“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. 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. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” said Miss Maudie to her six year old neighbor, Scout. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, killing a mockingbird is a symbol of the destruction of innocence. To Kill a Mockingbird is a memorable novel in American literature history. You may ask why this story is memorable. Because To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about human rights.
Tom Robinson is an African American man, he is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Atticus defends him against the prosecutor, Mr.Gilmer. As Atticus says, Robinson's left arm is "hardly nothing," because it was caught in a cotton gin at age 12; his exclusive right-handedness is the basis of Atticus's defense. Since Mayella's bruises were only on the right side of her face, someone who used his left had to have beaten her. In Mr. Tate’s testimony, he describe Mayella’s juries further: the right side of her face was heavily bruised, and there were finger marks all around her throat. It can be a favorable evidence to indicate Tom Robinson is not the criminal because Tom couldn’t use his disabled left hand to hurt anyone. During his testimony, Tom states that he had frequently helped Mayella with some house works because he felt sorry for her and her hard life. This shocks the jury, as it was unheard of that a black man could feel sorry for a white woman. Despite Atticus's skillful defense, Robinson is declared guilty by the jury since he is a Negro whose accuser is white. The jury’s judgment is based on the prejudice that all African-Americans are immoral liars who rape white women whenever they get the chance. Although he feels confident that he will be acquitted on appeal, while in prison, Robinson is shot 17 times and killed by guards who later report that he had "attempted to escape." This “mockingbird” was ultimately killed by the unfair judgment based on his race. It’s a sin to treat a human being like that way.
Boo Radley is a very mysterious, reclusive character, who doesn't openly present himself until Jem and Scout's final interaction with Bob Ewell. Maycomb children believe he is a horrible person, due to the rumors spread about him and a trial he underwent as a teenager. It is implied during the story that Boo is a very lonely man who attempts to reach out to Jem and Scout for friendship, for instance leaving them small gifts and figures in a tree knothole. When Boo finally does come out, he has a good reason: Bob Ewell is trying to murder the Finch kids. The reader cannot see what happens in the scuffle, but at the end of it, Ewell is dead and Boo carries an unconscious Jem to the Finch house. Boo Radley's heroics in protecting the children from Bob Ewell are covered up by Sheriff Tate. This can be consider as a wise decision. As Tate notes, if word got out that Boo killed Ewell, Boo’s house would be inundated with gifts and visits, it’s a disaster for him due to his reclusive personality. Eventually, Jem understood Boo Radley’s unsociable personality after the Tom Robinson trial. “Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time… it's because he wants to stay inside" (pg. 227). Having seen a sample of the horrible things their fellow townspeople can do, choosing to stay out of the mess of humanity doesn’t seem like such a strange choice. Boo Radley finally been accepted by Scout in the end of this story. By contrast, the ending of Tom Robinson is miserable, but don’t forget Boo need to suffer the rumors about him as a teenager. Jem, is a vivid character in this book, and he is also considered a “mockingbird”. With the story progress, Jem lost his innocence gradually. The age that everyone will reach they mature and change from a child to an adult. Jem lost his innocence during the trial, when the ugly side of Maycomb was revealed to him. He began to understand the negative side of humanity. After the trial, Jem started to sob because he was unable to accept the guilty decision made by jury for Tom Robinson. Jem witnessed the entire process and how the jury ignored evidence that proved Tom Robinson was not guilty. The jury’s members based their votes on the race of Tom and declared him guilty. The bigotry of the jury upset Jem because he believe there is a justice under the law. Jem finally realize how unkind and prejudiced townspeople were. It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, relates to what happened on Boo, Jem and Tom. Killing a mockingbird represented “the loss of innocence”. Jem was the victim who suffered the most since he became to know the ugly side of this society, he was forced to grow up rapidly. Generally speaking, they all have a similarity: they did not do any harm but they still got hurt. It’s a sin to harm mockingbird because there is no reason to harm it or him.