top-rated free essay

To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Response

By siddon3 Sep 12, 2012 562 Words
To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Response
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (119). Harper Lee introduces the theme of hurting innocents near the beginning of the novel, pointing out that you shouldn’t hurt something that only tries to help you, and doesn’t harm anyone, like a mockingbird. She portrays this theme through many of the characters, such as Arthur Radley, and Tom Robinson, by comparing them to a mockingbird, and their innocence. One of most prominent examples of harming innocents in the novel was the character of Arthur Radley (Boo). He is like the mockingbird mentioned by Atticus; he doesn’t bother anyone, and only tries to help. The story of Boo develops when the children start finding the treats left for them in the tree, put there because Boo wanted to see them happy, very much like innocent mockingbirds sing for our own enjoyment. Arthur also cares for Scout by putting a blanket around her during the fire at Mrs. Maudie’s house. The last thing Boo does is save the children from Bob Ewell, who tries to kill Scout and Jem. Although it is believed that Arthur possibly stabbed Bob, Heck Tate, the sheriff of Maycomb County, refuses to arrest him. Scout understands in the end that arresting Boo, “Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?” (370). In this case, the mockingbird, Arthur Radley is allowed to live, and is let back into his normal life. However, the right thing does not always happen, as shown to us by Harper Lee by the character of Tom Robinson. Tom is a hardworking, coloured man living in Maycomb. Even crippled, Tom is a good man, and helps support his family. Wrongfully accused of a crime he never committed, he goes into the court, simply because of a prejudice against coloured people. Because of this prejudice, he is unfairly found guilty, and sentenced to death. These events also symbolize killing a mockingbird; Tom is an innocent man, trying to live his live in peace, quite like a mockingbird, and killing him is a sin, because he has done nothing wrong. Even Mr. Underwood, publisher of Maycomb’s newspaper, writes an editorial pointing out this fact. In it, “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.” (323). Harper Lee shows us that people often do harm innocents, be it because of prejudices, or something else, even though they may or may not know it is the wrong thing to do. It’s hard to tell if Maycomb really thought Tom to be guilty during the trial, as it was the jury who made the final decision on the evidence. Overall, I believe Harper Lee had an exceptionally realistic view on harming innocents during the book, and represented the theme very well. By showing both sides of what could happen, killing the mockingbird, and showing the mockingbird survive, she shows readers what strong prejudices can do, and that by changing our own views on something that may not be completely right, it can make the difference between life and death. Hopefully this also reminds readers not to be too narrow minded, and to relook some of their own opinions, for depending on some prejudices that people have today, they might also be harming innocents.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Critical Response

    ...‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a novel cleverly written by Harper Lee to depict the prejudicial, discriminative and racist attitudes of white society in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. Maycomb at first glance seems to be a warm and gentle place. However, as the novel progresses, the backdrop of slavery, racism and poverty as a result of the Gr...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Analysis

    ...Emily Crocker Mrs. McClure CP- ELA- 3rd 15, February 2012 To Kill a Mockingbird- Critical Analysis There are many themes displayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. The many themes range from poverty, justice, and morality to prejudice, courage, and compassion. The one theme that I really thought was shown the most was morality. One time the theme...

    Read More
  • To Kill A Mockingbird Response

    ...To Kill A Mockingbird Essay To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is meaningful novel that was written in 1960. This novel discusses racism and societies negative views and influences. Majority of the characters in the book faces at least one of these obstacles. Throughout the book, the people who face hatred and mockery everyday are referred to...

    Read More
  • To Kill A Mockingbird Reader Response

    ...To Kill A Mockingbird—Response Harper Lee’s book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is, in my opinion, a book with a diverse collection of messages, skillfully woven into an interesting and engaging story. It seems to me, though, that the book is very focused on symbolism. The symbol of mockingbirds is reoccurring in the book. It appears in t...

    Read More
  • Critical Lens: to Kill a Mockingbird

    ...Sammie Clemmey February 2, 2012 Critical Lens Essay - TKAM English 9 – Friedman To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Lens Essay “It takes a village to raise a child”, is an African Proverb. In other words, it can take more than just a child’s nuclear family to make her grow into who she will be as an adult. This lens is...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Final Response

    ...To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was a very well written book. It provided an interesting childlike perspective on the various happenings in Maycomb Alabama. Scout had a unique perspective to all of the events that took place in the story due to her innocence. This book was worthwhile to read because it provided valuable life lessons concerni...

    Read More
  • To Kill A Mockingbird response

    ... After reading To Kill a Mockingbird most people might represent Dill as a dejected character, but I deem Dill Harris presents himself confidently. To begin with, he has an eccentric imagination; therefore, he just makes up stories as he goes along. For instance, when Jem and Scout asked him about his father, Dill told them he had a beard. When...

    Read More
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Reading Response

    ...To Kill a Mockingbird – Reading Response #3 As I continue To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, new characters was introduced and the story gets more interesting. As chapter ten begins, Scout feels slightly ashamed of her father, because it seems like he doesn’t do anything remarkable. Atticus warns Scout and Jem that it is a sin to kill...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.