The Significance of the Title of to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Significance of the Title of to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • Submitted By: yorkers
  • Date Submitted: 02/04/2009 4:05 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1469
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The Significance of the Title of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The title of this novel is 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and throughout the
book the word mockingbird appears several times. The mockingbird is
the most significant symbol in the novel. The motif of the story is
the innocent creature of the mockingbird. What is a mockingbird? A
mockingbird is a type of finch. It is a small plain bird and has a
beautiful song. It got its name because its beautiful sing 'mocks'
other birds.

The mockingbird idea first comes about in chapter 10,when Atticus is
telling the children how to use their shotguns. He tells them:

"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em. But remember
it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

It was very unusual for Atticus to say something like this, as he
never tells Scout or Jem that anything is a 'sin'. This makes Scout a
bit surprised and so Miss Maudie explains that it is because
mockingbirds are neither harmful nor destructive and only make nice
music for people to enjoy. Here is what she said:

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They
don't eat up peoples 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."

In chapter 10, Tim Johnson the rabid dog is slowly walking up the road
and all the people of Maycomb are waiting for him to appear, waiting
for what is about to happen. The mockingbird idea comes up when it

'The trees were still, the mockingbirds were silent, the carpenters at
Miss Maudie's house had vanished.'

I think that the mockingbirds in this situation are all of the
innocent people of Maycomb waiting for this rabid dog (Tim) to come up
the road. They haven't done anything wrong and are scared that they
may get hurt or something bad may happen when the dog appears.

Another time the mockingbird idea comes up is in chapter 21,when
everyone is in the court room...

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