• 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. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    the children there rifles for Christmas The mockingbird of the title carries great symbolic weight throughout the novel, as it represents good being destroyed by evil. The mockingbird represents the idea of good- therefore to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence.

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

    shines, you can put him in new shoes and in a new suit, but he'll never be like Jem" She believes that no matter how he looks he will still be poor and he will still act as though he is a lower class, she has an attitude of superiority over the Cunningham's.

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    As a lawyer, Atticus did not let the racist and prejudice mindset of Maycomb affect his practice. Atticus believed that justice did not concern one's race, but one's actions. Atticus stood up for what he thought was the truth and the truth that others were not willing to stand up for.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird

    (Chapter 12, page 131) Just in Aunt Alexandra's arrival to the Fiches house, she shows her negative attitude towards Calpurnia. "Put my bag in the front bedroom Calpurnia, was the first thing Aunt Alexandra said" (Chapter 13, page 132). Her first sentence after arriving at the Finch house has a very imperative tone towards Calpurnia.

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

    Arthur Radley "Boo" is Maycomb's town recluse. There are a lot of myths and rumours about Boo and his family. According to town gossip, Boo stabbed his father in the leg when he was a boy and has since not come out of his house in fifteen years.

  1. Compare the ways in which Gilbert Dawson of The Sexton's Hero and Boo Radley ...

    Whereas Gaskell uses old fashioned words and rambling sentences, Lee uses more modern language and writes in shorter, less complex sentences that are easier to understand, contrasting with The Sexton's Hero which can, at times, be difficult to follow. Whilst Gaskell's work is focused entirely on the deeds of Gilbert

  2. 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.

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