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To kill a mockingbird essay symbolism

To kill a mockingbird essay symbolism

To Kill a Mockingbird explores the questions of innocence and harsh experience, good and evil, from several different angles. Tom Robinson’s trial explores these. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern. Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements / paper topics on “To Kill a Mockingbird” that can be used as essay starters. All five incorporate at least. Harper Lee (born 1926) is considered by many to be a literary icon. Her controversial novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961.Nelle Harper Lee was. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes. (Click the symbolism infographic to download.) The title of the book is To Kill a Mockingbird, so we're thinking that mockingbirds must be important. table of contents. film study guide for to kill a mockingbird seeing the film through the lens of media literacy The afflicted dog in To Kill A Mockingbird is a representation of larger and more abstract approaching danger. The dog starts at the end of the Finch's long street. Category: Kill Mockingbird essays; Title: To Kill A Mockingbird Essay: Use of Symbols and Symbolism Category: Kill Mockingbird essays; Title: Symbols and Symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird - Symbols, Themes and Characters.

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Symbolism In To Kill A Mocking Bird - Free Essays

Symbolism In To Kill A Mocking Bird

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Autor: anton • July 8, 2011 • 1,574 Words (7 Pages) • 730 Views

A mockingbird is a harmless bird that makes the world more pleasant. In To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the mockingbird symbolizes Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, who were both peaceful people who never did any harm. To kill or harm them would be a sin. Scout's father, Atticus, tells Scout and Jem, "I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."(p.69)

The mockingbird symbolizes these two characters because it does not have its own song. Whereas, the blue jay is loud and obnoxious, the mockingbird only sings other birds' songs. Therefore, the mockingbird is seen through the other birds. The people of Maycomb only knew Boo Radley and Tom Robinson by what others said about them. Both of these characters do not really have their own "song" in a sense, and therefore, are characterized by other people's viewpoints.

Boo Radley went through his life never wanting to hurt a fly. He left gum, pennies, and wax dolls for Scout and Jem. He sewed Jem's pants and left them on the fence so he could get them easily. He also saved Scout's and Jem's lives while risking his own. Boo was a fragile and gentle person. Throughout the novel, Scout, Jem, and Dill are curious about the "mysterious" Boo Radley because he never comes outside from his house or associates with anyone in the neighborhood. The children are afraid of him because of all the stories they hear about him from the people in Maycomb. For example, Miss Stephanie tells the children that while Boo was sitting in the living room cutting a magazine, he "drove the scissors into his parent's leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities." (p.11) After hearing stories like these, the children consider him to be evil.

Gradually they assume more about Boo because he never plays outside or with anyone, and therefore, the children are not convinced otherwise. Boo Radley becomes a game for the children and they act out Boo Radley scenarios that they believed to be true. These stories were based on the gossip that trails through their neighborhood. In reality, no one knew anything about Boo Radley. He stayed inside of his house and remained reclusive in Maycomb County. At the end of the book, Scout finally meets Boo Radley after he helps her and Jem escape Mr. Ewell. She finds that her beliefs about him are not true. Essentially, she finds the songs that the neighbors were "putting into his mouth" were not true.

Chopping wood and doing whatever he could for Mayella Ewell was Tom Robinson's only crime. Just like Boo Radley, Tom never harmed a soul. He risked his own safety by helping Mayella, and he did it because someone needed him. It was like a mockingbird being shot down when Robinson was accused of raping Mayella. To the people of Maycomb County, Tom Robinson is just a "sorry negro", who committed an unthinkable crime. Tom represents the black race in American society at that time and was a victim of racism.

