“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. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set in the fictional town of Maycomb. It revolves around separate but interconnected events– Scout and Jem Finch’s daily lives and their father’s (Atticus Finch) imperilment as a lawyer.
Maycomb is a prosaic town sprinkled with azaleas and geraniums but is a sleeping volcano of racist tendencies. This is why when a white woman, Mayella Ewell, accused Tom Robinson, a Black man, of rape, Maycomb did not think twice about convicting him.
A fair lawyer, Atticus Finch, did not think twice about defending Robinson despite the entire town turning on him.
Meanwhile, Atty. Finch’s children, Scout and Jem, and their friends go on their counterpart of drama and thrill as they nose around the weird Boo Radley, a recluse who became a local legend.
The novel climaxes as the case of Robinson v. Ewell heads straight to a hooking twist–Ewell’s father (Bob Ewell) assaulted her. Despite this conclusion being evidence-backed, the court sentenced Robinson to death. Maycomb killed a mockingbird. Meanwhile, Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell to defend Scout and Jem. Radley escaped conviction when Sheriff Tate refused to “… shootin’ a mockingbird.”
This award-winning novel by Harper Lee stayed one of the most celebrated for decades. The epic symbolism in the novel might be one of the reasons why To Kill a Mockingbird is a common favorite for distinguished people.
The novel used numerous symbols, but this essay discusses only four of To Kill a Mockingbird’s symbolism.
A mockingbird is an enduring symbol of innocence and beauty in the novel. The mockingbird symbol is especially for Tom Robinson and Boo Radley–both falsely accused of crimes and scandals they did not commit. The mockingbird also symbolizes the dauntless innocence of Scout, Jem, and their friends.
When Tom Robinson was falsely convicted and sentenced to death, people called it “killing a mockingbird”–symbolized the death of an innocent man and a victim of racism.
Similarly, when Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell when Ewell hurt the kids, Sheriff Tate covered up for him because convicting him would be like “killing a mockingbird.”
Finch, a type of small bird, is Scout, Jem, and Atticus’ last name. This fact goes hand in hand with the motif (mockingbird) of the novel. Being friends and the defendant of the mockingbirds (Robinson and Radley) subjects the Finches to the violence of racism, bullying, and power play in the town of Maycomb.
Rabid Dog Symbolism
The dog gone rabid symbolizes how a mundane, amiable creature can suddenly pose a threat, just like how Maycomb went violent towards Robinson and Atty. Finch. The usual family-friendly town turned into a lynching, angry mob due to mindless racism.
Atticus was the one who shot the rabid dog, justifying it as the better thing to do and the safest for everyone in town. This scene symbolizes how he was willing to “shoot down” racism in his town.
Mayella Ewell, despite her second-hand murder and false rape claims against Tom Robinson and the deteriorated state of her house, still managed to grow and maintain beautiful red geraniums in her flower pots.
This symbolizes Mayella’s subconscious attempt to “beautify” or “save” her unfortunate family affairs and misery. It may also come to some audiences as a message of chilling hope that life and beauty will always coexist with death and the ugly.
For decades, To Kill a Mockingbird has been one of the major icons of the fight against bullying and injustice. It inspires and will continue to inspire people to stand up for what is right and maintain integrity at all times. To Kill a Mockingbird is not only an indelible experience once read but also a novel full of moral lessons people of any age must keep their treasure.
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