SparkNotes: To Kill a Mockingbird: Themes, Motifs & Symbols

Tags: Animal Totems | Bird Meanings

Which characters do you believe portray the symbol of the mockingbird? How?
Certain objects take on symbolic value in . That is, an object is used by the author as apart of the setting or narrative, yet that object points to or represents something outside itself. Of course, a central symbol is the mockingbird, described by Miss Maudie as a creature that should never be killed because it is harmless and even provides song for the enjoyment of others. Both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are basically blameless individuals who are at the mercy of society, yet society is cruel to Boo, and ultimately Tom is murdered. The symbol of the mockingbird also points to Scout, both as an innocent child and as the grown-up narrator, who "sings a song" in telling the story.
Which characters do you believe portray the symbol of the mockingbird? How?
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 the plot. Throughout the book many innocent people are hurt or destroyed by evil. Probably Atticus' most famous quote is 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird' pg 99. What Atticus meant by this statement was that mockingbirds aren't harmful at all, they only do one thing, sing their hearts out for people to enjoy and that is why it is a sin.
The symbol of the mockingbird is also used to link to two main plot elements in the novel, these are Boo Radley, who is not seen as a mockingbird until right at the end of the book and Tom Robinson which is a more obvious example. These people are innocents who have been hurt or destroyed by evil. Boo Radley, for example, was an innocent person who is kind to the children and helps them when they really need him. He is destroyed by evil as he is locked away in his house never to be seen again and had mean stories made up about him by the town folk. Boo Radley is even referred to as a mockingbird by Scout when she says 'Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?' pg 304. Tom Robinson however, is very badly treated when he is accused of something he hasn't done and is convicted, only because he is black, despite the fact there is no circumstantial evidence. These two characters are linked together as a mockingbird in three different ways, both are innocent, Boo of is evil persona and Tom of his crime, both are victims of prejudice, and both are kind, Boo to the children and Tom to Mayella.
The Mockingbird arises four times in the book. First when Atticus give Scout and Jem air guns for Christmas and tells them not to kill Mockingbirds pg 99. Second, when Mr. Underwood writes about Tom Robinson's death in his Newspaper pg 265. Third, a Mockingbird s... Symbol of the Mockingbird Society says all men are created equal, but it that really true?How does Lee use the symbol of the mockingbird to explore the issue of justiceSymbol of the Mockingbird Society says all men are created equal, but it that really true?