The Significance of the Title to Kill a Mockingbird

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The title To Kill a Mockingbird is very significant to the novel as it portrays many forms of mockingbirds throughout it. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are the true Mockingbirds of the story. They both are innocent from the accusations claimed upon them. When choosing the title of the novel, Harper Lee had to make sure it stood out but also was relevant to the story. To Kill a Mockingbird shows the readers an unusual and interesting title that stirs their interest. Also that throughout the story it will symbolise something of importance.

The readers are lead to believe that the phrase ‘to kill a mockingbird’ is a sin. Mockingbirds symbolise innocence and they never do anything to harm anyone or anything. They are simply songbirds that give everyone pleasure by singing their hearts out. Quoted from Atticus, a fictional character in the novel, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ” The blue jays symbolise the ‘bad guys’ of the novel such as Mr Bob Ewell who are guilty and on the wrong side of the law, but are not caught or charged for the crimes they have committed.

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The mockingbird symbolise the ‘good guys’ who are harmed by others although they have never actually harmed anyone. They are innocent and blameless such as Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. If the quote is reworded it can be interpreted as this; “Gaol all the guilty men you want, if you can catch them, but remember it’s a sin to harm an innocent man. ” This statement I believe is the message of the entire novel and that is why the title To Kill a Mockingbird is very significant. The novel is split into two sections.

The first section is mainly directed towards the children’s neighbour, Arthur (Boo) Radley. The other is focused on Atticus’ court case of defending a Negro man, Tom Robinson. Boo Radley has become known as the town spook over time and stories of him have made Maycomb County afraid him. The title of the novel is significant for this section as Boo Radley is a mockingbird. He is innocent of all of the claims and stories made up about him. He is robbed of friendship and trust with the entire town and is hurt by the cruel remarks made by the townsfolk.

He had never done anything to harm anyone or anything in his lifetime; instead he strove to help people whenever he could, but tried to help them as best he could without being seen or noticed. One cold night when Scout Finch was standing frozen cold outside the Radley house, Boo secretly slipped a blanket over Scout’s shoulders to give her warmth. He also gave the two children, Jem and Scout, a few presents in a knot hole of a tree to show his compassion and warm heart. He even helped to protect the two children when Bob Ewell tried to murder them both. These examples show his innocence and that he is obviously not a monster.

Scout comes to realise that he has inner goodness that must be cherished, alike a mockingbird. The town had committed a sin by harming him from the cruel things they had made up about him. And it was a sin when Tom Robinson, an innocent man, was killed when it came to his turn in the novel. The second section of the novel shows that Atticus Finch defended Tom Robinson, a black, Negro man charged of the rape of a white girl. Tom was known as a respectable, reliable and hard-working man. He had never shown disrespect of any kind to anyone and until this point, he was known as an innocent man.

The title is linked to Tom Robinson because although many knew he was an innocent man, they were still willing to lynch him because they would rather commit a sin of killing an innocent black man, then to go against a fellow white man. The points Atticus stated in the court case clearly showed that Tom Robinson was innocent of all charge. However, this did not win the jury over because he was charged guilty, and then killed. When Tom dies, it symbolises the death of a mockingbird; the loss of innocence. This section shows racial injustice and symbolises the struggle a mockingbird has in its daily fight for survival.

This statement also refers to black people in general in To Kill a Mockingbird. I believe black people of the 1930’s were known as happy people that sang and danced. They were once used as slaves and many white folk in the novel still believed they didn’t deserve the right to become a part of the normal white society. Just because of the black person’s skin colour, the white people would gather in groups and lynch them and people would show their disgust and disrespect towards them, and so Negro’s are also mockingbirds of the story.

They were innocent of harming a white person, yet they were mentally and physically harmed by white people. In the story Atticus’ sister, Alexandra, was at first racist and showed inequality towards Calpurnia. Even though Calpurnia was an innocent respectful lady who had never personally done anything to offend Alexandra, Alexandra was willing to fire her because she was putting a black influence on the children. In this situation, Calpurnia was even a mockingbird. In conclusion, To Kill a Mockingbird is a very significant title as the novel portrays so many examples of mockingbirds in it.

Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, Calpurnia and other Negro’s are all mockingbirds of the story. They are all innocent people who have never done or tried anything to harm anyone or anything, but are harmed or killed by others. The title shows the readers that it will symbolise something of great importance in the novel, and it clearly does. If the novel was titled anything else such as ‘Atticus’, it simply wouldn’t hold as much meaning and significance as it presently does.

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The Significance of the Title to Kill a Mockingbird. (2017, Feb 20). Retrieved from

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