The book talks about how the white people in the 1930s were prejudice to the black people. Harper Lee has made the book very powerful by giving the reader messages. Lee has also used various themes to make it the story more effective. Finally, Harper Lee has used symbols in the characters of the story making the lesson of the story extremely strong. By giving the reader messages, themes and including symbols in the characters that Harper Lee has made the book very significant.
Firstly, Harper Lee has incorporated messages to the reader making the story much more understandable and inspirational. A clear message that can be learnt from reading 'To kill a mockingbird' is not to judge someone by their differences and respecting them. This message can be seen first in the encounter with Walter Cunningham. "There's some folks that don't eat like us? but you ain't called on to contradict em at the table when they don't." (pg27) This was said by Calpurnia to Scout when she was being rude to Walter. Another example would be towards the end of the novel when Scout was talking about the Grey Ghost book to Atticus. "Atticus, he was real nice. . . ." His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." (pg 309) Both of this quotes show how Scout is growing up and learning not to judge someone by their differences. Another message in 'To kill a mockingbird' would be that you will not know someone until you really see them. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view?....
In theory TKAM is supposed to show how people do not think and get the facts. In theory, thinking and being intelligent should be valued.
The trial is the most gripping, and in some ways the most important, dramatic sequence in To Kill a Mockingbird; the testimony and deliberations cover about five chapters with almost no digression. (Additionally, the courtroom scene, with Atticus picking apart the Ewells as the whole town watches, is the most cinematic portion of the narrative, and it is the centerpiece of the 1962 film version of the novel.) Though the trial targets Tom Robinson, in another sense it is Maycomb that is on trial, and while Atticus eventually loses the court case, he successfully reveals the injustice of a stratified society that confines blacks to the “colored balcony” and allows the word of a despicable, ignorant man like Bob Ewell to prevail without question over the word of a man who happens to be black. In the trial conducted in the courtroom, Atticus loses. In the trial conducted in the mind of the reader, it is the white community, wallowing in prejudice and hatred, that loses.
It is fitting that the children end up sitting in the “colored section” of the courthouse, just as it is fitting that Miss Maudie refuses to attend the trial. All three lack the racism that the crowd of white faces in the courtroom propagates. Jem, Scout, and Dill are segregated even from the other children, who have taunted Jem and Scout with cries of “******-lover” in the schoolyard.
That the trial scene creates such an atmosphere of suspense is testimony to the author’s skill, because there is no real suspense; even Atticus knows that the verdict is a foregone conclusion. No matter what evidence is presented at the trial, the racist jury would never, under any circumstances, acquit a black man accused of raping a white woman. The reader knows that Tom Robinson will be found guilty, so Lee locates the tension and suspense elsewhere—in Atticus’s slow but steady dismantling of the prosecution’s case. Jem, still clinging to his youthful illusions about life working according to concepts of fairness, doesn’t understand that his father’s brilliant efforts will be in vain. He believes that the irrefutable implications of the evidence will clinch the case for Atticus. When Jem says, “We’ve got him,” after Bob Ewell is shown to be left-handed, the reader knows better. Atticus, like Mrs. Dubose in her battle with morphine, is “licked” before he begins.
Bob Ewell’s real name is Robert E. Lee Ewell, a moniker that links him with the South’s past and makes him absurd by comparison with his namesake, General Robert E. Lee, who fought valiantly for the Confederacy in the Civil War despite his opposition to slavery. If Robert E. Lee represents the idealized South, then Bob Ewell epitomizes its darker and less respectable side, dominated by thoughtless prejudice, squalor, and meanness. Atticus’s admonition to Scout that she should increase her tolerance by stepping inside other people’s shoes does not apply to Bob Ewell. When Atticus tries to do so later, he only underestimates the depth of this little man’s wickedness. The irony, of course, is that Bob Ewell is completely unimportant; he is an arrogant, lazy, abusive fool, laughed at by his fellow townsfolk. Yet in the racist world of Maycomb, sadly, even he has the power to destroy an innocent man—perhaps the novel’s most tragic example of the threat posed to innocence by evil.