Top-Rated Free Essay

To Kill A Mockingbird and Tom Robinson

Powerful Essays
Novel Analysis
“To Kill a Mockingbird”

Pd. 7
Shakirah
Shivers
10th Grade Lit.
Honors
10-31-12
2012

Novel Analysis
“To Kill a Mockingbird”

Pd. 7
Shakirah
Shivers
10th Grade Lit.
Honors
10-31-12
2012

Shakirah Shivers
Period 7
Novel Analysis
10/22/12
“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.” This quote from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” shows how the innocence of some on or something is destroyed.
Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. The youngest of four children, she grew up as a tomboy in a small town. Her father was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature, and also owned part of the local newspaper. For most of Lee’s life, her mother suffered from mental illness never leaving the house. As a child a Lee took interest in English as she entered her sophomore year in high school high school. Lee went on to attend Huntingdon College. After not getting a degree in law and dropping out of college Harper realized writing was her true calling. She went to New York to pursue her dreams. In about 1957 Lee began working on her one and only novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. In July 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was published.
In this novel main characters are Scout, a young child is the daughter of Atticus who is a tomboy, portraying Harper lee as a child. Atticus, Scout and Jem’s father, a lawyer in Maycomb one of the few citizens of Maycomb committed to racial equality. When he agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with raping a white woman, he exposes himself and his family to the anger of the white community. Jem, Scouts brother and Atticus’ son, Jem moves into his adolescence during the story, and he is shaken badly by the evil and injustice that he sees during the trial of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. Tom is considered a “mockingbird” in the novel, an important symbol of innocence destroyed by evil. Others characters such as Arthur “Boo” Radley, Bob Ewell, Dill Harris, and Nathan Radley are also very important to the novel.
The setting of the story is in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Everyone knows everybody and they are probably related by blood or marriage. The town is a bit racist and it shows in the Tom Robinson trial. Maycomb is it a town where time seems to stand still. No one really moves there or moves out. The same families have been living there for generations and generations to come. Things are a bit old and no one wants change. Maycomb is just sort of a buried time capsule.
The main plot of this story revolves around the Finch family. The main plot of the novel revolves around the trial, in which Atticus defends Tom Robinson, a black, who has been accused of molested a white girl, Mayella Ewell. She and her family are part of the lower white class community. The children (Jem and Scout) follow the case with their dad. As he begins to unfold the truth of Mayella being abused by her dad. The case is lost simply because it was still impossible for a black man to attain victory over a white man in the South during the 1960’s.
The events in the novel build up to the single most important and climactic scene of the courtroom. The climax begins when Atticus tries to defend Tom Robinson from the allegations of Bob and Mayella Ewell. The tension is maintained throughout the trial as to whether Atticus would or would not represent tom Robinson and give him the benefit of the doubt. The tension rises when Atticus believes it was Bob Ewell that molested and beat Mayella. Although no one believes that that is the truth, Atticus goes far distances to prove that his defendant is innocent. But he knows it will be difficult to win because Tom is black.
The protagonist of the novel is Atticus Finch, who is the backbone of a lot of characters in the novel. In his involvement with the poor whites of the community, like Walter Cunningham, as well as the deprived blacks, like Tom Robinson, he is portrayed as a just, sincere and kind man. Bob Ewell serves as the perfect antagonist in the novel, with his laid-back way of living and the utter disregard he has for other human beings. He comes across only as a nonchalant man, uncaring about his family and brash in his dealings with others. He is seen as a figure that does evil to an innocent mocking bird. The man vs. man conflict is mainly between Tom and Bob. As bob decides the fate of Tom Robinson’s life , whether it will be spent in prison or he confesses to the wrong he has done.
The point of view is written 1st person, in the eyes of Scout as if she is writing the novel. Scout 's views on racial prejudice are formed as a result of the trial of Tom Robinson. She knows that blacks are segregated but their lives do not touch Scout except for Calpurnia. Calpurnia is their black housemaid who becomes more of a mother figure as the novel progresses. Scout really isn 't exposed to the harsh realities of bigotry until the trial. Here Scout encounters the taunting of kids and adults. She endures remarks about her father being a "nigger lover" and then the injustice that happens to Tom. For the most, Scout is confused by the racism. She just does not understand where the hate from Scout loses some of her innocence because of racial intolerance she now knows.
There are about three major themes of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. They are good and evil, education, and social inequality. The main and underlying theme in the novel is that of black peoples equality, its lack of its acceptance in the south. Harper Lee has portrayed the deep-set traditional way of thinking of the southern people who are unable to accept that the blacks are equal to them. . The whites find it difficult to consider them equal. This theme has been illustrated while depicting the lifestyle of the black community and the many problems they face from the white community.
There are many literary devices in this novel. “Miss Maudie 's mimosa is so redolent that it is like angel 's breath.” This is a simile because the mimosa is compared to an "angel 's breath”. “The old house is droopy and sick, yet it manages to move and then be still.” This is personification because the house (non living) is said to be "droopy and sick". “Zeebo 's throat is "like the rumble of distant artillery." Here a comparison is made between two unlike things. This is a simile because Zeebo 's voice is compared to "the rumble of distant artillery."
Although there are tons of critical reviews on this novel I have decide to use only three.

