*TALK ABOUT BEAUTY THEY BRING*
The 11th Commandment
By: Mayuraah Rajasri
"They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Miss. Maudie explained to Scout and Jem. This meant that there was a moral law people should follow against killing mockingbirds, for we are to spare their innocence. (Lee, 94) In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, there are several characters that could be considered as symbolic mockingbirds. The mockingbird is identified as innocent birds that “don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy" (94) which makes attacking them an ethical crime. Therefore, Tom Robinson is a prime example of a mockingbird because of how unfairly he is treated in the trial and in society regardless of his innocence. Similarly, Boo Radley and Atticus Finch are both good examples (synonyms) of mockingbirds, because they are ridiculed and victimized by the Maycomb society for no good reason. These three men are all considered symbolic mockingbirds because they are all innocent, fine citizens who are "shot at" by the Maycomb Society.
According to Atticus "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (98). Atticus is a prime example of a mockingbird as he (fits this description perfectly. He) is an admirable citizen who is also a very principled man. This is shown in the many lessons and morals he has and teaches his children, and in turn, Maycomb. - They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,' said Atticus, 'but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.'" - You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'" - 3. In CHAPTER 11, about 5 or 6 pages into the chapter, Atticus again speaks about his principles in an exchange with Scout. He speaks about his defense of Tom Robinson and expands upon his principled need to defend Tom Robinson, even in the face of disapproval: -pg102
He also defends Tom Robinson out of honour because he was assigned to him because he decided to be a role model for his children proving to the readers that he is a man with strong morals. Miss Maudie said "[Mockingbirds] don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.”(94) Likewise, all Atticus did was ‘sing his heart out’ for Tom Robinson, and yet he was still the victim of personal verbal and physical attacks. These personal attacks include being called a "nigger-lover" by both the community and his family (add reference/page number?) and also Mr. Ewell spitting on his face and attempting\ to murder his children because he made a fool out or Mr. Ewell in court. This proves that Atticus is an innocent man still....therefore making him a symbolic mockingbird.
Arthur "Boo" Radley is a man who has stayed in his house, located near to the Finches in Maycomb, for decades. He was given the nickname Boo Radley because he stays in his home and hasn't been seen in years like a ghost, hence 'Boo'. Although, he does nothing but stay quietly inside his house for it is where he is most comfortable, Maycomb being the judgmental town it is, conjured up many stories and false accusations against him. He is called a 'malevolent phantom' (5) and is said to eat cats and squirrels. "Boo bit it [whatever it is] one night when he couldn't find any cats and squirrels to eat." (22) He is attacked even though he is innocent, making him a mockingbird. On top of that, Boo Radley is not only a normal man, but a kind one too. This is shown when he places a blanket over Scout during the fire and when he saves the children’s lives from Mr.Ewell, all out of benevolence./pure kindness?
In today’s justice system, anyone being accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. In this novel, because everyone was so racist and prejudice about the Negro race, it seemed to be as though one was guilty whether proven innocent or not. This is shown with Tom Robinson’s trial as he is a good-hearted man, incapable of doing any wrong, who is still treated unfairly, solely because he's an African-American. Miss Maudie said "They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.” choose one Similarly, Tom Robinson is innocent, and does nothing to Mayella but regularly aid her in her housework, free of charge, because he is such a nice guy. Despite the overwhelming evidence proving Tom Robinson's innocence, including the fact that he is crippled, the jury still convicted him of rape. They just couldn’t bring themselves to choose a black man’s word over a white woman’s. -Used as a scapegoat for Bob Ewell doings on Mayella (i.e. the bruises) -treated with hostility in court although he was polite (because he is a black) The only reason he was 'proven' guilty, "Sings his heart out" at the trials / or Atticus? According to Atticus "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (98). /