childhood innocence, in which they assume that people are good because they have never seen evil, to a more adult perspective, in which they have confronted evil and must incorporate it into their understanding of the world.

Importance of moral education

the most important lessons are those of sympathy and understanding

the story charts Scout’s moral education

Atticus devotes himself to instilling a social conscience in Jem and Scout

scenes at school provide a direct counterpoint to Atticus’ effective education

unsympathetic or morally hypocritical teachers

Existence of social inequality

rigid social divisions revealed

prejudice in human interaction


Gothic details

unnatural snowfall

fire that destroys Miss Maudie’s house

children’s superstitions about Boo

mad dog

Halloween party on which Bob Ewell attacks the children

Small-town life



represents innocence

Bob Radley

kids' attitude towards him symbolizes their development from innocence toward a grown-up moral perspective

Live together in Maycomb