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The Significance Of The Title, 'to Kill A Mockingbird' By Harper Lee.

724 words - 3 pages

When the author is choosing the title of a novel, they have to make sure it stands out, but is still relevant to the story, it also has to evoke interest in someone who casually looks at the book. It has to hint at what the story is about, but not give it all away. Harper Lee is successful in this, by titling the book, "To Kill A Mockingbird". The title attracts potential readers, as well the symbolism it infers. The children are told that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird by their father, and a neighbor, Miss Maudie, goes more in depth as to why. The legend of the mockingbird which only sings to please others and subsequently, a sense of sin is associated in "killing" the mockingbird has been woven into the plot. The mockingbird is used to represent the characters, and events surrounding them: Tom Robinson, and discrimination against him, the justice system, racism, prejudice, childish innocence, and Boo Radley.Tom Robinson is a kind, gentle man who, like the mockingbird, has never hurt anyone and only wanted to help Mayella Ewell because he felt sorry for her, and what she had to go through. But the fact that he was black overshadowed his good character, he was incarcerated, and dead the minute Mayella Ewell cried out, falsely, that he raped her. His arrest, and subsequent death, was likened to killing an innocent animal. "Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children." (P. 241)The justice system is like a mockingbird, as well. It is in place to help society - for the citizen's benefit, however it is possible to be "killed" as it was in Tom Robinson's case. The jury didn't give one thought to all the evidence against a white man, Bob Ewell and convicted Tom Robinson just because his skin was a color different than theirs. However, in the southern United States, especially back in the 193O's, that was something that was expected. If you could...

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