The Significance of the Title to Kill a Mockingbird

Topics: Black people, To Kill a Mockingbird, White people, Race, Harper Lee / Pages: 5 (1045 words) / Published: Feb 27th, 2011
ESSAY: Explain the significance of the title, To Kill a Mockingbird.

The title To Kill a Mockingbird is very significant to the novel as it portrays many forms of mockingbirds throughout it. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are the true Mockingbirds of the story. They both are innocent from the accusations claimed upon them.

When choosing the title of the novel, Harper Lee had to make sure it stood out but also was relevant to the story. To Kill a Mockingbird shows the readers an unusual and interesting title that stirs their interest. Also that throughout the story it will symbolise something of importance. The readers are lead to believe that the phrase ‘to kill a mockingbird’ is a sin. Mockingbirds symbolise innocence and they never do anything to harm anyone or anything. They are simply songbirds that give everyone pleasure by singing their hearts out. Quoted from Atticus, a fictional character in the novel, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” The blue jays symbolise the ‘bad guys’ of the novel such as Mr Bob Ewell who are guilty and on the wrong side of the law, but are not caught or charged for the crimes they have committed. The mockingbird symbolise the ‘good guys’ who are harmed by others although they have never actually harmed anyone. They are innocent and blameless such as Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. If the quote is reworded it can be interpreted as this; “Gaol all the guilty men you want, if you can catch them, but remember it’s a sin to harm an innocent man.” This statement I believe is the message of the entire novel and that is why the title To Kill a Mockingbird is very significant.

The novel is split into two sections. The first section is mainly directed towards the children’s neighbour, Arthur (Boo) Radley. The other is focused on Atticus’ court case of defending a Negro man, Tom Robinson. Boo Radley has become

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