Like Boo Radley, Tom Robinson is characterized by what the people of Maycomb County say about him. After being accused of rape, most of the people see him as an evil beast. During the trial while Bob Ewell testifies, he points to Tom Robinson and says, "I seen that black negro yonder ruttin' on my Mayella." (p.73) According to Mr. Ewell, Tom Robinson is an animal who tormented and violated his daughter. Throughout the trial, Tom is portrayed in this manner because of the racist mentality of the people in Maycomb. Even though there is a sufficient amount of proof which shows he did not commit the crime, Tom is a black man who will be denied justice. Atticus reinforces this idea when he tells Jem, "in our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins." (p.220) Generally, this was the mentality of most Americans at the time.

Black people did not have their own song, other people sang their songs based on beliefs about them. Like Boo Radley, people only knew Tom Robinson through what others said about him. In the book, Boo Radley is a micro version of Tom Robinson. Boo is the outcast of the neighborhood, but at the time, Tom was the outcast of the society. Throughout the trial, Scout and Jem believe in Tom Robinson's innocence. They see him for who they believe he is, and do not know enough about racism to be part of it. They did not believe the trial was fair because they believed there was evidence in Tom Robinson's favor. At the end of the book, however, Scout realizes the same about Boo Radley. When she finally meets him, she sees how unfair she had been to him. In actuality, Boo contradicts everything that the children believed about him. The fact that no one realized the unfair treatment of Tom Robinson made his death that much more tragic.

Harper Lee uses the mockingbird to symbolize Tom and Boo. When Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it is a sin to kill the mockingbird, this refers to the actions directed toward Tom and Boo. It was a sin to dislike Tom and Boo based on what others say about them. They were punished by the people in Maycomb because they did not have their own voice. There are many people without their own voice in our society. As it is a sin to

Why the story is titled To Kill a Mockinbird?

Why the story is titled To Kill a Mockinbird?

Answered by jill d #170087 on 4/11/2012 7:10 PM

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The title of the book is To Kill a Mockingbird, so mockingbirds must be important, right? But why? Let’s look at a few passages to try to figure out some answers to that question.

Mockingbirds first appear when Jem and Scout are learning how to use their shiny new air rifles. Atticus won’t teach them how to shoot, but he does give them one rule to follow.

Atticus said to Jem one day, "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

"Your father's right," she said. "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." (10.7)

So, mockingbirds are harmless, innocent creatures, and killing them is wrong, because they don’t hurt anyone. (The same could be said for cows, but hamburgers are so tasty, while mockingbirds presumably aren’t.) But is this lesson so important in itself that it’s worth putting it front and center on the cover of the book? There must be more going on here.

Mr. Underwood’s editorial after the death of Tom Robinson doesn’t mention mockingbirds by name, but it does have a similar message.

Mr. Underwood didn't talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom's death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children, and Maycomb thought he was trying to write an editorial poetical enough to be reprinted in The Montgomery Advertiser. (25.27)

Mr. Underwood may be trying to get through to even the stupidest residents of Maycomb, but his editorial also makes sure that every reader gets the connection: the mockingbird and Tom are in the same class of beings. But what’s the reason for bringing the bird and the man together? Mr. Underwood says it’s because of Tom’s disability, though it’s unclear why he thinks that makes a difference (perhaps it’s along the lines of "women and children first": those thought to be weak should receive special protection). Perhaps Tom’s innocence of the crime he’s accused of makes him similar to the mockingbird who does no harm to anyone. Or perhaps it’s the senselessness that’s really key: killing Tom brought about no good and prevented no evil, just like shooting a mockingbird.

The idea of killing a mockingbird turns up once more in the book, when Scout is telling Atticus she understands about not dragging Boo into court.

Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him and kissed him with all my might. "Yes sir, I understand," I reassured him. "Mr. Tate was right."

Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. "What do you mean?"

"Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?" (30.66-68)

Stories of poisoned pecans aside, all Boo does is watch the neighborhood, leave trinkets for Jem and Scout, and act to protect them when they’re attacked. Like killing a mockingbird, arresting Boo would serve no useful purpose, and harm someone who never meant anyone any harm. So over the course of the novel, killing mockingbirds is associated with the sinful, the pointless, and the cruel.

