A lesson taught by Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird is that you should never kill a mockingbird because they only create music and harm nothing. What Atticus meant by this is that you should never hurt an innocent person no matter the situation. In Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird the mockingbird symbolizes all that is innocent and all that is harmless in society. Harper Lee uses two characters to show the innocence in people and to show how this innocence is often killed: Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. The theme in To Kill a Mockingbird, that often the innocent are harmed by the wicked unjustly and intentionally, only to be saved by the brave and intelligent, who try hard to show society who these people really are is clearly articulated throughout the novel by the use of the symbolism of the mockingbird infused in the two characters previously mentioned.
Tom Robinson has never hurt a person in his life and he is most definitely considered a mockingbird and is definitely killed in this novel unjustly. Scout is going to “mash” the bug but Jem would not allow it and says, ‘“[do not kill it if it does not] bother you’ [… Jem] was never cruel to animals but I had never known is charity to embrace the insect world” (238). This passage is right after the court case and because Jem has just witnessed a mockingbird (Tom Robinson) being killed he relates Tom to the bug, but Jem has never been kind to insects before. The reason Jem is so eager to have Scout not kill the bug is because Tom Robinson was just “killed” by being proven guilty at the trial and Jem sees that Tom was so innocent and is a mockingbird who does not deserve death so he shows his feelings for Tom on the bug. When Atticus hears the news that Tom has been shot he tells Calphurnia, ‘“They shot him, […] they said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing it’” (235). Tom Robinson is clearly a mockingbird in this situation because everyone knew that he could not have...
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