Reflective Essay Example on the Novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Date: April 15, 2017

What is a Reflective Essay?

A reflective essay is a type of essay that requires you to analyze your own ideas, experiences, and insights and then put them together in writing. Essentially, writing reflective essays is all based on reflection and self-reflection: human’s capacity to exercise introspection and willingness to explore one’s inner thoughts and/or experiences.


If you are looking for the reflective essay examples you can read a great one below.

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one of the most famous books in the American literature. Like a lot of books, it is inspired by the author’s personal experiences, but not so much so that it becomes a semi-biographical narrative rather than something that manages to stand up on its own. Since it is a bildungsroman, it should come as no surprise to learn that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ focuses on the loss of innocence, with particular emphasis on racial issues that were prevalent in those times but remain relevant in the present.

In brief, Scout is a six-year-old girl growing up in a Southern town during the Great Depression with her father Atticus Finch. Much of the novel focuses on the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who is put on trial for the supposed rape of a white woman. Although Scout manages to prevent him from being lynched while Atticus manages to show that he was innocent, Tom is nonetheless convicted of the crime and then shot while attempting to escape. Afterward, Bob Ewell, the man who had accused Tom of rape, attempts to kill Scout and her brother as revenge against Atticus for unraveling his lies on the witness stand but is foiled by the town recluse, Boo Radley.

Who Are the Main Characters in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’?

There are a number of important characters in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, but the most important is Scout, whose real name is Jean Louise Finch. After all, the narrative is based on her narrative. Furthermore, she is the one who is living through a coming-of-age story, albeit she is far from being the sole character to change as the narrative unfolds.

Scout’s father, Atticus, is the character who is brought up most often. In part, this is because of his enormous role in the narrative since he is the one who volunteers to serve as Tom’s defense attorney based on nothing more than his personal sense of right and wrong. However, it is interesting to note that Atticus is so respected that he becomes more a symbol than a man both inside the narrative and outside the narrative, though he remains human enough that he can still be shaken by what happens in the novel.

Next, there is Boo, whose reclusive nature makes him a focus for both the fear and the interest of the town’s children. However, the conclusion of the narrative makes it clear that while Boo is a little strange from the perspective of most characters, he is not a bad man and his motivations are not incomprehensible. As a result, this makes him one of the most important characters in the novel because he is so central to one of its most important themes.

Finally, there is Tom, whose trial is the engine that provides the rest of the narrative with its momentum. His treatment as well as how other characters react to his treatment are integral to the setting, which in turn, makes it integral to the narrative.

What Are the Main Ideas of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’?

Courage is one of the main ideas of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, though it takes more than one form. For example, Scout is willing to defend her father by fighting her bullies. In contrast, Atticus is willing to take on a case that will pit him against all of the racial prejudice that dominates the town, which will not hesitate to lash out at him as well should he get in its way. This willingness to stand up for what is right is what has made Atticus a hero for generation after generation, which is all the more impressive because it is tied to his compassion for others.

The loss of innocence is another main idea of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. In fact, it is actually tied to the name of the novel, since ‘it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’ because mockingbird is nothing but helpful and harmless. However, Scout learns that in spite of this statement, neither the legal system nor the rest of the world is perfect, meaning that people can and do kill ‘mockingbirds’, with Tom being the prime example.

Moving on, the novel makes the point that it is dangerous to make judgments without having evidence. After all, while Boo seems scary to the town children, his reclusive nature makes him harmless. As Scout realizes that he is not a bad person, she realizes that it is premature to judge other people based on their initial appearances.

Finally, since this is a bildungsroman, the narrative also touches on issues such as race, class, as well as both written and unwritten laws. In a real sense, this is Scout becoming more and more aware of all the currents that exist within a society, which is a natural part of growing up.

It is difficult to comment on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ without also commenting on ‘Go Set a Watchman’, which is something between a first draft and a sequel to the novel. However, the two novels combined create a rather interesting them. In the first, protagonist becomes aware of the currents that move societies, while centering upon her father as her beacon of guidance. In the second, the protagonist becomes aware that even her father is not as perfect as she had imagined, but instead of rejecting him because of it, she chooses to accept him as being a mix of good and bad without ever succumbing to his beliefs at the same time.

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