In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the author Harper Lee uses the mockingbird to symbolize the innocence of many characters. A symbol is defined as, “Something used for or regarded as representing something else” (Dictionary.com). The symbol of the mockingbird is meant to represent the innocence of many characters in the novel. Miss Maudie says to the children, “They don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 119). In other words, to kill a mockingbird means to kill innocence. In this novel there are many characters that can be compared to mockingbirds. These characters are people that are innocent, but are killed or ruined by the evil of society (Lee).
Tom Robinson is an example of a Mockingbird in the novel. Tom Robinson is a crippled African American man who is accused of attacking and raping a white woman named Mayella. Tom loses the trial because of his race, not because of the evidence in the ...view middle of the document...
Jem tells Scout and Dill, “Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her” (16). This is an example of the rumors the town creates about Boo. The people of Maycomb prey on him for his disability and turn his innocence into evil. He is put down so much that people like Jem and Scout think he is a monster before they ever meet him. He is not a bad person though. He watches Jem and Scout grow up from the seclusion of his home. Boo sends them presents, folds Jem’s pants the night they get stuck on the fence, and in the end of the book murders Mr. Ewell to save the children from him. They take his innocence because he is forced to kill to protect the young children from an evil person (Lee).
Dill is another example of a mockingbird in the novel. Dill is a young boy who has to grow up too early because of his life. He does not really have a home and is passed from relative to relative throughout the year. He does not really know his father and this causes him to lie and tell stories to avoid judgment from other people. He has to make major life decisions early in his life, like running away. His terrible family situation, and the way his upbringing contribute to his loss of innocence (Lee).
The mockingbird is a very important symbol in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It symbolizes an innocent creature that is ruined or mistreated by society. There are many characters that can be compared to the mockingbird. These characters all were innocent before the evil nature of society killed or ruined them. They all are preyed on for their weaknesses or are forced to face harsh realities and grow up too quickly. The symbol of the mockingbird heavily relates to the theme of loss of innocence. Many characters lose their innocence in this novel as well due to harsh realities and the world they live in. For example Jem and Scout grow up very quickly in the year that their father defends Tom Robinson because of the abuse they receive about their father. The mockingbird is a symbol that ties the whole novel together.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York City: Grand Central, 1960. Print.
"Symbol." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 9 Mar. 2014.