A mockingbird is a sort of bird which sings songs that are beautiful and pleasing to the world, but this bird never hurts anyone. It only makes beautiful music for everyone, never doing any harm. In the novel, the mockingbird serves as a symbol for the people who do good deeds and are hurt by people or society in some way or another. There are three characters in this novel that symbolize this peaceful, innocent, beautiful creature; these characters are Atticus, Tom Robinson, and Scout. The peace, tranquility, innocence, and role as a father make Atticus one of the most significant mockingbirds in this novel.Order now
Hostility has never been an issue for Atticus; he is always kind and loving to everyone. One example of this is his defense of Tom Robinson in court, even though he knew that he would lose. Atticus Finch’s overwhelming kindness is also expressed in his kindness to the Cunningham’s; accepting the youngest Cunningham for dinner and accepting crops and food goods as payment to debt owed by Mr. Cunningham.
Not all people in this cruel, unjust world will do such a thing as to accept crops as payment for a monetary debt; Atticus Finch is not an ordinary man. He is destroyed internally by the unjust verdict of Tom Robinson’s case; all of the evidence and arguments on Atticus’s part would have proven him innocent in a just court of law, but the guilty verdict shows racial slander and injustice solely on the colour of Tom’s skin. This loving, tranquil man is also hurt internally when Tom is shot seventeen times and killed trying to escape the prison; a more just consequence could have been administered rather than shooting him seventeen times. Without Atticus Finch in this novel, the obvious theme of racial prejudice would not be as effective.
Tom Robinson, through his actions, peacefulness, and innocence, is without a doubt one of the best representations of a mockingbird in this novel. He is always doing good deeds for everyone, never charging a cent.. Even after he chops up Mayella’s chiffarobe, he refuses to even take a nickel; he said his work was for free. Tom is one of the characters in the book with the best morals, yet he is killed unjustly: “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” Lee, p.94 ch 10. Tom Robinson quite possibly has the best morals of any other character in the book.
And even with those in modern society, when they are juxtaposed with Tom, their morals would seem horrible. He is nice, loving, considerate, and loyal to everyone in the town, no matter what they have done to him before. Even through his horrible and erroneous indictment, he still showed nothing but love and respect for everyone in the town. When Tom was slain, a transgression was committed by the prison guards. Tom was hurt by first being discriminatorily and unjustly convicted of raping Mayella Ewell, and secondly being shot at prison while trying to escape. Mr. Robinson did not merit this, nor would anyone else of his level of innocence.
Scout is conceivably the most innocent of all characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. Her innocence is best described at the beginning of the book: “”Your father does not know how to teach. You can have a seat now.” I mumbled that I was sorry and retired meditating upon my crime” Lee p. 5 ch. 1 This demonstrates that although the crime accused of was not a large one at all, she was still remorseful and apologetic. A large portion of her innocence is accounted by her age and upbringing; she is just a small girl, and she is raised by one of the most loving, considerate men in the whole town. Scout Finch is very polite and mindful to her father; she never seems to be much of a problem to him.
She is also very considerate of other people, as can be seen from her growing interest in the Tom Robinson case and through her devastation from the verdict. Scout Finch is not hurt by any person in particular, but by her own realization of how cruel the world really is and the constant injustice that lingers about, taken in as often as one would breathe. Scout is a mockingbird in its purest form; she never meaningfully hurts anyone, and she is of the utmost importance to the theme and emotional aspects and values of the novel.
The mockingbird truly is a very powerful symbol in the form used in this novel. “The mockingbird symbol in the novel acquires a profound moral significance. For, unlike the world of tender love and longing of Walt Whitman’s Alabama birds, Harper Lee’s Alabama presents a bleak picture of a narrow world torn by hatred , injustice, violence and cruelty, and we lament to see ‘what man has made of man’.” Dave, 245 It represents a person who is full of peacefulness, innocence, and tranquility yet is still slowly but steadily torn apart piece by piece by the unrelenting injustice and cruelty of society. Atticus, Scout, Tom Robinson, and many others provide examples of this; they are victims to the cruel world they are forced to live in and cannot escape.