“It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”. Who represents Mockingbirds in To Kill a Mockingbird and in what way are they destroyed?
To Kill a Mockingbird is a recount novel set in the 1930’s in the town of Maycomb where racial attitudes are widely accepted and people are judged not only by race, but also by social class. When Atticus Finch tells his children Scout and Jem that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, he is talking both literally and metaphorically. Just as Miss Maudie explains that killing them would be unjust and cruel, Scout comes to realise that this also relates to people. Mockingbirds therefore represent all innocent victims of injustice.
Tom Robinson is a symbol of a mockingbird as he is sentenced for a crime he never committed. Mr Underwood likens Tom Robinson’s death to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children”. I find this especially true as Tom was sentenced to jail just because of a biased and prejudiced society. In a conversation with Jem, Scout says, “Naw Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” Although this is true, many people failed to recognise this then, and even today, many still do.
Why Tom Robinson is destroyed? He is ultimately shot in the back as a result of racism. Atticus tells Calpurnia and Alexandra, “Depends on how you look at it. What was one Negro, more or less, among two-hundred of them? He wasn’t Tom to them, he was an escaping prisoner.” Even if Tom had been proven to be innocent in the court case, rumours would have spread about him, which eventually would have destroyed him. It seemed to be inevitable that Tom would be convicted, “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella opened her mouth and screamed.”
Boo Radley, from youth, was an intelligent child. He won several prizes for spelling until he was a teenager. He then joined a gang and was trialled in a court case. His father thought that he was a ‘disgrace’ to the Radley family. Boo is also another case of an obvious ‘mockingbird’. Almost...