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

Why is the Novel called To Kill a Mockingbird.

Extracts from this document...


Why is the Novel called "To Kill a Mockingbird." In order for us to understand the reason why the novel is called "To Kill a Mockingbird", we need to take into account what the title actually means. The mockingbird is a type of finch, and it gets its name from its ability to make sounds that mimic other animals. This bird is not a predator and all it does is to make music. In the book the references made to the mockingbird are ones of great significance. The first time we come across this in the novel is when Atticus Finch says to his son Jem Finch, "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." The children, Jem and his sister Scout do not, at first, understand the importance of this advice. They decide to ask their neighbour, and also good friend, Miss. Maudie about it. She starts off with "Your father's right," and this is not the only time in the novel when she is in agreement with Atticus' views. She is almost a mother figure to the children along with Calpurnia, who is their cook, and she reinforces Atticus' philosophy. ...read more.


In the courtroom Atticus proves to everyone that Tom is innocent by showing everyone that Tom's left arm is crippled and that he could not have possibly been the one who abused her. During the trial everyone is amazed when Tom admits to feeling sorry for Mayella. He immediately realises his mistake. This is because in society then, a white person would always be superior to a black person, irrespective of age or gender. Even though Tom Robinson's innocence is proven, he still looses. The simple reason being that he was black. Tom has to pay severely for society's stereotypical prejudice that has existed for many years. Atticus knows what the outcome of the case will be, his explanation being that people just were not ready to start thinking so ahead. After the trial when Tom Robinson is put into prison, he looses all hope and tries to escape. Sadly in the process the prison guards shoot him. Atticus takes it upon himself to tell Tom's widow the news. By reading the novel, when we come across the character of Tom Robinson, all we can see is a very honest, kind and law abiding man to whom a great injustice has been done. ...read more.


However there was enough of a distinction to make the trial unfair, this could have been due to the fact that people were afraid of change. For example if Tom Robinson was found innocent by the jury then there would have been an enormous change to the general social hierarchy. In the end the whole point that the novel is trying convey is about tolerance and understanding. It is due to a lack of these things that we get prejudice and discrimination of any kind occurs, whether it is racial or because of gender. If people were tolerant of other people then these problems would not even arise. Atticus is right when he tells scout that to truly understand a person you need to walk in their shoes. By doing this you will understand the person and so will be able to tolerate the person without fearing them because they are different to yourself. Atticus is not the only person in this novel who is able to think ahead. We know that people like Miss Maudie and Heck Tate, the sheriff, are also able to think beyond racial lines. We have come a long way from then, in establishing equality, and yet we still have a long way to go in achieving the perfect world. ...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. Peer reviewed

    Examine the different kinds of prejudice and injustice which you have found in 'To ...

    4 star(s)

    Later Scout told Uncle Jack how she had felt discriminated against and that his treatment was unjust. He resolved the situation and admitted that he had been prejudiced. Mayella Ewell could be described as a slave to her father. She stays in the house each and every day to look after the children and does all the household chores.

  2. What is the significance of the title 'To Kill a Mockingbird?'

    They're perfectly willing to let him do what they're afraid to do themselves.' She claims this when she is upset and feels the need to release her emotion, which is not shown by her in the novel. He also recreates the actions of a bird; for example, when he focuses

  1. How effectively does Harper Lee convey her ideas about prejudice in her novel To ...

    Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.' He could've decided to stay in his house due to feeling uncomfortable because he observes how people view him from a distance for instance, children used him as the main part of their games, acts and planned different tactics to get to his house.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    Dill comes to Maycomb for the summer again, full of stories about train rides and his father, whom he claims to have finally laid eyes upon. The three try to start a few games, but they quickly get bored. Jem pushes Scout inside an old tire, but it ends up in the Radleys' yard.

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

    This was the description that the children gave him without knowing how he really was; they assumed how he looked like because he has been stereotyped by society. The community's view of Boo Radley was that he was a mental person.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird

    He realises how divided the society of Maycomb actually is, and how people are grouped into certain classes according to how they look, where they come from, or how they do things. Though Maycomb boasts about how tightly-knit their community is, it is in fact segregated into several different classes.

  1. How far do you consider "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" and "To Kill ...

    Maybe that way you won't be bumping into decent white folks with your nasty little self." After Cassie refuses, Lillian Jean decides to take physical action which isn't acceptable, particularly when Cassie is assaulted by a grown man, Mr. Simms.

  2. Is To Kill A Mockingbird an Optimistic or Pessimistic Novel?

    Education throughout the book provides many interesting views. It is clearly evident that Scout is not fond of the compulsory education system. In fact from the day she is told that it was incorrect for her father to teach her how to read.

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