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

To Kill a Mockingbird - The Death of Innocence. There are several characters whose innocence is damaged or shattered in the story. The most tragic example is that of Boo Radley.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To Kill A Mockingbird: The Death of Innocence Harper Lee uses the mockingbird theme with both Boo Radley and Tom Robinson as examples and with fears and superstitions attacked to the mockingbird and both characters. A mockingbird is defined as long-tailed grey-and-white songbird of the southern United States who is able to mimic songs of other birds. They give the book its title and are an important recurring theme in the novel, although nobody in the story ever kills a mockingbird or gives tips on how do to it, like the title implies. The mockingbird represents several characters in the story and it stands for the innocence they used to have. To kill the mockingbird epitomizes the idea of destroying a person's innocence. Mockingbirds are pretty, chirpy birds and all they do is sing. They never harm anybody and only give others the gift of their enjoyable music and expect nothing in return. That is why killing them is a sin. Atticus teaches Jem to not shoot at mockingbirds with his gun and this is the only time the phrase is used literally, 'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird'. ...read more.

Middle

Boo Radley's purity was destroyed by his father. Tom's innocence was probably shattered long before the plot of the book, considering he was a black man, a slave, and accustomed to the abuse from white people. However, he is nevertheless used as a metaphorical mockingbird, for Bob Ewell was a complete monster that completely ruined his life, even though Tom only served him and his family. Ewell condemned him, an innocent man, to death to try and avoid the shame of his daughter's sexual advances towards a black man and of the beating he gave his daughter after he walked in on said advances made public because he knows that Maycomb County's racist population will play along. And later, after he is publicly humiliated in the wake of Tom Robinson's trial, he lashes out at those involved with the trial, and among other things sexually harasses Tom's recently widowed wife, breaks into the judge's house with the implied intention of lying in wait to ambush him, and attempts to slit Scout and Jem's throats with a switchblade as they walk home from a school play. ...read more.

Conclusion

In reality, he is simply jaded by the hypocrisy of white society and prefers living among blacks. Even among elder characters, the loss of innocence is an important subject. Boo Radley is the embodiment of the title of the book, for he was a gentle man who gave without expecting favors in return, and yet he was 'killed' by his father. For Jem, it marked his growth into adulthood by his recognition that the world was not as fair as he had always thought it had been. Mr. Raymond, although barely seen, is a perfect example of how the society can corrupt a person, to the point of destroying his faith in humanity, or his innocence. The innocence of Tom Robinson was not wrecked in the same way that it was for the other characters, and neither was it the same kind of innocence the other characters dealt with. The way Ewell continuously tried to convict a man who always served him and who was innocent of all the charges he was accused of is a clear example on how his innocence was also destroyed. Words: 910 Casey Lindgreen Year 11E 03.05.10 1 ...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. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Radley, but Jem insists - he says he's never been whipped by Atticus and doesn't want to be. Jem is gone for a little while, but he returns with the pants, trembling. Analysis The children come ever closer to bridging the distance between themselves and Boo.

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

    Because of this social prejudice she or any of the Finches shouldn't mingle with the Cunningham's. Another victim of social prejudice is Boo Radley he is a social outcast in the eyes of the town's people of Maycomb. People do not know anything about Boo so they assumed he was bad.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird

    lifestyle which may not be their real lifestyles, as herself for example did have a respectable job. For this reason, the prejudice towards gender existing in the novel will then be considered a depressing element as it shows how women were a type of second class citizens, dependant on males.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    This portrays them as inhumane life forms who mercilessly picnic and get amusement out of the suffering of an innocent person. Harper Lee portrays their behaviour to show how savage and horrible small towns could be towards black people in America at this time.

  1. In what sense are Tom Robinson and Arthur (Boo) Radley considered to be "mockingbird" ...

    were blood stained...there was a long jagged scar that ran across his face...his eyes popped and he drooled most of the time' This is the description of Boo Jem gives Scout and Dill . In fact, Boo stands as a figure of innocence who protects the children in his own way.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    This quote shows Atticus' righteousness and goodness by comparing him to the "bad guys" of Maycomb. "Atticus said to Jem one day, 'I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds.

  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. A Study of Cultures in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

    Atticus was very respectful towards her, and throughout the book he made clear that she was very important to the Finch family. For example Atticus said, "She's a faithful member of this family". Calpurnia could also read. Zeebo, Calpurnia's son, was the town garbage collector.

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