Criticism In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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To Kill A Mockingbird Trying to pinpoint exactly what constitutes a Great American Novel has led to an enormous amount of speculation. Some critics highlight the coming-of-age aspect while others assign greater importance to the issues of relatable American life. The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have all earned renowned reputation for these elements. They have been the subject of countless scholarly studies and are part of the national dialogue concerning topics of race, gender, and class in America. What is unfairly not often included in this pantheon of Great American Novels is Harper Lee’s 1960 masterpiece, To Kill A Mockingbird. The book has been a standard in classrooms, incorporates the…show more content…
Lee is careful to write from the vantage point of a child, never allowing her prose to seem stuffy or overly complex. The most obvious of these comes from the title itself: the mockingbird. Mockingbirds are included very rarely in the text, but as these creatures are named in the very title of the work indicates to readers to pay attention when mockingbirds are mentioned, for they seem to be secretly very important to the story. Even without a mockingbird actually causing any action or even literally appearing for any character to interact with, the idea of the mockingbird is described very early and is a clear metaphor to establish the concepts of innocence and purity to the readers. As the children head out with their air rifle, they are instructed, “’I 'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you 'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it 's a sin to kill a mockingbird’” (Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird). The children found these instructions to be strange and very unlike the normal rules set forth by their father. “That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.” The idea of sin cannot be overlooked here. In some ways it literally seems this is how children first learn of sin entirely. As the loss of innocence factors so heavily into the themes…show more content…
As Atticus Finch doubts himself in how to proceed with the problematic death of the drunk, liar Bob Ewell, Lee decides to use this moment to incorporate her ultimate image of good in the world. “Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him and kissed him with all my might. ‘Yes sir, I understand,’ I reassured him. ‘Mr. Tate was right.’ Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Well, it 'd be sort of like shootin ' a mockingbird, wouldn 't it?’” This almost playful dialogue between the characters shows that even after innocence appears to be lost, they still hold value for what is good and they still are able to display this kind of affection and concern for one another. By this point the readers have been taken on an emotional roller coaster that does not seem like it is going to end well. The death of Tom Robinson is still an event readers are trying to cope with almost sixty years since To Kill A Mockingbird’s publication. Tom Robinson seemed to be one of these mockingbirds; a man who did nothing wrong and yet found himself persecuted by those he tried to live innocently amongst. Only Boo Radley could stand with him in this regard, and when it appears the town could be turning on Boo Radley

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