This GCSE English Literature quiz challenges you on themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Themes in a work of literature range from the very subtle to the obvious. The multiple themes of a text interact with and comment upon one another. Theme is developed through setting, character, plot and dialogue. Pay close attention to the related ideas and concepts you detect and see whether you can trace the development of a theme over the course of a text. When writing about themes, it is always a good idea to consider your final thoughts as you reach the end of the text. Do these match the ideas you held when you began reading? Have your ideas changed? If so, try to pinpoint when and where your views on a key theme began to change.
By engaging with the key themes, readers are engaging with the author. Ideally, issues raised in the text will prompt readers to interrogate their own beliefs or ways of looking at the world. If you are made to think hard about an issue or even persuaded to change your mind, then the author has successfully encouraged you to engage with one or more of the text’s themes. You may well disagree strongly with other readers, your classmates, or even your teacher. This is entirely to be expected: wouldn’t it be odd to share identical views with everyone else? Your response to a text will be deeply personal, which is inevitable when you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration of the text.
To Kill a Mockingbird deals with themes of community, prejudice, race, class, courage, gender expectations, education and ignorance and justice. These themes are interrelated. Each of these issues affects individual characters differently. Many of the themes are seemingly straightforward. Who, after all, would argue for the segregation of the 1930s American South? But pay close attention to the subtleties of the text and the various ways in which racism forms a hidden pattern to many characters’ lives, too.
Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of To Kill a Mockingbird.