To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

1181 words - 5 pages

Who are the mockingbirds in the novel and why?In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the title of the novel is very significant representing one of the most important themes and symbols which are mockingbirds. Although there aren't many "mockingbirds" killed in the novel there are three main characters that represent this theme: Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, and Scout. The importance of the symbol of mockingbirds is first introduced to the story when Scout and Jem receive air guns for Christmas and Atticus doesn't want to teach them how to shoot but he tells them "'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (Lee 90) Curious about what their father could mean, being the only time they had heard him talk about something being a sin, Jem goes to ask Miss Maudie, "'Your father's right," she said. "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.'" (Lee 90) This describes mockingbirds as animals that represent innocence and purity. This can be compared to "mockingbirds" of society, they never cause any harm, and usually have good intents.Tom Robinson is an important example of a human "mockingbird". Tom Robinson is characterized by what the people of Maycomb County say about him. After being accused of raping Mayella Ewell, most of the people see him as an evil beast. Atticus is protecting Tom Robinson due to his own morals knowing what was right and believing that Tom deserved a fair defense. "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." (Lee 105) Atticus goes out of his way to make sure that he gives Tom's trial his all despite the prejudice society Maycolm consists of. During the trial while Bob Ewell testifies, he points to Tom Robinson and says, "I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin' on my Mayella!'" (Lee 173) According to Mr. Ewell, Tom Robinson is an animal who raped and beat his daughter. Throughout the trial, Tom is portrayed in this manner because of the racist mentality of the people in Maycomb. "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." (Lee 112) Giving more than enough evidence to prove his innocence, Atticus still loses the court case and reinforces the idea that Tom is simply a black man who will be denied justice when he tells Jem, "in our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins." (Lee 220) Tom Robinson is a perfect example of a mockingbird because mockingbirds symbolize innocence and he was innocent of raping and beating...

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