"To Kill A Mockingbird" Metaphor Analysis: It Is A Sin To Kill Tom Robinson

1554 words - 6 pages

It is a Sin to Kill Tom Robinson"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 make music for us to enjoy. That's why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird." (90) This quote is stated by Miss Maudie, underscoring the point of view of Atticus, who is a lawyer given an uphill job of substantiating a black man's innocence who is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewells. To Kill a Mockingbird is an inspirational and thought provoking story that is the first and the only novel written by Harper Lee. The basic time setting of the novel is in the 1930s during the Great Depression, in the fictional town of Maycomb Alabama, where prejudice of every sort runs throughout the town. However, this is not a mere story that touches the subject of coping with racism. As the novel's title itself implies a deep meaning, the mockingbird is a powerful symbol that echoes a strong message to the society, and thus holds a great significance in its metaphorical interpretation. Mockingbird is portrayed as a weak and fragile songbird that represents innocence but is nevertheless shot by men in the end. Throughout the plot, one metaphorical character becomes increasingly apparent. A racially discriminated African American, Tom Robinson, is illustrated as the best mockingbird figure of the novel, for he does no harm to the society, but nonetheless his voice is ignored by the majority of the people, and he is eventually persecuted just like an innocent mockingbird being shot by ignorant hunters.Despite Tom Robinson's apparent innocence, after all, he is announced to be guilty. Like hunters who kill mockingbirds for sport, people kill innocence without the awareness of their action taken against the blacks. "…She (Calpurnia) says they're clean-living folks."(75) This statement appears during a conversation between Atticus and his daughter Scout, and holds a certain amount of importance for it confirms that no guilt falls upon Tom Robinson. Robinson has a reputation with his own black community as an upright, honest, church-going family man, and therefore Atticus stands firm in his defense of innocence and urges his children not to shoot mockingbirds both literally and figuratively. On the other hand, as a contrast to the mockingbird figure, the Ewells are the blue jays, who are nowhere close to model citizens. "Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations. None of them had done an honest day's work in his recollection."(30) Scout, Atticus's daughter mentions this during her narration which brings upon the contrasting image of the innocent mockingbird-Tom Robinson, and the obnoxious blue jays-the Ewells. This quote is important because although Tom Robinson is accused of raping Ewell's daughter, Mayella, through the usage of the quote, Harper Lee is foreshadowing Robinson's innocence and Bob Ewell's guilt and trouble that he...

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