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The levels of meaning that can be interpreted from the title of To Kill a Mockingbird

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Introduction

To Kill a Mockingbird has many elements that correlate with the title of the novel. Lee never states explicitly what the meaning of the novel is, and because of this we can interpret the title's significance in many different ways. One possible meaning we can interpret from the text is that the quiet, good, free-spirited character Tom Robinson is directly connected with the mockingbird. The mockingbird does not only stand for Tom Robinson, it also stands for the lost innocence of childhood and the absence of freedom that racial prejudice against black people creates. One possible meaning we can interpret from the title is that the mockingbird represents one who does not hurt anyone, in fact does nothing but "sings their heart out to us". ...read more.

Middle

The unanimous decision to incarcerate Tom Robinson, regardless of the evidence, was witnessed by Scout and Jem. It went against all their principles of fairness they had been taught and destroyed their view of the world as a fair and just place, making them another symbolic mockingbird. The significance of the mockingbird's symbology of freedom of spirit can also be closely associated with the racial prejudice presented throughout the novel. The blacks are denied the fundamental right of human beings, the right to live without persecution. If it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, it's a sin to deny the rights of people to just be. It is not lost on the reader that the trial of Tom Robinson is a mockery - loosely linking with the word in the title. ...read more.

Conclusion

"They could never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live." Various different meanings can be interpreted from the title To Kill a Mockingbird. The most literal situation in the text, much alike the title, is the destroying of a good, free-spirited man. As well as this, the racial segregation throughout the novel and the destruction of childhood innocence are the major themes in To Kill a Mocking Bird which are enhanced by the title. When the other supporting themes of religion and injustice are included, the title can be seen to draw instinctive reactions from the reader against the fate that Tom Robinson met. Harper Lee feels strongly against racism, and the title definitely guides the reader to feel negatively about the death of the mockingbird - Tom Robinson. ...read more.

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