The Significance Of The Title Of Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee Essay

The Significance Of The Title Of Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee Essay

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What is the significance of the title "To Kill a Mockingbird?" This has been one of the most frequently asked questions since Lee Harper published this book over fifty years ago. The actual character of the mockingbird is vaguely switched throughout the book from Jem, to Tom Robinson, then Dill, Boo Radley and so forth. With a bit of word play the title, as stated by Herbert, becomes "To Mock a Killingbird" which roughly implies the act of Boo Radley shutting himself apart from the world as a result of being accused of things via rumors of a trial he underwent as a teenager. According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary a mockingbird is defined as "a grayish bird with black and white markings that is known for its remarkable ability to exactly imitate the notes of other birds." In the book Lee first describes Boo 's character as being a seemingly dark figure who is "sickly white, with thin, feathery hair, and gray, colorless eyes, almost as if he were blind" (14). This of course further implies that Boo Radley is indeed the actual mockingbird.
One of the books most famous quotes “one time he [Atticus] said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them." This quote is believed by DiPiero to have been used as a metaphor to cater to the fact that Jem and Scout are children, therefore making them incompetent when it comes to understanding social issues. "Trying on someone else 's shoes is child 's play" (DiPiero). It is something that can be done by anyone, result in no consequences, and while it allows for some insight on what is going on- which for Jem and Scout’s cases is the ability to comprehend the racism, violence and abuse they are growing up around- results in a false understanding to what th...


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...orces, that is, with forces alien to our commonplace lives, as a result of these encounters, we break the cultural and psychological barriers that imprison us and come to embrace a larger world” (72). Lee’s decision to have Atticus undergoing a trial around the same time Jem and Scout are learning about Boo Radley and social standards allows for insight on this time period by both viewing things through an adult’s eye, as well as seeing the children trying to grasp certain concepts. This reinforces the importance of the Finch children’s youth as they are too young to understand all things in society, which adds another perspective to the story. This is something believed to be a big factor in why this book is still relevant today. Or as Best states “it is not only a coming-of-age tale but also an illustration of Foucault’s Panopticon as a model for today’s society.”

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