0 teacher IRLA: Period 3 March 25, 2011 The Innocence of a Mockingbird Innocence: when one has done nothing wrong but is unjustly and immorally punished. This concept is explored in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee where a small girl, Scout along with her brother Jem witness several powerful events that teach them important moral lessons. Later on, those lessons are applied by Scout to several situations. Throughout all the events, several characters present important ideas and a major idea, innocence, was presented as a motif in the events. Also, this idea of innocence is corresponding to a mockingbird. Mockingbirds are symbolic of innocence as such Atticus Finch, Arthur Radley, and Tom Robinson are metaphorical mockingbirds in To Kill a Mockingbird. Subsequently, Maycomb unjustly mistreats Atticus on the basis of him defending Tom Robinson, so forth orchestrating as him as a mockingbird. This was very clear when Miss Maudie spoke to Jem a day after the trial. She said, “…there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them” (Lee 228). When Miss Maudie says unpleasant she implies the job is unpleasant because of Maycomb gossiping and such on Atticus. However in reality he is innocent. This relates him to be like an innocent mockingbird since he and the mockingbird possess the quality of innocence and are tormented. Therefore, Atticus is an innocent man who is bothered by Maycomb which is similar to how Arthur Radley is troubled by Maycomb’s rumors.

Furthermore, Maycomb’s perspective of Arthur Radley is inaccurate and benevolent therefore portraying him as a mockingbird. Miss Maudie knows of Arthur Radley correctly and disagrees with the town’s perspective. “I remember Arthur Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me no matter what folks said he did” (61).Miss Maudie’s phrase no matter what folks said he did proves Boo did nothing wrong just like how mockingbirds only make music. Thus he is symbolic of the mockingbird through their similarity in doing nothing wrong. This powerful idea shows itself by similarities between the mockingbird and characters like Boo Radley, such similarities can be seen in Tom Robinson as well. Moreover, Tom Robinson is constituted as innocent because he is unfairly harmed and this relates him to a mockingbird. For instance, Mr. Underwood understands Tom Robinson and his tragic death and relates him to songbirds, “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds” (323).Evidently, Tom is pure and humble yet was harmed and recognized as innocent by Mr. Underwood’s comparison. In fact, he fits the comparison and is relevant to songbirds such as the mockingbird. Thereafter, This situation, Tom’s innocence being juxtaposed by actions towards him mimics the situation of a mockingbird being killed and so forth, the situation is metaphorical of a mockingbird being killed. All in all, the motif of innocence is reflected in Atticus Finch, Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson with their connections to a mockingbird. In the first place, Maycomb’s treatment of Atticus is similar to how a mockingbird is killed. Likewise, the town’s treatment of Arthur Radley contrasts his innocence. Furthermore, Tom Robinson is hurt by the town and this is coherent to the other situations which also connects him to a

mockingbird. Such ideas are brought out in contrast like how one cannot see a white card on a white sheet but one can see a black card on a white sheet. Such contrast occurs in society. It is remarkable, how the simple idea of innocence in a book is present in everyday life with things like a victim of bullying.

Works Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York. Grand Central Publishing, 2010.

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