Innocence of Tom Robinson

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Black people, Harper Lee Pages: 2 (652 words) Published: October 21, 2010
To Kill a Mockingbird Essay
A mockingbird is a harmless bird that makes the world more pleasant. In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the mockingbird represents Tom Robinson, who was a peaceful man that never did any harm. To kill or harm him would be a sin. Scout's father, Atticus, tells Scout and Jem, "I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, 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."(p.69) The mockingbird represents Tom Robinson because he does not have his own “song”. Whereas, the blue jay is loud and obnoxious, the mockingbird only sings other birds' songs. Therefore, the mockingbird is seen through the other birds. Tom Robinson is as innocent as a mockingbird. The people of Maycomb only knew Tom Robinson by what others said about him. He does not really have his own "song", so he is characterized by other people's viewpoints. Tom is an innocent man. Chopping wood and doing whatever he could for Mayella Ewell was Tom Robinson's only crime. Just like Boo Radley, he never harmed a soul. He risked his own safety by helping Mayella, and he did it because someone needed him. It was like a mockingbird being shot down when Robinson was accused of raping Mayella. To the people of Maycomb County, Tom Robinson is just a "sorry negro", who committed an unthinkable crime. Tom represents the black race in American society at that time and was a victim of racism. Tom Robinson is characterized by what the people of Maycomb County say about him. After being accused of rape, most of the people see him as an evil beast. During the trial while Bob Ewell testifies, he points to Tom Robinson and says, "I seen that black negro yonder ruttin' on my Mayella." (p.73) According to Mr. Ewell, Tom Robinson is an animal who tormented and violated his daughter. Throughout the trial, Tom is portrayed like this because of the racist mentality of the people in Maycomb....
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