To Kill a Mockingbird

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The title of To Kill a Mockingbird has very little literal connection to the plot, but it carries a great deal of symbolic weight in the book. In this story of innocents destroyed by evil, the “mockingbird” comes to represent the idea of innocence. Thus, to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence. Throughout the book, a number of characters including Jem, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley can be identified as mockingbirds – innocents that have been injured or destroyed through contact with evil. This connection between the novel’s title and its main theme is made explicit several times in the novel .After Tom Robinson is shot, Mr. Underwood compares his death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds”( Lee 3897), and at the end of the book Scout thinks that hurting Boo Radley would be like “shootin’ a mockingbird” ( 4483). This shows the vulnerability of innocents in the racist and judging world of Maycomb which often treats the fragile innocence of ‘mockingbirds’ harshly. As the book progresses it becomes clear that innocence is a nature held by those who have not been exposed to immorality. Tom Robinson, Jem and Boo Radley represent “mocking” whose innocence is eventually damaged by witnessing Maycomb’s evil ways.

Boo Radley is like a mockingbird because he's misunderstood and everyone seems to attack him when in fact he is actually a human being just reaching out for contact. He is the town reclose and an object of a lot of scrutiny and gossip made by the town’s people. Because of this, Boo was falsely characterized by many of the rumors made about him. He was rumored to be; “about six and a half feet tall, judging from his tracks ; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that why his hands were bloodstained. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face, what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes poped and he drooled most of the time” (Lee 189) .These horrific accusations made about him tainted his innocence by causing...
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