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The Unwritten Law In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

1152 words - 5 pages

In Harper Lee’s, “To Kill A Mockingbird” a true definition of the mockingbird is shown, a symbol extremely important to the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Boo Radley is condemned – not because of his own actions but the misdeeds of those around him. Many stories were forged to generate a bad vibe for the name Boo Radley to the point that his house was essentially taboo. Later on Tom Robinson is proven as the Ultimate Mockingbird, Tom is just an average negro who tried to help out a white person, which was obviously a bad decision. Another definition of a mockingbird is innocence, which is evident in Atticus’ daughter Scout. The unwritten law, “It is a sin to kill a mockingbird” is ...view middle of the document...

Boo had a rough childhood and was locked in to his house and has been for many years. Year after year; stories compiled and Maycomb had created their own Boo Radley, which shared no traits with the real one! Mr Radley has had assumption after assumption thrown against him merely because he was sealed within his own premises. He eats squirrels, he stalks children – these are just some of the distorted allegations facing Boo Radley. Boo Radley would be classed as white trash in a Maycomb social hierarchy even though most of the townsmen have never met him. As shown in the earlier chapters; Jem, Scout and Dill are afraid even to enter the fence line surrounding the Radley household and for that kind of fear to be brought upon reckless children, the tales told by the civilians of Maycomb must’ve been rough and quite harsh. An example of the stories told is when Dill states, “Well how’d you feel if you’d been shut up for a hundred years with nothin’ but cats to eat?” and when Jem constantly worries about Boo Radley coming to attack him in the middle of the night. When Boo finally comes out at the end of the novel, we are shown that all of these accusations are wrong and that Boo is a kind, caring person who risked his life in order to save the life of somebody that he barely knew. Boo Radley, once again is a perfect example of the mockingbird symbology.

The unwritten law, “It is a sin to kill a mockingbird”, is often overlooked but also obeyed by the people of Maycomb. This metaphorical law does not mean literally it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, but it is a sin to kill a person whose personality is that of a mockingbird, to quash or to decimate it. A mockingbird is a bird who intends no harm and only sings, bringing only good to the world. This comparison can be made with people also as shown throughout the text. We experience the behaviour of Bob Ewell, who is only out for himself and would do almost anything to gain an extra dollar to feed his alcohol addiction; this includes duping his own family. He is known as white trash but he is white trash, but Bob Ewell is someone...

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