• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what sense are Tom Robinson and Arthur (Boo) Radley considered to be "mockingbird" figures in the novel?

Extracts from this document...


Maria Lyon In what sense are Tom Robinson and Arthur (Boo) Radley considered to be "mockingbird" figures in the novel? The novel 'To Kill A Mocking Bird' by Harper Lee is set in a town called Maycomb in Alabama in the 1930's. Maycomb County is a small community that's been isolated in the years following the Civil War. The society is clearly defined and divided into four groups, Old Southern Aristocracy, poor but honest country folk, poor white trash and the black community. These groups are set like a hierarchy each one is below the other. As well as these groups each individual in the town usually belongs to a club within their own social group. The rich white ladies have their Missionary Circle; the old men who sit around the courthouse square have their Idlers Club and the black people have their own church. Like most small southern towns at this time, Maycomb has a problem with widespread racism toward Negroes. There are only two significant outsiders in the novel: Dill who is not a full time Maycomb resident but becomes almost a member of the Finch family during his summer vacations, and Mr. Raymond who belongs by birth to the rich white group but prefers to live with the black. He is a very sensitive man who hates the society which makes blacks and whites live separately and hates the "hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too". He is the only character in the novel who has crossed the strict class and racial boundaries in Maycomb society. This novel has a wide range of lively characters but focuses mainly on one family, the Finches. There are three people in the family Atticus, Jem and Scout. ...read more.


Ewell. A mystery man came in and started to stop him. When the fight had ended someone grabbed Jem and brought him into the house and Atticus ran over to get Scout who was dressed as a ham. Heck Tate who is the sheriff of Maycomb came over and informed them that Mr. Ewell had been killed by his own knife. It turned out to be Boo Radley who saved the children by fighting off Mr. Ewell. The man who they thought ate squirrels and cats raw turned out to be a misunderstood guy who preferred to be inside then to face the world outside. Mr Tate realizes that if all the residents of Maycomb found out about Boo saving Scout and Jem's life they all would be round giving him presents and that would not be right '...taking the one man who's done you and this town a great service an' draggin' him with his shy ways into the limelight- to me that's a sin. It's a sin and I'm not about to have it on my head. If it was any other man it would be different. But not this man...' This is an important quote as Mr Tate knows that it would be like killing a mockingbird as he would be taking a shy man out into the limelight to a load of people praising him for what he had done, Boo would not want that. If it hadn't of been for Boo, the children would never have made it home that night. This shows that Boo is like a Mockingbird, he doesn't do any wrong at all, and just watches over the children to see they are safe and bring them nice things. ...read more.


They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over...they fired a few shots in the air, then to kill...seventeen bullet holes in him.' In both Tom Robinson's and Boo Radley's cases it was like shooting a mockingbird. So, by judging them, it was like killing them, and in Tom Robinson's case it did result in his death. The white jury knew that Bob Ewell had beaten his daughter Mayaella Ewell and that Tom was innocent .But because a human being had a different colour skin it is assumed they would be guilty without question so truth was never a factor. The American Courts of the 1930's were also hypocritical. Truth and Justice were held as the most basic right for Americans. Truth in the Tom Robinson case was never a factor. There were alot of problems with widespread racism toward Negroes in the 1930's. Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson were treated very badly at first but through the course of time people realize they aren't as bad as they thought they were. Sadly though it was too late for Tom Robinson as he was killed trying to escape. We see that A mocking bird is innocent and Tom Robinson and Boo Radley were just that. The way people treated them was a sin just like killing a mockingbird. Black people were treated in the Deep South in the 1930's extremely unfairly. One of the most important quotes that relates to all of the themes is "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point-of-view -until you climb into his skin and walk around in it," This is said by Atticus and it is very true as you cannot judge people by what they say or do unless you actually can walk around as them because everyone has reasons for their actions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Harper Lee section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Harper Lee essays

  1. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of ...

    Symbolically, during Tom Robinson's trial Jem and Scout sit upstairs in the black balcony. Later on in the novel Scout's teacher, Miss Gates, teaches her class about the horror of the persecution of the Jews. However, Scout comments on Miss Gates as she comes out of the courthouse and makes racist remarks about black people.

  2. To kill a mocking bird - Chapter 14 Summary onwards.

    that maybe Boo needs a good home to run to (Dill's theory) or maybe he prefers to stay out of contact with people (Jem's theory). Scout's dream of finally getting to talk to Boo shows her disposition to make him feel at home, and to show him that people might not be so bad.

  1. Mr Dolphus Raymond tells Scout, "Your pa's not a run of the mill man."How ...

    Atticus mentions this twice in the novel, once in chapter 9 and again in chapter 11. 'It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.' This shows Atticus defended anybody, even if there was no chance of them winning.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird. In this essay, one will analyse the character of ...

    as he is described, but rather a misunderstood man who is being abused by his gossiping and pestering neighbours. This also creates a sympathy towards him turning him from an unknown entity to human being. One also gains the trust of Boo in the episode where Miss Maudie's house is burnt to the ground.

  1. Discuss the importance of Boo Radley in relation to the themes and plot of ...

    have very good jobs and are very dirty and messy and live like animals. A character who runs her life according to these classes is Scout's Aunt Alexandra. She considers the Cunningham's to be of a lower class than the Finches, she says, "You can scrub Walter Cunningham until he

  2. robinson guilty

    Whatever was held in the secret chambers of the men's hearts o the jury we will never tell only God Knows. Still it remains; Tom Robinson a 'guilty' man waiting for his death with only the chance of acquittal...

  1. Another person who is represented by a mockingbird is Boo Radley

    where racial prejudice and ignorance are the symbol of evils in the society. Tom Robinson, an African-American is accused by Mayela, a white woman, of sexual molestation. Atticus, a prominent lawyer of the town Maycomb, has proved that Tom Robinson is innocent but still the "all-white jury" convicts Robinson of the guilt.

  2. How Does the Writer Use the Trial of Tom Robinson to Bring Out the ...

    The town commits the ultimate sin by finding him guilty and sentencing him to death. In effect, they have killed a mockingbird. An example of Scout?s innocence is when she talks the lynch mob into leaving just by being friendly to Mr Cunningham.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work