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Mockingbird Essay

1130 words - 5 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird is about two children, Scout and Jem, growing up in a town called Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930's. Neighbors and a man next door with the name of Boo Radley make up most of the drama and suspense throughout the story. Scout and Jem put up with a bunch of trash talk when their father, Atticus, defends a black person. As the novel goes on, the children loose their innocence. They learn the injustice of the world when Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of rape, was convicted guilty. Harper Lee uses the symbol of the mockingbird to show that justice back in the old days isn't always the way it should be, but the exact opposite by using her characters as "mockingbirds." She wants to tell us that prejudice is more powerful than an equal legal system.

Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem, is well known lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama. He introduces the symbol of the mockingbird by stating, "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can't hit `em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Atticus wouldn't teach Scout and Jem how to shoot after he gave them air rifles. Scout didn't understand his philosophy so she asked Miss Maudie about it. She just replied, "Your father's right. Mockingbirds don't do one 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. " Lee's uses the symbol of a mockingbird to represent the innocence of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley and the way justice has been twisted to a point where individuals are no longer able to receive equal treatment.

Tom Robinson, the black man Atticus is defending, represents the mockingbird. He never did anything to hurt anyone, only helped people out, especially Miss Mayella Ewell, the caucasian he is accused of raping. He felt sorry for her and helped her out with daily tasks such as chopping up a dresser for her, but this backfires on him. She accuses him of grabbing her, beating her, and taking advantage of her. Since racism is a factor in Maycomb, nobody believes that Tom is innocent even though there is evidence proving that he was unwilling to do this . The town's racist attitude gets out of hand so much that some of the Town's men form a mob. Atticus is protecting Tom at the jail where he is being held that night. They yell for Atticus to step aside but he does not. Jem and Scout sneak out of the house to go see what Atticus is doing. The mob is armed but Scout is the one that breaks it up by making them realize who they are and they think about their actions and leave. When they go to court, Atticus shows the court that Tom does not have use in his left arm because Heck Tate, the sheriff, testifies that Miss Mayella has hand marks all around her neck from two hands. To prove this, he threw a glass and told him to catch it. Tom catches it with...

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