What’s the effect of using the mockingbird in this way? On the one hand, linking particular characters to mockingbirds reduces them to the level of animals; on the other, it says that even animals are worthy of sympathy and the respect of being left alone if they’re doing the same to you. By making killing mockingbirds a clear-cut case of wanton destruction, the book creates a rule for judging more complicated situations: bringing in the mockingbird is a prompt to take a step back from knee-jerk reactions (escaped convicts must be shot! murderers must be arrested!) and ask, what benefit is there? Why do this? What does it accomplish?


Answered by jill d #170087 on 4/11/2012 7:11 PM

What’s Up With the Title?

The title of To Kill a Mockingbird comes from something both Atticus and Miss Maudie tell Jem and Scout: “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (10.7, 10.9). There’s more on mockingbirds as a symbol in “Symbols, Imagery, Allegory,” but why make this phrase the title?

And why isn’t the book called It’s a Sin To Kill a Mockingbird? That would make the meaning clearer, right? Or


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to kill a mockingbird symbolism essay

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SOURCE Smykowski, Adam. “Symbolism and Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird.” In Readings on “To Kill a Mockingbird,” edited by Terry O'Neill, pp. 52-6.

In this story the author uses the Mockingbird as a symbol for innocence. The title seems to have very little to do with the actual book but it is highly symbolic to.

Thematic Photo essay on Mockingbirds. Miss Maudie explains to her, and the mockingbird symbolism is apparent throughout the rest of the.

To Kill a Mockingbird Critical Essay by Adam Smykowski.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird Essay | Essay To Kill a Mockingbird - Symbolism

Summary: The symbolism in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird reveals the citizens of Maycomb in terms of their prejudice, their fears, and their acts of dishonesty. The snowman, the fire in Miss Maudie Atkinson's house, and the mockingbird are all examples of symbolism in the story.

To Kill a Mockingbird

According to, symbolism is the practice of representing things by

means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or

relationships. In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, a person who shows symbolism is Atticus Finch. An object or place that shows symbolism would be the tree outside of the Radley's house.

Atticus Finch shows symbolism because he is seen as a hero when he kills the rabid

dog. Atticus is a father in that he shows love to his children. He is probably the only lawyer in Maycomb that would represent a black man. Atticus always tells his children that

shooting a mockingbird is a sin because they don't do any harm. They are innocent creatures that make music.

The snowman, the fire in Miss Maudie Atkinson's house, and the mockingbird are all examples of symbolism. The.

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Реферат: Symbolism To Kill A Mockingbird Essay Research

Symbolism- To Kill A Mockingbird Essay, Research Paper

To Kill A Mockingbird

“I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want. if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” This is what Atticus Finch tells his children after they are given air-rifles for Christmas. Uniquely, the title of the classic novel by Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, was taken from this passage. At first glance, one may wonder why Harper Lee decided to name her book after what seems to be a rather insignificant excerpt. After careful study, however, one begins to see that this is just another example of symbolism in the novel. Harper Lee uses symbolism rather extensively throughout this story, and much of it refers to the problems of racism in the South during the early twentieth century. Harper Lee’s effective use of racial symbolism can be seen by studying various examples from the book. This includes the actions of the children, the racist whites, and the actions of Atticus Finch.

