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To Kill a Mockingbird is not just the title to this book. The word mockingbird appears six times in this novel and the word songbird is mentioned once. The To Kill a Mockingbird reference is a metaphor for the destruction of innocence by the world. Throughout the novel, many people are “killed” in the sense of being mockingbirds including the three I’ll be focusing Jem, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley and how they were “killed” by the world.
First just by reading the novel you can see the growth of Jem from the beginning of the novel to the end.
Not only has Jem grown in maturity and courage throughout the novel but by the end he had turned into a form of a mockingbird. At the beginning of the novel, Jem takes part in the Boo Radley game, unaware of the harm he may be doing to people in the Radley house who can hear the children make fun of Boo.
He also chops down Mrs. Dubose’s roses. However, when Nathan fills the tree hole with cement, Jem cries because he realizes how important that hole was to Boo. He also reads to Mrs. Dubose after he almost destroys her garden, and later finds he has helped her to overcome her morphine addiction. When Scout and Jem sleep on the patio, Scout wants to kill a roly-poly bug. Jem stops her, saying the bug never did anything to harm her. And Jem show bravery when a mob shows up at his house by telling his father he has a phone call.
Most importantly, Jem protects his sister against an attack from Bob Ewell and may have been killed if Boo Radley had not intervened. So I would describe Jem as a young mockingbird about ready to leave the nest when the novel ends.
Tom is an innocent man, and he is a good man. He has a wife, kids, and is a hard-working guy just trying to go about his business. He is unfairly targeted just because he is black. At the end of the novel as Tom Robinson was shot trying to escape, the comparison is made. Tom is an innocent mockingbird, just trying to live his life in peace, and they shoot him, and it’s a sin. It also symbolizes the jury’s decision to find an innocent man guilty of a crime that he didn’t commit, they essentially ended Tom’s life that day. In Mr. Underwood’s editorial he says, “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.’ This quote directly showing Tom resembles a “songbird” or mockingbird by directly telling us that Mr.Underwood believes this about Tom. Tom is a mockingbird due to Bob and Mayella targeting him, accusing him, and the jury and prison guards all buy into that idea that taking Tom down is easy, and not a big deal. Tom is a mockingbird that it is a sin to hurt, but unfortunately, not everyone abides by Mr.Unerwoods’ rules of integrity.
There is one person who this book is the main idea of being a mockingbird, and his name is Arthur Boo Radley. Boo Radley is a sweet, gentle, innocent man. Boo Radley is a mockingbird because he is a sweet and innocent man even though he is misjudged by society. He is a gentle, caring man who admires the children. He is portrayed as a monster by practically all, but Jem and Scout never see that side of him. He showers the children with gifts and even saves their lives when they are attacked by Bob Ewell. He is a true mockingbird especially in the end in which Mr. Heck Tate tells Atticus that Bob Ewell “fell on his knife” when in truth Boo killed him, but he doesn’t want to torture Boo and throw him into a world without warning. He is the mockingbird.
In conclusion, the Title To Kill a Mockingbird is not just a title. It is a symbol. A symbol of the destruction of innocence in which people like Jem, Tom, and Boo’s innocence are destroyed because of the horribleness of our world and society.
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