To Kill a Mockingbird Theme Timeline

  • Empathy

    From the beginning to the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, the idea of empathy is spread throughout. Empathy is being able to feel or understand someone else's situation. Or, as Atticus says, "... climb into his skin and walk around in it." Throughout the book, Atticus teaches Scout to empathize with people, so she will be able to understand people better. Atticus begins to teach Scout after her first day of school, and he continues until after the attack.
  • Empathy Part 2

    Empathy Part 2
    Empathy is important to apply to our lives, so we can understand and have compassion for others. Everyone can get along better if we empathize with each other.
  • Ch.3 - First Day of School Part 2

    Ch.3 - First Day of School Part 2
    Atticus tells Scout about the Ewells situation, and he tells her that they aren't good people. The Ewell's dad breaks many laws, and the kids are neglected. This quotation is Atticus telling Scout to empathize with Burris Ewell, the Ewell kid in Scout's class that never went to school. This is Scout's first introduction to empathy. Scout hasn't grasped the idea yet, but she's beginning to learn about empathy and understanding other people.
  • Ch. 7- Jem's Pants Part 2

    Ch. 7- Jem's Pants Part 2
    This is when Scout begins to apply Atticus's advice to her life. Scout is beginning to grasp empathy, and while doing so, she understands Jem better than before.
  • Ch. 9 - Beginning of the Case Part 2

    Ch. 9 - Beginning of the Case Part 2
    Atticus doesn't want Jem and Scout to be racist like the rest of the town, and he hopes that Jem and Scout will ask him questions about the trial instead of asking the town. He wants them to empathize with Tom and other Negroes in the town. Atticus wants his children to see that the Negroes are no different then they are.
  • Ch. 10 - Atticus is Old

    Ch. 10 - Atticus is Old
    P. 118 -'"He did not do the things our schoolmates' fathers did; he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read."
    Scout says this about Atticus while talking about how he was a boring dad. Before Scout says this, Jem wants Atticus to play football with him, but he says he is too old. Scout thinks Atticus is boring compared to everyone else's dad.
  • Ch. 9 - Beginning of the Case

    Ch. 9 - Beginning of the Case
    P. 117 - "I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through this without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb's usual disease... I just hope Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town."
    Atticus says this while talking to his brother, Uncle Jack, about Scout fighting with her cousin about the trial. Everyone in Maycomb, and even some family members, are racist. The town doesn't approve of Atticus defending a black man.
  • Ch. 3 - First Day of School

    Ch. 3 - First Day of School
    P. 39 - "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it"
    Atticus says this when Scout comes home after her first day of school upset about what happened. Miss Caroline, her teacher, scolds her for being able to read, and Miss Caroline want Atticus to stop teaching her how to read. Also, Scout is upset that the Ewells don't have to go to school.
  • Ch. 7 - Jem's Pants

    Ch. 7 - Jem's Pants
    P. 77 - "As Atticus had once advised me to do, I tried to climb into Jem's skin and walk around in it: if I had gone alone to the Radley place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held the next afternoon. So I left Jem alone and tried not to bother him."
    Scout says this when she notices Jem is moody and silent for the week following Jem losing his pants. Jem had snuck out at two in the morning to look for his pants, and he found them mended on the Radley fence.
  • Ch. 10 - Atticus is Old Part 2

    Ch. 10 - Atticus is Old Part 2
    Even though Scout has applied empathy before, she doesn't empathize with Atticus during this situation. She doesn't understand that Atticus is good in a different way from most dads. He isn't racist, and he will defend someone most lawyers would never defend. She is still somewhat provincial, thinking that cool dads have to gamble and drink. Scout has learned some empathy, but she can't apply it in all situations.
  • Ch. 11 - Atticus Preparing Scout Part 2

    Ch. 11 - Atticus Preparing Scout Part 2
    Maycomb is a provincial town; everyone believes what the rest of the town believes. Atticus is trying to say that even though people are rude out loud, they all empathize in their heads. People know in their head what is right and wrong, but they are scared to stand up for what they believe.
  • Ch. 15 - Mr. Cunningham Part 2

    Ch. 15 - Mr. Cunningham Part 2
    The mob and Mr. Cunningham realized Scout just did the same thing to Mr. Cunningham that they were doing to Atticus, addressing their legal situation. Scout's comment allowed Mr. Cunningham to empathize with Atticus, and the entire mob left the jail. The mob backed off, even though it took a little kid.
  • Ch. 16 - Reflecting on the Mob Part 2

    Ch. 16 - Reflecting on the Mob Part 2
    Atticus tries to help Scout to realize what she did that night, but she doesn't fully understand. Scout still has a ways to go on empathy. She understands the idea, but she doesn't understand how to empathize in hard situations or how to identify when others have empathized. Scout doesn't realize the irony of a little kid breaking up a mob full of grown men.
  • Ch. 20 - Closing Speech

    Ch. 20 - Closing Speech
    P. 274 - "Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as the jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up."
    Atticus says this during his closing speech. He restates his evidence pointing away from Tom, and he condemns some stereotypes about Negroes. At the end of his speech, he addresses the jury. In this quote, Atticus is telling the jury to look at Tom as a regular human being, like anyone else in the courtroom.
  • Ch. 20 - Closing Speech Part 2

    Ch. 20 - Closing Speech Part 2
    Atticus wants the jurors to follow their conscience, and he wants them make the right decision without discrimination. He wants the jurors to empathize with Tom and see that he is truly innocent.
  • Ch. 31 - The Radley Porch

    Ch. 31 - The Radley Porch
    P. 374 - "Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."
    Scout says this when reflecting on the events leading up to the attack. Before her reflection, she walked Boo Radley back to his house. When she stood on his porch, she could see her entire street. On the other side, she could see all the way to the post office.
  • Ch. 11 - Atticus Preparing Scout

    Ch. 11 - Atticus Preparing Scout
    Ps. 139 & 140 - "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
    Atticus says this to Scout when telling her to prepare for when the trial actually comes. Jem was gone apologizing to Mrs. Dubose for cutting the flowers off of her bushes. After hearing some mean comments about Atticus's trial, Scout asks him if he is wrong. He explains to her even though everyone says he is wrong, it doesn't mean she should believe them.
  • Ch. 16 - Reflecting on the Mob

    Ch. 16 - Reflecting on the Mob
    P. 210 - "You children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute."
    Atticus says this to Scout and Jem the next day, after the mob incident. Scout addressed Mr. Cunningham's legal situation in front of the whole mob, and she allowed the entire mob to empathize with Atticus. The night hit Scout, and she realizes Mr. Cunningham was there to harm Atticus. She hasn't realized what she did the night before yet.
  • Ch. 15 - Mr. Cunningham

    Ch. 15 - Mr. Cunningham
    Ps. 204 & 205 - "Entailments are bad."
    Scout says this to Mr. Cunningham when the mob comes to lynch Tom Robinson. All the men looked unfamiliar and scary to her, and Mr. Cunningham was the only familiar face she saw in the crowd. She was scared, so she approached him. She tries to make conversation about Walter, his kid, but he doesn't respond to her. Finally, she addresses his legal situation in front of the whole mob. The mob is shocked, and so is Mr. Cunningham.
  • Ch. 31 - The Radley Porch Part 2

    Ch. 31 - The Radley Porch Part 2
    Adding up both sides, Boo can see the entire town from his house. When she stood on that porch, she understood Boo better. Scout empathized with Boo, and she could now see why Boo never left his house. Scout has now fully grasped the concept of empathy. Scout finally understood Boo's situation, and she listened to the advice Atticus gave her long ago.