The Significance of the Title To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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The Significance of the Title To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

In this novel the most significant symbol is the mocking bird. A

mocking bird is a type of Finch: a small, discrete bird with a

beautiful song, which 'mocks' or imitates the other birds' song. One

of the most explicit references made about mocking birds is that in

chapter 10. Atticus is telling Scout and Jem how top use their

shotguns for the first time, he says, 'Shoot all the bluejays you

want, if you can hit'em but remember it's a sign to kill a

Mockingbird.' Harper Lee uses symbolism implicitly to liken mocking

birds to certain characters and explicit references to describe the

atmosphere created by events throughout the book.


Mocking birds are used throughout the novel to represent innocence;

Miss Maudie explains this to Scout. Scout is surprised to hear

non-judgemental Atticus calling anything a sin. She asks Miss Maudie

why Atticus has said it is wrong and she replies with the explanation,

'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They

don't eat up people's gardens, don't mess in corncribs, they don't do

one thing but sign their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to

kill a Mockingbird.' By saying this Miss Maudie is saying they do

nothing to threaten us our harm us and are effectively innocent, so

why kill them pointlessly.

Mocking birds are reflected explicitly during the narrative connecting

it to times of tension. Chapter 12 sees the mad dog incident take

place, the mocking birds are thought to fall silent at this point, as

there is a real threat present...

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...nd when he is sent to prison. Such domination led Tom to try

and escape from prison and in doing so cause his death.

Both characters are caring, for example, Boo Radley gives Jem and

Scout two figurines, chewing gum, a tarnished medal, pocket watch and

an aluminium knife via a knot-hole in a tree in the Radley property.

However, Mr Radley cements the hole so Boo cannot send gifts to the

children anymore, this is also an example of Boo's domination. Tom

Robinson helps Mayella Ewell on her property do many chores, as he

feels sorry for her. On the evening of his accused crime he was asked

by Mayella to fix a door in the house. He never accepted any money

from Mayella for doing these tasks. In this way he is alike a mocking

bird, he is caring. Harper Lee uses all these devices to accentuate

the symbol of a mocking bird.
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