Symbolizing the Destruction of Innocence

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Symbolizing the Destruction of Innocence
“They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird” says Miss Maudie to Scout (94). The novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is written from the point of view of Scout, the protagonist, growing up in the mid 1930s in the deep south in a town called Maycomb, in Alabama. In this novel, Lee develops several themes and character symbolically; killing a mockingbird symbolizes the destruction of innocence. There are many “mockingbirds” in the story: Boo Radley, held prisoner in his own home; Atticus, punished for his courage to defend a black man in a racist community; and finally Tom Robinson, arguably the most evident mockingbird, who is falsely convicted of rape.

Boo Radley, the first example of a mocking bird in the story, is imprisoned in his own home as consequence for his conflict with the law; he is shunned by everyone in Maycomb, with the exception of three adventurous children: Scout, Jem and Dill. Boo is charged with “disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female” and is then released and “was not seen again for fifteen years” (10). His father, Mr. Radley, appeals to the judge giving his word that Boo will give no further trouble (10). It is implied that Boo is kept inside his house against his will because as stated, “Nobody knew what form of intimidation Mr. Radley employed to keep Boo out of sight” (11). The entire ordeal with the law sprouted from Boo simply being “in with the wrong crowd,” which does not justify Boo being excluded from society for the majority of his teen and adult life (10). Boo, being held prisoner by his family, does cause some psychological problems: “As Mr. Radley passed by, Boo drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities...He was thirty-three years old then” (11). How...
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