An Analysis Of Symbolism In “To Kill A Mockingbird"

867 words - 3 pages

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” Atticus Finch advises his children (90). A neighbor, Mrs. Maudie, explains why: “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (90). Mockingbirds are a prevalent symbol throughout Harper Lee’s novel. Any character that does no harm, yet is harmed by others can be considered a “mockingbird”. Additionally, the novel illustrates the theme of prejudice in a multitude of forms. In “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the symbol of the mockingbird supports the theme of prejudice in sexism, ostracism, and racism.
The first mockingbird in the novel is Scout Finch, the tomboy narrator. From a young age, she has resented “girly things”, most likely because her upbringing was influenced by her widowed father and older brother. “Scout,… shut your trap or go home—I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!” Jem tells her (51). Jem uses the word “girl” with a negative connotation, and Scout will do anything to keep Jem and Dill from thinking of her as a girl. Aunt Alexandra, her father’s sister, is later brought into her life to provide a feminine influence; however, her aunt only chastises Scout for her tomboy ways: “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants” (81). Aunt Alexandra’s attitude about pants shows what she deems acceptable for a young lady; she believes Scout should conform to the stereotypical gender role of a woman. Scout is a mockingbird, for she is ridiculed when she challenges society’s idea of a young lady by staying true to herself. By the end of the novel, Scout succumbs to the pressure, and ultimately changes into what the town wants her to be, a prim and proper young woman. This is a form of prejudice, and it illustrates the theme of ubiquitous sexism present in Maycomb.
Boo Radley, another citizen of Maycomb, is ostracized by the entire community, as he prefers to stay in his house and not witness the evils of prejudice present in town. Everyone slanders him, spreading harsh rumors about Boo: “He goes out… when it’s pitch dark. Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one...

Find Another Essay On An Analysis of Symbolism in “To Kill a Mockingbird"

Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1098 words - 4 pages Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Harper Lee has used symbolism rather extensively throughout the novel and a great deal of it refers to the problems of racism in the South during the early twentieth century. Symbolism can be traced in almost every important episode or event which formulates the story line. Right from the beginning Scout's character and her outlook towards the behavior of the people in

Symbolism in "To Kill a Mockingbird" by harper Lee

1585 words - 6 pages and impartial, in a world that issenseless, emotional, and prejudice.Symbolism is, indeed, used extensively by Harper Lee in her timelessclassic, To Kill A Mockingbird. The symbolism reveals the prejudice andnarrow-mindedness of the common citizens of Maycomb County, the fears theyhave, and all of the immoral things they do. It also reveals an attempt torid Maycomb of these feelings, by a hero figure, a model to the community -Atticus Finch, as

Symbolism in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird

594 words - 2 pages . Their statements, thoughts and ideas begin to come back to them when they realize this sin of aiming at the harmless, beautiful mockingbird, who has never touched nor tried to hurt anyone in his life.Scout's innocence almost had a relation to the ignorance of the men aroundher. They were all unaware of what they were doing, yet believed fully in it.The happenings in this book, though it takes place in the South, have relevance to many situations, all over the world. There are many mockingbirds, many unjustly prosecuted innocents, and each aim taken, each stone thrown is as much a sin as the prosecution of Tom Robinson.

To Kill A Mockingbird - Analytical Essay on Symbolism of the mockingbird

686 words - 3 pages Symbolism is a commonly used technique, seen often in short stories, novels and movies. A symbol is often used by an author to get a point or message across without having to openly state it. A symbol can take many forms, be it an animal, a phrase or a colour. The symbol of a mockingbird is used by author Harper Lee many times throughout the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird".The mockingbird symbolizes innocence. It is a creature that does no harm to

Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird - Gun & Light Symbolism

1250 words - 5 pages towards discrimination and injustice. At the jail, Atticus doesn't hold a gun, for he dislikes handling a gun because of the unfair advantages that it poses towards others. Atticus also disliked handling a gun in the rabid dog scene, for it makes him feel like he has an unfair advantage over all living things. Nature is fair in the sense that it has given all beings things that are entitled to them, and using a tool like a gun to kill allows