The actions of the children in this novel certainly do have their share of symbolism. For instance, the building of a snowman by Jem and Scout one winter is very symbolic. There was not enough snow to make a snowman entirely out of snow, so Jem made a foundation out of dirt, and then covered it with what snow they had. One could interpret this in two different ways. First of all, the creation of the snowman by Jem can be seen as being symbolic of Jem trying to cover up the black man and showing that he is the same as the white man, that all human beings are virtually the same. Approval of these views is shown by Atticus when he tells Jem, “I didn’t know how you were going to do it, but from now on I’ll never worry about what’ll become of you, son, you’ll always have an idea.” The fire that night that engulfed Miss Maudie Atkinson’s house can be seen as the prejudice of Maycomb County, as the fire melted the snow from the snowman, and left nothing but a clump of mud. The fire depicts the prejudice people of the county saying that blacks and whites are, certainly, not the same. Another way of looking at the symbolism of the snowman would be to say that Jem’s combination of mud and snow signifies miscegenation, marriage or sexual relations between persons of different races. The fire at Miss Maudie Atkinson’s could, once again, be seen as the prejudice of Maycomb County showing that the mixed child is, in fact, no better than a pure black child, and that the two are, actually, one and the same. Jem and Scout’s encounters with Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose are also filled with symbolism. Mrs. Dubose and her insults, which included, “Your father’s no better than the niggers and trash he works for!” not only show us her own views, but they also represent the views of the rest of Maycomb County. As they were going by the house later that day Jem snatched Scout’s baton and “ran flailing wildly up the steps into Mrs. Dubose’s front yard…He did not begin to calm down until he had cut the tops off every camellia bush Mrs. Dubose owned.” Since camellia flowers are white, their destruction could exemplify Jem trying to destroy the ways of the prejudice white people of Maycomb County. Later, Atticus forces Jem to nurse the plants back to health, and read to Mrs. Dubose. Now, Jem’s nursing of the flowers signify his courage, and how he nurses his courage, so he will be able to tolerate what others say about him and his family. The children visiting and reading to Mrs. Dubose is symbolic of their aims to change the racist ways of Maycomb. The actions of the children do, indeed, symbolize various themes in the racist South.

The behavior of the prejudice white people of Maycomb County is greatly expressive, as well. For example, the red geraniums that Mayella Ewell kept in her yard are very illustrative. These flowers represent “Southern white womanhood.” The fence that surrounds the Ewells property is symbolic of the fear and racism of the Southern whites that tries to protect this womanhood. The purity of the womanhood is being protected from miscegenation, from the black man. As the black quarters lie just beyond the Ewell’s house, the entire scene (the flowers, the fence, and the quarters) represents the fear of miscegenation as the threat from the black man is ever-present, and very near. In fact, a sort of miscegenation does occur, as Mayella Ewell makes advances toward Tom Robinson. Her advances startle Bob Ewell and bring about his greatest fear, as he is willing to end an innocent man’s life because of it. There is also much racist symbolism used in the court case of Tom Robinson. Bob Ewell stands up and exclaims, “I seen that black nigger yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!” This obscene language, specifically the use of “ruttin’”, makes Tom Robinson and black men seem like animals, giving black men a beastial, non-human quality. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor, adds to this racist symbolism as he cross examines the witness, Tom Robinson. Mr. Gilmer gives Tom Robinson no respect during his cross examination. He continually calls Tom “boy,” which is racist when referring to a black man. He also adds to the non-human, bestial representation of Tom Robinson by referring to him as a “big buck.” Racist symbolism is mixed with bitter irony during one of Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle meetings, as Mrs. Grace Merriweather talks about the Mrunas in Africa. She tells about how they live in “poverty and darkness,” with no one but J. Grimes Everett to help them. The Mrunas in Africa actually represent how the blacks live poorly in their quarters in Maycomb. The bitter irony is that the ladies feel sorry for, and are so willing to help the Mrunas, that they overlook the problem at home, and even criticize their own black cooks and servants. After the Tom Robinson trial is over, Aunt Alexandra tells Atticus that he shouldn’t have let the children watch the trial, and Atticus retorts, “they might as well learn to cope with it…It’s as much Maycomb County as missionary teas.” Atticus symbolically refers to the missionary teas as being just as racist as the trial. Racism does appear in the everyday lives of the narrow minded people of Maycomb County.

