preview

The Unwritten Law in Harper Lee'sTo Kill A Mockingbird

Good Essays
In Harper Lee’s, “To Kill A Mockingbird” a true definition of the mockingbird is shown, a symbol extremely important to the novel. In the beginning of the novel, Boo Radley is condemned – not because of his own actions but the misdeeds of those around him. Many stories were forged to generate a bad vibe for the name Boo Radley to the point that his house was essentially taboo. Later on Tom Robinson is proven as the Ultimate Mockingbird, Tom is just an average negro who tried to help out a white person, which was obviously a bad decision. Another definition of a mockingbird is innocence, which is evident in Atticus’ daughter Scout. The unwritten law, “It is a sin to kill a mockingbird” is often overlooked and also obeyed in Maycomb County.

Tom Robinson was just a “respectable negro” with a kind nature who was accused in absence of wrong. Mr Robinson is immediately seen as an enemy by most in town of Maycomb. Is it because of his malicious personality? Is it because of his hair colour? Is it because he is arrogant? No, all of these are false he is instantly convicted because he is of a different ethnicity. It seems foolish but this is the reason why Maycomb has discarded a man who is of higher quality than the majority of the town. “Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella opened her mouth and screamed.” As soon as the trial began Tom’s opportunity for victory grew slimmer and slimmer and Maycomb knew that Atticus was fighting an unwinnable battle. But Atticus was determined to defend the ‘ultimate mockingbird’ right up until the end; even after the court case Atticus defends Tom at the jail. A final act of Tom’s innocence to prove his mockingbird status was whilst in court, he still didn’t want to accuse Mayella because “she seemed...

... middle of paper ...

...tuation occurring around her and her innocence led her to halt the mob’s actions that night. Later on in the novel we see Scout begin to understand concepts such as the mockingbird her father mentions earlier on. Such as when Boo Radley kills Bob Ewell, Atticus asks Scout if she knew why and she knew that it would kind of be like “shootin’ a mockingbird’. Which is evidence that she can understand these somewhat complex terminologies, which she wouldn’t be expected to know at such a young age.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a perfect example of how people like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are pushed to the bottom of the ‘social hierarchy’ while others that may be less deserving are put higher. It shows that simply things you encounter in your everyday life can steal your innocence, and that moral laws that have been created are both fulfilled and neglected.
Get Access