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The Significane Of The Title Of The Book, 'to Kill A Mockingbird' By Harper Lee

684 words - 3 pages

One of the hardest jobs for an author is to choose a good title for their writing. It has to be catchy, relevant to the story, and hints at the content of the story without revealing too much. Harper Lee does this successfully by titling her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird". Besides evoking interest in the potential reader, the title is very significant and symbolic to the story. Atticus tells his children that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird and Miss Maudie explains "'Mockingbirds don't do one thing, but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.'" (P. 90) The mockingbird represents characters and events: Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, the justice system, and childhood innocence.Tom ...view middle of the document...

The mockingbird also represents Boo Radley who was a member of the white society. He is a shy, fragile man who is also in danger of "being killed" if he were to be put on trial. His only crime was protecting innocent children from the attack of Bob Ewell. When Atticus tells Scout that the story will be that Bob Ewell fell on his knife, Scout replies, "'Mr. Tate was right...Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?'" (P. 276)The justice system is also like a mockingbird. It is in place for society's benefit, however, it can be "killed" by prejudice as in the Tom Robinson case. The jury ignored all the evidence and convicted Tom Robinson because of the colour of his skin.Throughout the story Jem and Scout start to become aware of the evil in the world; their childhood innocence is lost. They learn not to take everything at face value. Scout, on reflecting about Tom Robinson's death, comes to the realization that justice has not been served and that Tom had not been given a fair chance. "Then Mr. Underwood's meaning became clear: Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." (P. 241) It is at this point that the mockingbird of innocence is killed.It has been my observation that in real life there are many mockingbirds. It appears that certain people try to destroy the things that are good; goodness threatens them. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr., J. F. Kennedy and Ghandi all had visions of a gentler, kinder world, but someone didn't agree with these ideas and felt it was necessary to kill these mockingbirds. Even though the mockingbird is a victim, those who are a mockingbird have to be strong to survive the constant opposition of others toward them.

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