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Senseless Slaughter - to Kill a Mockingbird

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Senseless Slaughter - to Kill a Mockingbird

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"Mockingbirds don't do one thing… But sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." The definition of a mockingbird in this book is considered to be those harmless birds. The symbolic meaning is that evil is trying to corrupt or destroy two pure people. In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson and Arthur "Boo" Radley are considered "mockingbirds" because they are innocent people being wrongfully judged by society.

The first "mockingbird," Tom Robinson, is a black field hand accused of rape. For example, when Atticus discusses the case with his brother, Jack, he says, "‘the only thing we've got is a black man's word… The jury couldn't possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson's word against the Ewells'" (88). Atticus understands the prejudice ways of that day's society. He knows that truly defending Tom Robinson will most likely end up in failure. In addition, when Tom Robinson is shot and killed, Atticus explains what happened to Calpurnia and Aunt Alexandra. "'They said if he had two good arms he'd have made it, he was going that fast. Seventeen bullet holes in him. They didn't have to shoot him that much'" (235). The excessive amount of times he was shot shows the desperation society had. Tom was trying to prove that he was innocent, but the obstacle was too big for him.

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Furthermore, after Tom Robinson's death, Mr. Underwood's editorial "likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children" (241). Even Mr. Underwood understood what happened to Tom was wrong. Everyone knew that Tom was innocent, but they chose to let his skin color get in the way. Tom was an innocent man convicted for all the wrong reasons.

The second "mockingbird" in the story is Arthur "Boo" Radley, a recluse who is the subject of many town rumors. For example, near the beginning of the book, Jem describes Boo to Scout and Dill in an outrageous way. He told them how "he dined on raw squirrels and any cats...

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