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I believe the title of To Kill a Mockingbird is alluding to the injustice of Tom Robinson. The jury in the trial of Tom Robinson decided that he was guilty even though he did not commit the crime that they were accusing him of. He was an innocent man, but he was found guilty just because he was African American. On page 93, Mrs. Maudie says, “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.” Mrs. Maudie is saying that mockingbirds don’t do anything wrong. They just sit and sings songs for us to enjoy while they mind their own business. So if you kill a mockingbird, you’re sinning because they didn’t do anything to deserve it. The same thing goes with Tom Robinson.
He was an innocent, black man who was minding his own business but he still got charged guilty for ‘raping’ Mayella and he was killed trying to escape prison. Therefore, the jury of Maycomb has sinned.
Jim Crow laws greatly influenced the plot of the book. The book is based in the early/mid 1900’s which I when the Jim Crow laws were very prevalent. While there are many Jim Crow laws that could be applied to this book, there are two very obvious ones.
One of the main Jim Crow laws was no interracial marriages or relationships. This Jim Crow law and many others that stated that whites and black were not to engage too much, was the main reason it was so ludicrous when Mr. Ewell said that Tom Robinson had raped Mayella. Even if Mayella had wanted a relationship it was still severely frowned upon. Another example is Mr. Dolphins and his mixed children. He had children with a black woman and everyone looks down on him and his children. On page 163 Jem says, “Half white, half colored. You’ve seen ‘em, Scout. You know that red-kinky- headed one that delivers for the drugstore. He’s half white. They’re real sad.” By this quote we know that nobody is fond of them and they live a hard life because everyone thinks them disgusting.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, a book would be a great symbol for Scout Finch because she is smart and she is good at reading. In the beginning of the book on page 7 Jem says, “Scout yonder’s been readin‘ ever since she was born, and she ain’t even started to school yet.” Even though she is only 6 or 7 we know that she has been reading for quite a while making her very smart compared to others that are her age. Also, Scout is quite knowledgeable for her age. She is exposed to topics most kids would have a hard time understanding, but she handles them very well.
On page 8 and 9, Harper Lee uses very vivid imagery to describe the Radley house. “The Radley Place jutted into a sharp curve beyond our house. Walking south, one faced its porch; the sidewalk turned and ran beside the lot. The house was low, was once white with a deep front porch and green shutters, but had long ago darkened to the color of the slate-gray yard around it. Rain-rotted shingles drooped over the eaves of the veranda; oak trees kept the sun away. The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the front yard— a “swept” yard that was never swept— where johnson grass and rabbit-tobacco grew in abundance.” This description of the Radley house affects the mood and tone because it is described as eerie and kind of scary. This also foreshadows that we will learn that something bad has happened there.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch is the archetypal ‘child’ character. She fits this character type because for starters she is a literal child. In the beginning she starts out carefree and innocent. All she worries about is summer fun with Jem and Dill. As the story progresses though, she begins to understand how the world works. She realizes that the world is a crazy place and that people are hateful to people who are different than themselves. She learns most of this by seeing Tom Robinson’s trial take place, and by listening to all the gossip around about the said trial. She knows who is right, but everyone wants Tom to be guilty. This is when she starts to lose her innocence and starts to have to grow up.
On page 189 Harper Lee writes about Tom getting his arm caught in a cotton gin. “Reverend Sykes leaned across me and whispered to Jem. “He got it caught in a cotton gin, caught it in Mr. Dolphus Raymond’s cotton gin when he was a boy… like to bled to death… tore all the muscles loose from his bones—” A cotton gin is a machine used to separate cotton from its seeds. I believe this alludes to the segregation of colored and white people in the mid 1900’s. She writes that the cotton gin hurt Tom Robinson when he was a boy and it left him permanently crippled. This would also fit for segregation. Tom Robinson had learn as a boy that he was different, and he had to get hurt to realize this. Segregation has left Tom Robinson permanently scarred.
Racism is one of the main themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Because of this you could say that racism often causes unnecessary problems between people. In this story Tom Robinson is accused of raping Mayella Ewell even though she forced herself onto him. Just because he was black he got unfair treatment. Because of racism there was an unnecessary problem between the Ewells and Tom Robinson.
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