To Kill a Mockingbird Discussion Questions

Instructor: Rebecca Rosenberg
Teaching 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? Here are some discussion questions to help spark conversation with your students. Questions cover the entire novel and can be used one-on-one, with student teams, or as a whole group discussion.

Questions about the Plot

  • The children find several items in a knothole in a tree near where Boo Radley lives, and eventually discover that Boo was the one leaving them there. What do these items symbolize?
  • The trial of Tom Robinson is often discussed as the centerpiece of To Kill a Mockingbird, but a great deal happens before it is even introduced. What purpose does Part One of the novel serve and how does it influence Part Two?
  • At the end of the book, the sheriff declines to punish Boo Radley for killing Bob Ewell, saying, 'Let the dead bury the dead.' What does he mean by that? Do you agree with his decision? Why or why not?

Questions about the Characters

  • The novel is narrated by Scout Finch, who is only six years old when the novel begins, but she is telling the story later, as an adult. How does her age at the time the events took place affect her perspective on the story she is telling? Does her gender have an effect? Her race? Would you consider her a reliable narrator?
  • There are a lot of cruel acts in the novel, but also a lot of kind ones. Would you say that any particular characters in the book are true heroes? True villains? Why?
  • What parallels do you see between Tom Robinson and Arthur (Boo Radley)? The two men are demonized in different ways throughout the novel. How are they similar and different?
  • Several characters have lost one or both of their parents. Others have terrible and painful relationships with theirs. How does the lack of positive parental role models affect these characters?

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