Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, symbolism is the key literary device. Symbolism is when one thing stands for another. It is a sin to kill a mockingbird. This is because mockingbirds do not harm anything, they just sing to you. The mockingbird symbolized both Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.

Tom Robinson was a respected black man. He supported his family by working hard. He even took time to help others. Tom helped Mayella Ewell even though he had his own chores to do. Mayella took Toms kindness for granted. When Mayella did not get what she wanted from Tom, she tried to get rid of him. She did not want to remember she tempted a Negro, and he turned away from her. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping.

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He likened Tom s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children. Tom Robinson only tried to help Mayella Ewell, he never thought of hurting her. Boo the mockingbird also symbolized Radley. Boo was isolated I his house for most of his life. He kept to himself and never bothered anyone. Mr. Finch, taking the one man who s done you and this town a great service an draggin him with his shy ways into the limelight- to me thats a sin. Boo had always stayed away from people.

Now that he saved Jem and Scout, people would be going to his house bringing him food. That would be awful for Boo because he does not like to be around people. Boo is like a mockingbird because he never bothered anyone. He did help by saving Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell. It is wrong to hurt something that has never done anything wrong. Just like it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, an innocent man, and a seclude person.

In ‘To Kill a Mockinbird’ by Harper Lee, I believe that the title of the novel was very significant. It is significant due to the fact that the word ‘Mockingbird was symbolic for the innocence, security and happiness in the novel. The Mockingbird is a symbol for innocence as it does not harm anyone. This is exposed in the novel when Scout is about to shoot the Mockingbird and Atticus halts him.

It is also a symbol for security and happiness. In the novel, when the mockingbird is singing everything is okay and everyone is happy. When it is not singing it is significant. The atmosphere is tense. Two examples of this from the novel are the rabid dog in the street (Part 1) and the court case (Part 2)

In the novel some of the characters are like mockingbirds. Tom Robinson was one of these characters as he was an innocent figure, he didn’t harm anyone and he didn’t hurt Mayella. Tom Robinson also brings in the theme of prejudice as he is black and he is treated differently to everyone else. Another character that is like a mockingbird was Boo Radley, he was also innocent, he didn’t harm anyone and he saved Scout & Jem near the end of the novel. Boo Radley also had to be protected like a Mockingbird (because he didn’t harm anyone).

The entire title in the novel means “To Destroy Innocence. At the end of the novel Scout realises that Tom Robinson is a ‘Mockingbird’ and she says “it’d be sort of like killing a mockingbird”.

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Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from

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