To kill a Mockingbird is an astounding portrayal of intolerance and human dignity; a novel whose themes render a timeless tale of and kindness, and ingenuity that makes it truly unforgettable. Harper Lee magically blends the content of this awe-inspiring tale with the use of effective motifs and symbols that lends much more profound meaning to the overall picture. One particular symbol that embodies this novel is the mockingbird and its purity and innocence.
Mockingbirds are well recognized for their ability to sing the most beautiful songs, and their reputation of being fierce defenders of their nests. Despite its little literal connection to the plot, it carries a great deal of symbolic weights in the book. The incorporation of the mockingbird is essentially to consolidate the main themes of prejudice and justice. In the story of innocence destroyed by evil, the “mockingbird” comes to represent the idea of innocence. Thus, to kill a mockingbird is to destroy innocence. This connection between the central theme and main title is shown quite explicitly in the novel itself, not only in the form of conversations, but this symbol is etched inside various characters--innocents who have been injured or destroyed through the contact with evil. In particular, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.
Similar to a mockingbird, Tom Robinson’s ingenuousness is manipulated to be used against him, prior to the colour of the skin. The fact that he was ‘black’ obliterated all chances for him to avenge himself, and at the end of the day, Tom Robinson had to pay the price. All the evidence pointed towards his innocence, and yet he lived a life of punishment, just because of a difference in his race. Tom Robinson is a true victim of prejudice, an issue so exaggerated at that time; nobody could have made a difference. Differences in social status are explored largely through the overcomplicated social hierarchy of Maycomb. The relatively well-off Finches stand near the top...