To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus's Warning

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The title: To Kill a Mockingbird alludes to Atticus's warning to Scout not to shoot her rifle at mockingbirds because they do nothing to harm people or there crops they only provide lovely music for people to listen to. (p.119) Without this warning in the story the title wouldn't make sense, it would just be an off shot statement oblivious to the surrounding story. The warning is cryptic at first glance but looking back one can interpret this as foreshadowing. Atticus's warning is later turned into a metaphor when Tom Robinson, an innocent man who picked cotton for Link Deas, is accused of raping a young woman who's house he walked by twice a day. This is where Ms. Lee creates the metaphor between the mockingbird and Tom Robinson, the crippled African-American man accused of rape. The mockingbird and Tom Robinson have several similarities, they are both innocent, and free of sin, they are both humble and try only to good and it is considered a sin to kill a mockingbird and a crippled man. Tom Robinson is a crippled African-American man being used as a scapegoat for a crime that never happened. He was proven innocent by a lawyer accepting of all races, yet was jailed by a jury unable to push aside a prejudice and end a portion of racism in small southern town. As readers we are led to believe that Tom Robinson was an innocent man accused for a crime that he didn't commit, and jailed by a court of intolerance. Tom Robinson was killed as a criminal but died as an innocent man, he did not commit the crime that was pressed upon him, and was wrongfully killed while serving time for his oppression. 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 (Jem, Tom Robinson, Dill, Boo...
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