To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Discussion Questions

To Kill a Mockingbird cover

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a classic tale of Alabama in the 1930s and two children's encounters with an outcast named Boo Radley. The kids must deal with racial issues when their attorney father defends a black man accused of raping a white woman.

The plot and overtones can make for some interesting and sometimes spirited discussions if you're involved with a book club, reading group or class. Here are a few questions that can help you get the ball rolling and hopefully delve deeper into the story after you've read the book. 

Spoiler Warning: Some of these questions reveal important details from the story. Be sure to finish the book before reading further. 

11 Key Questions About To Kill a Mockingbird

  1. How do Jem and Scout's views of Boo Radley change during the book? Why does Jem cry when the hole in the tree is filled with cement? 
  2. Atticus tells the children several times that they must walk in someone else's shoes before judging that person. Describe times when Atticus, Scout or Jem walked in someone else's shoes. Does this change how they viewed the situations? What role does this advice play in sympathy and compassion?
  3. Do you think the missionary society was walking in the Mrunas' shoes? What do these ladies show you about life in the town? Can you walk in their shoes and understand where they are coming from?
  4. What do you think of Aunt Alexandra? Did your opinion of her change during the book? Can you understand why she was concerned with Atticus' parenting?
  5. How do you think Atticus managed his role as a single parent?
  6. Discuss race issues in this book. Why does Calpurnia speak differently around other black people? Why does Mr. Raymond pretend he is drunk to help people cope with his mixed marriage?
  1. How do the trial and everything surrounding it change the town? How did it change Jem and Scout? Did it change you?
  2. At one point, Jem describes four kinds of "folks" in Maycomb County: "Our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks." What does To Kill a Mockingbird teach us about how people cope with issues of race and class? Do you classify people in your world as different "folks?" Do you see these sort of distinctions today?
  3. Who is your favorite character and why?
  4. At the end of the book, Scout says that telling people Boo Radley committed the murder would have been "sort of like shootin' a mockingbird." What does that mean?
  5. In the last few lines of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says, "He was real nice..." and Atticus replies, "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." Do you agree that most people in the novel are nice after they're "seen?" How is Atticus able to see the good side of people despite all he has experienced? Can you?

    All in all, these questions should bring on some lively discussion.