Use Of Symbols In To Kill A Mockingbird

2855 words - 11 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee, the novel was published in 1960. The novel was written in a time of racial inequality in the United States. To Kill a Mockingbird is told in the perspective of a young girl named Scout, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, who is naïve and innocent. Scout matures throughout the novel through her father, Atticus, and she becomes more aware of the prejudice in Maycomb County. When Atticus loses his case, Scout and her brother, Jem, learn that blacks cannot have a fair trial, but their new found maturity has taught them not assume someone’s character without knowing them first, such as with Boo Radley. Scout says, “‘…Atticus, he was real nice…’” (Lee 376), Atticus replied, “‘most people are, when you finally see them.’” (Lee 376). Lee uses ties with nature to symbolize not only racial issues, but other major themes such as loss of innocence. She uses things in nature such as flowers and animals to subtlety reveal major themes of the novel.
The mockingbird, a prime symbol in To Kill a Mockingbird, which represents the concept of innocence, demonstrates the irony of killing a mockingbird in relation to harming something innocent. A mockingbird is a type bird that mimics the sounds of other birds; the mockingbird is a harmless species. The Mockingbird itself is a representation of innocent because all it does it provides song. The idea of killing a mockingbird is considered a sin because the mockingbird is innocent, Atticus said, “‘…shoot all the blue jays you want, if ya can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,’” (Lee 119) this is the first time Atticus ever told Scout something was a sin, so Scout went to Ms. Maudie for clarification. Ms. Maudie explained, “‘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 119). Quite a few characters actually embody the concept of innocence, or are the metaphorical mockingbird. First are the children, Jem and Scout, the innocence of the kids are slowly dissipated throughout the novel. Jem and Scout’s “mockingbird” is killed by the end of the novel because of their exposure to their father’s trial. The children went from naïve, innocent children to mature children. In pertaining to Boo Radley the kids believed the rumors about Boo such as, “as Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities,” (Lee 13) to understanding Boo on a mature level as Jem said, “‘…Scout, I think I’m beginning to understand something. I’m beginning to understand why Boo Radley’s stayed shut up in the house all this time…it’s because he wants to stay inside.” (Lee 304). From the beginning to the end of the novel, it is possible to see the “killing of the Mockingbird” or the...

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