Suffering Innocence in to Kill a Mockingbird

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Seryca David
Mrs.Hannaberry
ENG3U
Janurary 19,2011

Suffering Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird

The fascinating story To Kill A Mockingbird takes place in a sleepy, southern county of Maycomb in the 1930s. Although this town has a variety of pleasant and honorable citizens who have set morals, there are also people who live in Maycomb County who are unfair, possibly evil, and lack morals. Maycomb has a visible separation of two societies: the whites and the blacks. Throughout the novel there are numerous innocent characters who could be considered mockingbirds. However, Jem, Boo and Tom Robinson are three characters who are used to symbolize innocence in To Kill A Mockingbird. These three characters can be considered mockingbirds because they suffer pain through injustice, stereotyping, and racial prejudice and ultimately, they lose their innocence.

Firstly, Jem is a mockingbird because he suffers a terrible personal pain when he experiences injustice throughout the story. When Atticus loses his case against Bob Ewell, Jem along with the black community sees the injustice of the court system. During the trial Jem declares: “We're gonna win, Scout. I don't see how we can't. He's been at it 'bout five minutes. He made it as plain and easy as-well, as I'da explained it to you. You should've understood it, even” (Lee 202). Jem is explaining that Atticus proved Tom's innocence so clearly that the court room had understood and even young Scout could have. Jem is immensely confident in Atticus' defense and cannot possibly see how Tom Robinson could lose the trial; Nonetheless, Jem is robbed of his innocence when the jury rules unjustly that Tom Robinson is guilty. The injustice of the trial creates Jem a Mockingbird because the trial robs him of his innocence. He believe that jury was wrong in every way for believing Mayella Ewells lies along with Bob Ewells'. Jem believes that the conviction of Tom was not fair whatsoever. On the way home Jem states to his father with tear filled eyes: “It ain't right, Atticus,” and his fathers only response was “ no son, it's not right” (Lee 212). The tears display much pain and suffering he felt in response to Tom's conviction. Once Jem had regained his composure again he asked his father, “ How could they do it, how could they? And Atticus replies: “I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it-seems that only children weep” (Lee 213). At this point Jem is fully stripped of his innocence and suffers a huge blow. Atticus tell Jem that Maycomb has had countless unfair and grievous trials in the past and they will continue to overflow with unfair trials in the future. Atticus tells Jem that it seems as if it is only children that weep when trials are decided unjustly. This is because like Jem, children who witness their first unfair trial they are still innocent mockingbirds. They weep because at first they do not understand what injustice is. But then once they realize what it is and grow to learn what is really is, it saddens them to see that people of such low rank in a town who seem to be the nicest people ever would go to such an extent to make an innocent man guilty. Miss. Maudie speaks to Jem in an attempt to cheer him up. Jem explains to Miss Maudie: “It's like bein' a caterpillar in a cocoon, that's what it is. Like somethin' asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the workd, least that's what they seemed like” ( Lee 215). Here Jem is revealing how his life has been sheltered from the true injustice that lies within Maycomb. Jem's terrible personal pain that he felt clearly symbolizes a mockingbird who suffers at the hands of his own town's unjust decisions and behavior.

Like Jem, Boo Radley can be considered a true mockingbird because he suffers the loss of his innocence...
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