Symbolism, Themes, and Motifs in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

1817 words - 7 pages in To Kill a Mockingbird aids in creating the story. The symbols that are used represent the concepts that Lee was trying to portray. Lee uses the main symbol, the mockingbird, on multiple occasions. Many things represent the mockingbird. The mockingbird is also one of the many motifs that Lee uses in the novel. The motifs help to develop the novel’s major themes. Racism is an obvious theme that Lee uses extensively. She uses many examples of


901 words - 4 pages To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee. Harper Lee uses symbolism to portray some of the main themes and ideas in To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel's main ideas are negative effects of racial and social segregation and the attitudes and influence of society on people at the time of the novel. The symbol of a flower represents different female characters in the novel and show their attitude towards society, the influence that

To Kill a Mockingbird: An Analysis of Discrimination

977 words - 4 pages To Kill a Mockingbird: An Analysis of Discrimination The most important theme of the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird is author Harper Lee’s tenacious exploration of the moral nature of people. Lee tenaciously explores the moral nature of human beings, especially the struggle in every human soul between discrimination and tolerance. The novel is very effective in not only revealing prejudice, but in examining

Who are the mockingbirds in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? An analysis of the title

797 words - 3 pages Unlike most books, the title of Harper Lee's novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird", has very little literal connection to the main plot itself, but carries a great symbolic weight in the book. We first start to realize the figurative meaning of the 'mockingbird' in chapter 10 when Atticus told Jem to "shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" and also said that "Mockingbirds don't do one thing

To Kill a Mockingbird: An Investigation of Racism in America

988 words - 4 pages Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is well renowned for giving accurate insight on racism in the southern United States in the early twentieth century, an issue that is still controversial in present day. Racism creates inequalities amongst different ethnic groups that have implications on the mental well being of individuals. The culture of racism needs to be put to an end as it is destructive for all members of society. Racism creates multiple

Literary Analysis of To Kill A Mockingbird

852 words - 3 pages To Kill A Mockingbird Monkey See, Monkey Do – the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is about how a small southern1930s family in Maycomb deal with entanglement and ramification situations. The family consisting of Jem and Scout, along with their father Atticus Finch, are to be present of a rape trial in the county. Along the way, Jem obtains life morals that will forever stay

Similar Essays

To Kill A Mockingbird, An Analysis Of Symbolism

1136 words - 5 pages To Kill a Mockingbird: Analysis of symbolism.To Kill a Mockingbird is not just a simple story of growing up. This book contains metaphors and symbolism that greatly increase its literary value.MockingbirdThe most important symbol in this story is probably the mockingbird. The theme of the mockingbird is shown in the title and throughout the rest of the book. After Scout and Jem received air rifles for Christmas, their father Atticus said to them

Symbolism Of Mockingbirds In To Kill A Mockingbird

1082 words - 4 pages How are birds symbolized to the human mankind society? Eagles are a symbol of bravery and great strength. Parrots are a symbol of intelligence. What about mockingbirds? How do they treat and contribute to the human mankind? Mockingbirds symbolize those who are innocent, helpful, and caring but are punished and treated badly. It is a skin to kill a mockingbird because they do not harm us in any way but sings wonderful songs to us. Some of the

Symbolism To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

1111 words - 5 pages Harper Lee use of symbolism is extent and throughout the major events in To Kill a Mockingbird to show the details behind the events. A seven-year old girl, Scout, tells the story and symbols may not be as obvious to her as it would the reader. Lee uses the camellias, courage, and the mockingbird as important symbols in the book. Lee uses symbolism throughout the book making it overt and obvious. The camellias are two different symbols in the

Symbolism In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

642 words - 3 pages Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The mockingbird is a major symbol in the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Harper Lee chose the mockingbird for both the title of her book and as a symbol in her book. I believe she selected it because the mockingbird is a creature that is loved by all for its singing and mocking, for which it gets its name, and how it never intends to harm anything or anybody. Atticus Finch says