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To Kill a Mockingbird Final Essay and Rubric 2019

To Kill a Mockingbird
Literature Analysis Essay—30 Points
General Information
Assignment Objective
Compose a well-written, organized essay in which you support an original thesis on the given topic.
Last Day Accepted Date
Essay is due on any date between the day it is assigned and April 12th, 5:00pm. This is the very last day it can be turned in for credit.
It is due on any day between today and then. You are being given four weeks to write a 2-3 page essay; there are no extensions past
this date.
Delivery Method
The essay is to be submitted via hard copy to Ms Enstrom room 362. It is not to be left in his mailbox, sent via e-mail, thrown under
his classroom door, Fed-Exed, proxy-delivered, stork-dropped, or hastily handed to him in the hallway.
Late assignments will not be accepted for any credit.
Failure to comply with the following will result in your essay being handed back to you. You will not get credit for handing it in until
the following items are satisfactorily completed. In other words, an essay handed in late, formatted incorrectly, is considered not to
have been submitted.
The font is Times New Roman, or Arial and is no larger than Size 12. Citations are in MLA format since this is a literature-based
Entire essay is double-spaced with no extra spacing between paragraphs and one-inch margins.
Heading—that is shown on bottom of this page— is to be followed precisely.
Entire length of the essay is between 600-800 words—approximately 2-3 pages. I will accept no more or no less
Sample Heading
This heading will be on the top of your page, under your one-inch top margin. It should look exactly like this with the exception of
the name, date, and period.
Zingaro 1
Robbie Zingaro
Ms. Enstrom
English II
12 April 2016
Creative Title
This is where your writing starts. It is double spaced and continues on for a little while—preferably 3-4 pages. When you are
done, you stop writing. There is no need for a cover page with fancy heading and photos; you must follow MLA format. Have a
great time. Notice how there is no massive space between the title and text. Also notice how the text is not in a different font,
bolded, underlined, or italicized.
To Kill A Mockingbird Thematic Essay Topics—20 Points
1. The Ubiquitous Effects of Racism. “I’m simply defending a Negro—his name’s Tom Robinson.” With
these words Atticus informs Scout of his life-altering task of standing up to the prejudice and racism
that pervades the sleepy southern town that was Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. Discuss the effects
of racism on Maycomb citizens such as Tom and Helen Robinson, Calpurnia, Scout, Jem, Dill, Mayella
Ewell, or Dolphus Raymond.
2. The Necessity of Empathy. According to Atticus, “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.” How is
empathy toward others demonstrated or learned by characters such as Atticus, Scout, Jem, Dill, or
Miss Maudie?
3. The Totality of the Great Depression. “There was no hurry for there was nowhere to go, nothing to
buy and no money to buy it with.” To Kill a Mockingbird is set during the Great Depression of the
1930s. How does this economic catastrophe affect the actions of characters such as Walter
Cunningham Sr., Tom Robinson or Atticus Finch? Why does the author state that the economy has no
bearing on the actions of people like Bob Ewell?
4. The Defining Aspects of Courage. Atticus says to Jem that he wants his son, “. . . to see what real
courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.” How is courage
defined in this novel? What character(s) best exemplify courage? Why? What point does Harper Lee
want to make about courage through her use of these characters?
5. The Worth of Compassion. While at the trial, Scout states, “. . . it came to me that Mayella Ewell must
have been the loneliest person in the world.” Is Mayella Ewell a character worthy of compassion?
Answer this question using specific evidence from the novel and providing thoughtful commentary.
6. The Inevitability of the Loss of Innocence. With age and experience come knowledge, the realization
of harsh realities, and finally wisdom and understanding. Trace the narrator’s journey from innocence
to understanding.
Notes and Examples
English—Holistic Scoring Rubric
30-Point Essay—To Kill a Mockingbird Thematic Literature Analysis
The following rubric components will be graded holistically to determine an overall grade for the assignment.
Scoring Component
Overall Presentation
Ideas presented are highly
insightful, interesting, and
supported with clear, intriguing
details. Main points are based in
analysis rather than summary.
There is an undisputed thesis
statement that answers the
topic question. Ideas are
presented clearly and are easy
and fluent for the reader to
follow. Ideas are strongly
connected to each other and the
Supporting points are clear and
well-developed; they leave the
reader certain about each point
that has been made. Body
paragraphs follow the topic
sentence (not summary)elaboration format.
Ideas are original connections
made by the student—not
regurgitated facts covered in
class. Ideas are covered in depth
with anecdotal or quoted
support, not merely covered in a
superficial and generic fashion.
Style and Grammar
Diction, syntax, and sentence
variety are sophisticated, mature,
and do not detract from the
meaning of the writing.
Proper MLA formatting. There
is consistent proper use of basic
grammar, and usage
Final Score __________________
English II
Additional Scoring Considerations—Unacceptable Honors Oversights
After the essay has been scored holistically to determine the overall grade of the piece, the following considerations
will be applied to ensure the assignment is of Honors-level quality.
The following errors and oversights will result in mandatory deductions of 2 points for the first infraction and 1
point for each infraction thereafter. If enough errors are committed that the essay grade drops below a 13/30,
the resulting grade will not be lower than a 13/30.
1. Failure to properly list titles of literature works in italics or quotations marks—whichever is
2. Starting consecutive sentences or paragraphs with the same words
3. Use of ambiguous pronouns or the ambiguous one. “When it comes down to it . . .”
4. Use of vague or self-created support such as most people, many people, all individuals, most of the time, since
the beginning of time, since anyone can remember, at some time or another, the typical teenager, the average
American, etc. (This is not a complete list; any similar phrases will result in the same penalty.)
5. Use of first person or second person pronouns
6. Reference to essay in essay. This includes the words and phrases such as the previous example, the
previous point, the aforementioned paragraph, in this essay, the points made previously, in this quote,
the previous quote, etc. (This is not a complete list; any similar phrases will result in the same penalty.)
7. Use of any and all contractions, slang, or profanities
8. Asking of questions directed at the reader
9. Use of sentence fragments or run-on sentences
10. More than 4 uses of any conjugation of the verb to be in any single paragraph.
11. Ending of a sentence with a preposition
12. Support quotations will not stand alone as their own sentences nor will paragraphs start with support
quotations. All support quotations will be verifiable quotations; use of “air quotes” will not be
13. Citing or quoting the dictionary, an encyclopedia, or a source unrelated to your topic matter; there is no
reason to use a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln in an essay that does not deal with Lincoln.
14. Use of seemingly unconnected or irrelevant analogies, references, or anecdotes. There is no need to
liken the emotional strength of your main character to the mythical Sasquatch’s raw fury as he rumbles
over the Pacific Northwest, etc.
15. Typos—Misspellings, incorrect or lack of punctuation, missing words or letters, spacing errors,
capitalization errors, incorrect possession, etc.
Notes and Examples