The Symbol of the Mockingbird Lies at the Heart of Harper Lee’s Novel to Kill a Mockingbird. Discuss.

Mockingbird’s are not just symbols of innocence; they are also symbols of joy and to kill them is evil. This principle, the ridiculous persecution of an innocent person, is main to Harper Lee’s novel. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are both mockingbird figures, innocent yet condemned through the bias of society.

The symbol of the mockingbird, with its associated concepts of a fragile, albeit lovely innocence appears when Atticus informs Jem and Scout they might shoot all the bluejays they want, “but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”.

This is the very first time Scout has ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something. The complete significance of this remark is described to Scout by Miss Maudie as she describes that mockingbirds “not do anything however sing their hearts out for us”, making music for the enjoyment of everyone in Maycomb. They represent a kind of mild and harmless animal. Throughout the text, Lee reiterates that to eliminate a mockingbird would be wicked and spiteful, a ridiculous and meaningless act of damage. Boo Radley symbolises a beautiful, but tortured mockingbird that is misconstrued and ostracised by both his household and the larger neighborhood.

He is kept as a prisoner in his own house, kept in confinement by his god-fearing Baptist family. In spite of this treatment Boo remains gentle and safe. Nevertheless, individuals inform stories about how he eats squirrels and felines and poisons the pecan nuts in the school yard. To the neighborhood Boo is a “sinister phantom”. Gradually Scout and Jem begin to see things from Boo’s perspective. Like the mockingbird Boo provides pleasure and convenience: for instance, the gifts in the tree, the blanket placed around their shoulders as they watch Miss Maudie’s home go up in flames.

Lastly, he conserves Scout and Jem’s lives. In turn, Scout understands to drag Boo into the spotlight would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird” and a harsh betrayal of all the fundamental goodness Boo symbolises as a mockingbird. The mockingbird sign also includes the more comprehensive styles of justice and how it can damage an innocent individual. Tom Robinson is an honest and principled black guy who is accused of raping a white lady, Mayella Ewell. He discusses he was only in the Ewell’s house to assist her; however, he condemns himself in the eyes of the jury when he says he pitied her.

This would be seen as the most affordable class of citizen showing superiority towards a class above. The white neighborhood’s fear of racial disruption and their insecurity about their own position in society implied that Tom Robinson was condemned. The prosecutor responds with feigned indignity “You felt sorry for her; you pitied her?” Harper Lee utilizes rapid discussion in the courtroom scene to emphasise the method the district attorney attacks Tom, like an attack on an innocent mockingbird. Harper Lee exposes not just the bias of Maycomb however the unsightly nature of such beliefs in society as a whole.

Justice is betrayed when the jury overlook the proof and destroy the mockingbird figure of Tom Robinson. It is evident that both characters have mockingbird traits. They both show generosity– Boo to the children, Tom to Mayella. They are both innocent– Boo of the wicked personality with which he is associated and Tom of the criminal offense of rape. Both are victims of prejudice. The significance of the mockingbird theme widens out to include many layers of meaning and is kept alive through the narrative constantly advising the reader of the style of bias with which it is associated.