Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was originally published in 1960. It immediately got celebrated by critics and readers alike, securing the author a Pulitzer prize. Just a couple of years later, it got a brilliant movie adaptation directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Gregory Peck, that went on to win several Academy Awards and even more nominations. Naturally, this phenomenon could not go unnoticed by respective scholars, many of whom made names for themselves investigating it.
Of course, the novel found its way into the curriculum. All students across the nation read it and write about it. But, given all the existing critics, how To Kill a Mockingbird summary or essay worth reading can look like? What can students say about it that has not been said a million times before? The truth is that academic curriculum does not expect you to come up with any game-changing findings. It has a different goal – making sure that you have indeed read the novel attentively and that you can share your opinion about it comprehensively in an essay on To Kill a Mockingbird.
When you write To Kill a Mockingbird essay, the first thing you need to understand is what precisely is expected of you. The task given by your teacher usually specifies the kind of essay that you should write through To Kill a Mockingbird essay prompts. Prompts will include questions that will tell you whether you should write book summary or just chapter summary; whether you should describe particular character’s behavior and evolution throughout the novel; or, investigate particular theme (for example, racism and racial prejudice, gender roles and rape, economic injustice, the understanding of law and morality, etc.)
Most often, the goal of high school essays is to make sure that the student has actually read the book. As such, your task will most often be summarizing either the entire novel or its particular chapter(s). If you are taking an advanced English class, however, then your task will be more creative, and you will have to expand upon a given topic. But even in this case, once again, you should remember that your goal is expressing your thoughts and not changing the perception of this literary piece worldwide. In other words, all you should do is answer To Kill a Mockingbird essay questions.
Book summary is precisely what one may think it is. It is a brief retelling of the text gist. If you write a summary of To Kill a Mockingbird, your task may be either summarizing its particular chapter, a number of chapters, or the book as a whole. A summary recaptures the main points of the text, be it the main events described or the main ideas conveyed (or both). Merely reading the text may not be enough to write a worthwhile summary.
Writing proper summary requires attentive and active reading. This involves taking notes about all the most meaningful bits of the text you summarize. When we talk about fiction literature, such as a novel, you should – among other things – keep track of the character development. Since novels are usually voluminous, you should be prepared that your notes will be somewhat extensive and you might need to condense them to fit into your summary’s assigned word count.
Harper Lee’s celebrated novel is indeed an exciting read in itself. However, when you read it for school, you should be prepared that you will be asked to write To Kill a Mockingbird book summary. So, in case you are only planning to read it, be prepared to read it actively, i.e., to take notes on the go and to trace character development. Writing a summary of this particular book is easier than it would be with many other books because it is famous, and even if you haven’t read it yet, you still know its central theme – racism. As such, you know what you should pay special attention to as you read and take your notes.
To Kill a Mockingbird was indeed controversial in its time. Today, however, public opinion about it (and the issues it raises) is quite fixed. So, if you try and put yourself in your teacher’s shoes, you will see that it may be somewhat tedious to read different essays from, say, twenty students that essentially talk about the same. As such, your teacher may want to make his or her job less tedious and assign each of the students to summarize a particular chapter of this great book. For example, you write To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 1 summary, someone else writes Chapter 2 summary, etc. This way, your teacher also makes sense that no two students will hand in the same work.
It may happen, however, that you will get the assignment to write something more sophisticated than a mere summary of To Kill a Mockingbird. For instance, this is bound to happen if you are taking an advanced English class. In this case, you will also not be stranded to write down any and all thoughts you may have. Instead, you will simply have to answer To Kill a Mockingbird essay prompts you get. The two most common directions in which it may go is either to describe the development of a particular character or to explore a particular theme.
If you are should answer To Kill a Mockingbird essay questions that explore a particular theme, chances are that this theme will be racism because, as you most probably know, it is the central theme in this novel. In other words, To Kill a Mockingbird racism essay is the most popular kind of theme essays that students have to write on this novel.
Your To Kill a Mockingbird essay prompts may also require that you point out character descriptions in the novel and trace the evolution of a particular character throughout all the events. The novel covers the events of almost four years, so naturally, every character does indeed change. This is especially the case if you have to perform a To Kill a Mockingbird character analysis of Scout. Not only is she always there whenever something goes on, but she is also the narrator – so, we get a glimpse of her as an adult woman recollecting the events of the novel and reflecting upon them.
Generally, a significant part of the novel’s success is that all characters are meticulously written out for wide audiences to understand. As such, no character should pose any problem to analyze. Still, if you are free to choose your own character for analysis, you should aim for someone you can possibly relate to – this way, your analysis will be more complex and, consequently, more exciting to read.