Symbolism and Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Symbolism and Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird

Symbolism is used extensively in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The theme of prejudice in the novel can be best perceived through the symbol of the mockingbird. Atticus advised his children that if they went hunting for birds to "shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" . Miss Maudie explains this further by saying that "mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee 1960 p.100).

Bluejays are considered to be the bullies of the bird world. They are very loud, like to mark the territory and aggressive. When I think of this theme of Bluejays, I am reminded of Mr. Bob Ewell. Mockingbirds, however, are innocent and all they do is sing beautiful songs; they would not harm anyone. It is easy to understand that the mockingbird in the story is Tom Robinson, a harmless man who becomes a victim of racial prejudice. Like the mockingbird, Tom has never done wrong to anyone, instead he always tries to please peoples.

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Even the jury who sentenced him to death had nothing personal against him, they found him guilty mostly because to take the word of a black man over two whites would somehow create a threat towards themselves.  Having the death of Tom Robinson is symbolistic of the white folks being fear-full of what this man was capable of doing, just because of his race.

However, Tom Robinson is not the only mockingbird in the story. Boo Radley is another harmless creature who is the victim of cruelty. He is unjustly regarded as an evil person and used as ...

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