"To Kill a Mockingbird" is about family and growing up, but mainly about prejudice. Both the film and the book show images of the two extremes of family life (the loving household of the Finch's and the violent environment of the Ewell's), of the adventures of Jem, Scout and Dill, three children growing up, and throughout it all we are faced with prejudice; against Tom Robinson, a negro man accused of raping a white woman, against Arthur (Boo) Radley, a recluse with a shady past and an undeserved reputation, against the poor, against the rich, and against the negroes.
The Finch's are a very close family. The father, Atticus, no matter how busy he is with his work as a lawyer, always has time for his two children, Jem and Scout. His children have alot of love and respect for him, which was shown in the film and the book by small things such as running to meet him after work. They took everything that Atticus said as law, and tried very hard not to break his trust.
"Atticus ain't ever whipped me since I can remember. I wanta keep it that way." Jem Finch, book, pg 62.
"Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him." Scout Finch, book, pg 82.
What we learn from the book about the Ewell's, however, is quite a different take on family life. A household also devoid of a mother, the eldest child, Mayella, was one of eight children. Their relief cheque was nowhere near enough to feed the family, and it was likely that the father, Bob, drank it up anyway. The younger children attend the local school, but only for the first day of each year. They live on one side of the dump, and haul their water in buckets from a spring on the other side. Mr Ewell became very violent when he had been drinking.
Growing up is a strong theme in the text, as the story is told from a child's perspective. Jem, Scout and Dill go through many things and learn many lessons during the course of the tale.