To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Good Essays
The Innocence Within

Thoughts are like seeds that take root in our minds. They spawn feelings and more thoughts that can have powerful consequences. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the views of the townspeople in the 1930’s Southern town of Maycomb greatly impact the lives of two innocent men. The people make false accusations against Tom Robinson and Arthur “Boo” Radley because they are different. These characters are representative of the author’s reoccurring symbol of the mockingbird, which signifies innocence, and subjects them to vulnerability. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, although innocent, fall victim to the hatred of society and thus emerge as mockingbirds. Tom Robinson, is black man, who is wrongfully accused of raping a white woman; while Boo Radley is believed to be a criminal because of the rumors the townspeople say about him. Because these men do not fall into the norm, their lives are greatly affected by the thoughts and opinions of the townspeople.

The mockingbird is a powerful symbol that is repeatedly seen throughout the novel. The bird is representative of the innocence and susceptibility of certain characters. Shooting birds in Maycomb is a past time, and one day, while Jem is practicing his shot, Atticus reminds him, “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (103). A mockingbird is a harmless creature that does not harm anyone or anything. Atticus doesn't mind his children shooting blue jays because they are ordinary birds who cause problems, but he feels that mockingbirds are innocent creatures whose lives should be preserved; therefore, it would be a sin to kill a mockingbird. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley exemplify the moc...

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... a mockingbird, Boo is innocent, yet he is destroyed by society for being different.

The mockingbird symbolizes the innocence of people who are accused wrongfully. It is a harmless bird that makes the world more pleasant, but it sings the songs of other birds, so it is subject to the image of others. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are mockingbirds, innocent souls that are judged based on the discrimination and intolerance of the townspeople. The citizens of Maycomb judge Tom Robinson based on the color of his skin and refuse to listen to the truth of his innocence. Boo Radley never does harm to anyone, yet the town criticizes him for his wrong doings. These men are destroyed by the perceptions of the people around them. Tom and Boo embody all that the mockingbird represents and consequently demonstrate how the opinions of others can alter the lives of the innocent.
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