Books and Movies Reviews

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Mockingbird, in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, represents innocence. Like hunters who kill mockingbirds for sport, people kill innocence, or other people who are innocent, without thinking about what they are doing. Atticus stands firm in his affirmation of innocence and urges his children not to shoot mockingbirds both literally and figuratively, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Pg. 96).
This connection between the novel’s title and its main theme is made explicit several times in the novel: after Tom Robinson is shot, Mr. Underwood compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds,” and at the end of the book, Scout says that hurting Boo Radley would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird.” Most importantly, Miss Maudie explains to Jem: “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but … sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (Pg.96).
Throughout the novel it becomes evident that some of the characters can be inter-related symbolically with mockingbirds. Tom Robinson and Arthur (Boo) Radley were characters which were most closely likened to that of the mockingbird. The innocence of Tom and Boo is depicted several times during the novel, thus opening our eyes to their true persona.
Tom Robinson was a good ‘black’ man, wrongfully accused of raping local ‘white’ girl, Mayella Ewell. While most of the town refused to believe that Tom was blameless, deep down they knew that it was not him who laid a finger on Mayella, but rather a case of her going after Tom “She was white and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man.” (Pg 210) Tom knew the boundaries and rules that lay between white and black folk, and making a ‘move’ on Mayella, would be a very unwise thing to do. Instead Tom would help Mayella around the house “bustin’ up chifarobe’s” and anything else …


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