How Harper Lee Develops the Mockingbird Symbol in the Novel

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Mockingbirds are a symbol of sheer innocence; their existence causes no harm to others and the sole purpose of its life is to make mellifluous music for all to enjoy. The mockingbird’s sweet chorus is destroyed and disregarded in to kill a mockingbird, as the harmless characters of Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are exiled and imprisoned despite their altruism. The use of the mockingbird in the title provides distinction and coincides through characters and events during the novel.

Harper Lee develops the symbol of the mockingbird in the novel through the town pariahs Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is accused of a crime he did not commit and in reality was helping another person without a reward. In chapter 10 Jem and Scout are shown an opening to the malevolence in society and are taught a moral lesson and the only sin considered by Atticus, “ Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit em’, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mocking.” This quote foreshadows the up-coming events involving Tom Robinson and the injustices he will have to endure, even though the Mockingbird is not deserving of anguish, he is still put to death through the hands of others who would shoot any bird, regardless of what kind it may be. Scout and Jem at the beginning of the novel are oblivious to the harsh racial segregation and the moral teachings of Atticus only have literal meanings until they become immersed in the enmity of racism, where their innocence is later destroyed and the blurred barriers between their father and Maycomb become clear. Atticus is responsible for maintaining the stability of Maycomb and the co-existence of good and evil; he influences his children to have morally good actions and values unlike many other children of Maycomb. Atticus strives for the rights of the mockingbird and the defenceless Tom Robinson, despite the fact that he knows as soon as Mayella Ewell screamed he was a dead man. Atticus allowing Tom Robinson to a trial allowed the...
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