• 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)

    The officers assumed that he had committed the crime he was charged with and that he was better off dead so committed a major injustice by shooting him seventeen times. Also most of the people of Maycomb hold the prejudice that because he is black he must have be guilty of the accused offence.

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird Imagery and Symbolism

    - ie innocents who have been destroyed through contact with evil while miss Maudie represents the concept of the novel when she declares "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but . . . sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird Full Summary

    by this point he is a real man whose antisocial behavior marks him as unusual and therefore suspicious or dangerous. Chapter 5 Summary Jem and Dill have become closer friends, and Scout, being a girl, finds herself often excluded from her play.

  2. What is the significance of the title of the novel? (The title of this ...

    He seems very opposed to Tom being shot, as he was a cripple. In the newspaper article he wrote he said that 'It was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting or escaping' Then he likened Tom's death to 'The senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.'

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird Lit Review

    As a brother to John and Jack Finch, Atticus paid their ways through school while working to support his own family. Atticus was one of the few people of Maycomb that was not racist. He saw character and actions over colour; thus, he treated Calpurnia as a family member.

  2. To Kill a Mocking Bird Continuation.

    he beat looked like after he got through with him - however this was no use to Mr Gilmer as his answer was that the man was not beaten it was Tom Robinson who was beaten. He then continues trying to depict Tom Robinson as mean and capable of the

  1. 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.

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

    This means mocking birds are vulnerable to those who wish to slaughter them. Mr Underwood's racist attitudes change at this point in the novel and he begins to believe that Tom is innocent and was only persecuted because of his race.

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