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To Kill A Mockingbird

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Introduction

Write about the ways that Lee shows the significance of the title in 'To Kill A Mockingbird' In part one of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' (Mockingbird) Atticus tells Jem and Scout that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." The word "sin" suggests that it's a crime against God and alerts the reader to the importance of what Atticus is saying. It is Miss Maudie's further explanation, however, which enables us to link the mockingbird motif to 2 characters in the novel. According to Miss Maudie, mockingbirds "don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us." They simply make beautiful music for people to enjoy. They are innocent of wrongdoing (such as eating "up people's gardens"). Reading on through the novel, it therefore becomes obvious that the mockingbird is used asan analogy for Tom Robinson and for Boo Radley. Tom Robinson is a victim of racial prejudice; he ends up in court, fighting for his life, because he is accused of rape by Mayella Ewell. ...read more.

Middle

You, sorry and her are printed in italics to show that Mr Gilmer wants the jury to be outraged. He also uses simple clauses to get his message home. And succeeds. Lee writes "Below us, nobody liked Tom Robinson's answer." "Nobody" is used to show that the jury and the onlookers are united and horrified by Tom daring to feel sorry for a white woman. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Tom is found guilty. The verdict is clearly foreshadowed, however, by Scout's reaction whilst waiting for the jury to return. She likens the atmosphere to "a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds were still." The reader remembers the incident of the mad dog, carefully placed before the trial in order to foreshadow later events. The dog is an analogy for racism; it is life-threatening because it is maddened by a disease which attacks the brain. Like prejudice. It is only Atticus who can stand up to this danger and try to end it. ...read more.

Conclusion

In particular, on the night when Boo saves their lives, she emphasises that "a solitary mocker poured out his repertoire" in the Radley tree. "Solitary" mimics Boo's isolation but the song foreshadows how he will save them. Because Bob Ewell attacks and tries to kill the children, Boo kills him but the Sheriff, Heck Tate, refuses to charge Boo, saying "that's a sin. It would be a sin..." The repetition of "sin" shows the passion of his feelings but also reminds us that it's "a sin to kill a mockingbird." Even Scout acknowledges that arresting Boo would be "sort of like shootin' a mockingbird." Here, the mockingbird also becomes a symbol for law and justice. Tom was unjustly found guilty and unjustly shot. However, Boo receives justice; he killed Ewell to save the children. In 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Harper Lee uses the mockingbird to symbolise how innocent people can be destroyed by prejudice. However, it can also be seen as a sign of hope; that sometimes justice is done. ...read more.

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