Finally, the actions of Atticus Finch are also symbolic of themes in the prejudice South. It may not seem so at first, but the shooting of the rabid dog by Atticus was, indeed, greatly illustrative. Here the rabid dog, Tim Johnson, represents prejudice, and how, like a rabid dog, it spreads its disease throughout the South. Atticus Finch is seen as the hero, the avenger, as he kills racism and prejudice, not allowing it to spread itself any further. Realistically, Atticus was unable to dig out the deeply rooted prejudice of Maycomb county. Scout says the trial “was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.” Throughout the novel, Atticus Finch personifies justice, and acts rationally as the voice of reason. Thus, we are, finally, brings us back to the title of the story, To Kill A Mockingbird, as Atticus says, “I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Bluejays are viewed as the bullies of the bird world. They are very loud, territorial, and aggressive. The bluejays represent the prejudice “bullies” of Maycomb County, such as, Bob Ewell. Mockingbirds are innocent, and all they do is sing beautiful songs. They would not harm anyone. Killing a mockingbird was the only thing Atticus had ever told his children was a sin. He also told them, later in the novel, that “As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” What Atticus tells the children is similar to what he said about killing mockingbirds. Therefore, the mockingbird symbolizes Tom Robinson, and underprivileged black people in general. They are innocent, and would never harm anyone. The mockingbird also symbolizes Boo Radley, since he is innocent, and would never harm anyone. He just stays inside because he does not want to face the corrupt and prejudice world outside. Atticus does, indeed, represent a hero in this novel. He is rational and impartial, in a world that is senseless, emotional, and prejudice.

Symbolism is, indeed, used extensively by Harper Lee in her timeless classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. The symbolism reveals the prejudice and narrow-mindedness of the common citizens of Maycomb County, the fears they have, and all of the immoral things they do. It also reveals an attempt to rid Maycomb of these feelings, by a hero figure, a model to the community – Atticus Finch, as well as his two children, who will surely follow in his footsteps. It is, in fact, symbolism that makes this novel so rich and pertinent. Therefore, it is rather fitting that Harper Lee ends her book with a very representative and summarizing ending, as Atticus Finch reads the story, The Gray Ghost, to Scout by Jem’s bed. Before she falls asleep Scout describes the story, which happened to be about someone who was falsely accused of doing something that he had not done, just like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley were. Scout has, certainly, learned a great deal. To Kill A Mockingbird was an influential novel at the time it was written. However, it remains just as important, influential, and, certainly, as symbolic today as when it was first written.

Symbolism For Jem In To Kill A Mocking Bird at

The character represented in this collage is Jem Finch. I chose Jem because he is the most influential character in the book, apart from Scout. Jem is really the hero of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' as he is loyal and takes the most responsibility. Jem's personality has three strong traits. He is coolheaded, kind, but has a dormant violent side to him.

In the background of this collage there are three colours – blue, red and yellow. The colours represent different aspects of Jem's personality. The blue represents a cool head. Jem does not react to people calling him names. He also patient with Scout. The yellow symbolises Jem's kindness and leadership. Throughout the book Jem is well mannered, kind, charitable and a good decision maker. The red symbolises Jem's dormant violence. On page 114, after being repeatedly abused by Mrs. Dubose, Jem destroys her white camellias. Jem also enjoys shooting.

On this collage one will notice that there is a jagged red triangle (to represent violence), a blue triangle (to represent a peaceful nature) and a yellow triangle which is almost buried (yellow represents kindness and leadership.). Around the triangle there are many images. The images relate to the symbolism of the particular triangle it's orbiting. The equilateral triangles symbolise Jem's balanced nature. They also represent Jem's tolerance – he treats all people equally, regardless of colour.

Around the red triangle there is a camellia with a black cross through it, a white man on a bluejay's body, a shotgun, a black man on a mockingbird's body and a tree being struck by lightning. The shotgun, the negro on a mockingbird's body and the white man on the bluejay's body represents what Atticus and Miss Maudie said to Jem on page 99 and 100. On page 99 Atticus says,

"Shoot all the bluejays.

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