Bibliography
(Work Cited)

Attenberg, Jami. "Jesse Kornbluth: 'To Kill A Mockingbird ' Anniversary: On Its 50th Birthday, Why Is 'To Kill A Mockingbird ' Being Attacked? (VIDEO)." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kornbluth/to-kill-a-mockingbird-ann_b_641473.html>.
"Harper Lee 's To Kill A Mockingbird: A Literary Analysis." Online Prose Portfolio. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.ericchrist.com/non-fiction/mockingbird.htm>.
"HarperLee.com." HarperLee.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://www.harperlee.com/bio.htm>.
Lee, Harper. To kill a mocking bird. S.l.: Listen for Pleasure7243 8 35329 4 0, 1995. Print.
Metcalf, Stephen. "Harper Lee 's To Kill a Mockingbird. - Slate Magazine." Slate Magazine - Politics, Business, Technology, and the Arts - Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_dilettante/2006/06/on_first_looking_into_to_kill_a_mockingbird.html>.
"To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - IMDb." IMDb - Movies, TV and Celebrities. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/>.

MLA formatting by BibMe.org.

Bibliography: (Work Cited) Attenberg, Jami. "Jesse Kornbluth: 'To Kill A Mockingbird ' Anniversary: On Its 50th Birthday, Why Is 'To Kill A Mockingbird ' Being Attacked? (VIDEO)." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. &lt;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kornbluth/to-kill-a-mockingbird-ann_b_641473.html&gt;. "Harper Lee 's To Kill A Mockingbird: A Literary Analysis." Online Prose Portfolio. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. &lt;http://www.ericchrist.com/non-fiction/mockingbird.htm&gt;. "HarperLee.com." HarperLee.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. &lt;http://www.harperlee.com/bio.htm&gt;. Lee, Harper. To kill a mocking bird. S.l.: Listen for Pleasure7243 8 35329 4 0, 1995. Print. Metcalf, Stephen. "Harper Lee 's To Kill a Mockingbird. - Slate Magazine." Slate Magazine - Politics, Business, Technology, and the Arts - Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. &lt;http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_dilettante/2006/06/on_first_looking_into_to_kill_a_mockingbird.html&gt;. "To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - IMDb." IMDb - Movies, TV and Celebrities. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2012. &lt;http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/&gt;. MLA formatting by BibMe.org.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    In chapters 17-19 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the court case, Ewell v. Robinson, examines the accusation of rape by Tom Robinson, an African-American male. According to Tom Robinson, he walked by Mayella Ewell’s house every day and she always asked him to help her. Tom claimed that in the spring Mayell a asked him to chop up the chiffarobe contrary to…

    • 633 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    innocent man in jail? Back in the 1960’s if you were black it didn’t matter. This is why Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mocking Bird exaggerates that Tom Robinson is not guilty but convicted for his color. Also Harper lee expresses that the jury is flawed clearly. Being convicted causes Tom to lose his innocents literally. This is the theme that Harper Lee is trying to get across. While Tom loses his innocence so does Jem Finch mentally. Jem thinking that justice will always be served comes crumbling…

    • 525 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    To Kill A Mockingbird Essay Being a colored person in a white community can be very difficult. It is especially challenging for Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird, and also minorities in real life. Every day, they are discriminated against, and it is very unfair. To Kill a Mockingbird has many non-fiction parts, which makes the novel better than many others. Harper Lee presented Tom’s trial in ways that can be easily compared to real life trials, such as the Scottsboro trial. Tom Robinson’s…

    • 928 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee 30). To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee revolves around Maycomb, Alabama, a county where racism is a rampant “disease” and judgement is present. Scout receives an imperative piece of moral advice from Atticus that controls her evolution for the rest of the novel. Rumors and gossip spread misconceptions about Tom Robinson, Dolphus Raymond, and Boo Radley that make them misunderstood. Tom Robinson is an african-american man that Atticus is defending…

    • 779 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, is set in a small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. The story is based on Scout Finch and follows her on her adventures with family and friends as she encountered barand new things to her. She will start school for the first time and realize that she hates it. Her and her friends get in trouble with the neighbors more than once. She watches as an innocent African American is convicted of rape. She will see the hatred and discrimination…

    • 207 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    To Kill a Mockingbird, the characters are just misunderstood. Mr. Arthur Radley, Tom Robinson, and Mrs. Dubose, among others, are misconceived, and unfortunately, most of the people in Maycomb don’t give them a chance. The characters in the novel often had a wrong idea about someone without even meeting or talking to them. If the characters could walk in one another’s shoes,…

    • 932 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    I will be interviewing Mayella Ewell about the trial about Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson was a African american who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Mayella Ewell said that Tom Robinson snuck up behind and he hit her and hit her repetedly, her pa was out in back and he didn’t hear anything untill she was thrown on the ground. She said that he hit her with her left hand, so Atticus Finch then interviewed Mr.Ewell. Atticous asked Mr.Ewell to write his name on a piece of paper, he did. Atticus proved…

    • 254 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Tom Robinson’s trial was probably one of the most nail biting trials ever and it all took play place in Maycomb County in southern Alabama.This trial occurred in August 26,1935 but the crime took place at the Ewells home on November 21,1934,which also means it was during The Great Depression.It all started when Mayella had accused Tom Robinson of allegedly raping and beating her,when in trial she said “-he chunked me on the floor and’ choked me and took advantage of me”(TKAM).During this trial many…

    • 269 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Tom Robinson was a civilized man who was trying to get home from work one day,and Mayella Ewell ruined that for him. In the unfair case of Tom Robinson he was accused of raping a girl he never found interest in.The case had a ruling set before it even started,because he was a black man. There was so much evidence that Mayella wasn't raped by Tom Robinson,some of the evidence were Tom's physical handicap from a cotton gin as well as his left arm being twelve inches shorter than his right and was not…

    • 255 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    'Guilty' verdict has been reached in the trial of Tom Robinson. A jury of twelve whites has reached a verdict that Tom Robinson, a black male, raped Mayella Ewell, a white woman. The rendition of this verdict has brought to a close a trial that has captured the news and stirred the emotions of this town for several months. It somehow seems fitting that this trial, for a most horrible crime, began during the winter months when all of nature is dead, and has ended with the beginning of Spring…

    • 671 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays