Premium Essay

What Does Tom Robinson Symbolize In To Kill A Mockingbird

Submitted By
Words 1111
Pages 5
Every day, innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. They face unjustified punishment and prejudice. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird, the mockingbird is repetitively used as a symbol of innocence. Scout and Jem Finch, the young protagonists of the novel are told that "It's a sin to kill a mockingbird” (119) because mockingbirds are peaceful creatures who cause no harm. Some characters in the story can be perceived as “mockingbirds” due to their acts of kindness and nonviolence. The three characters who symbolize the mockingbird are Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson because they are all innocent men who are discriminated against and punished for doing what is right.
Tom Robinson was an innocent man who faced prejudice because he was African American. Tom displayed many respectable traits. He provided free help to his white neighbor, despite the fact he had only one arm. When asked why he did these selfless acts, Tom responded: " I felt right sorry for her, she seemed to try more'n the rest of 'em-" (264). Later, Tom was accused of raping and beating up young Mayella Ewell, the eldest child in the infamous Ewell family, and the same girl he had assisted. Mayella’s father, Bob Ewell,was a racist man, who knew that he could get away with wrongfully accusing Tom simply because Tom was black. When brought to court, evidence proved Tom not-guilty, yet he
…show more content…
These men were peaceful, harmless and remained dignified in times of trouble and prejudice. Tom Robinson and Atticus Finch both stood for equality, and Boo Radley was a symbol of innocence. These problems of racism and exclusion are topics that still plague our society today, but we are beginning to come around and see our faults. By following the examples of Tom, Atticus, and Boo, hopefully, we will be able to overcome these

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird

...A mockingbird is a harmless bird that makes the world more pleasant. In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the mockingbird symbolizes Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and Tom Robinson, who were peaceful people who never did any harm. To kill or harm them would be a sin. Scout's father, Atticus, tells Scout and Jem, “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Atticus is portraying that they are innocent and to harm them would be a sin. The mockingbird symbolizes these three characters because it does not have its own song, the mockingbird only sings other birds' songs and is seen through the other bird’s voices. The people of Maycomb only knew Boo, Atticus and Tom by what others said about them. These characters do not really have their own voice or song, they are only known for what others say about them. Atticus is a lawyer in Maycomb, a typical southern town where racial discrimination is the normal behavior. When he decides to defend Tom Robinson a black man, the people in the town were threatening him for doing so. Though Atticus never showed any sign that he doubted what he was doing. Atticus saw the evil in his world and was only trying to protect his children from it. He simply denied the natural behavior to colored people and fought against it. Atticus took the hatred, pushed it aside, kept his head high and stayed true to himself. He never hurt a soul and was just as innocent as a mockingbird. Boo Radley went......

Words: 678 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

To Kill A Mockingbird Pride And Prejudice Analysis

...Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, it becomes quite evident that growing up in a world full of hatred looks much different through eyes that have not seen prejudice. Through these innocent perspectives, the reader looks through a window to see the very raw core of human nature. Because of this purity, that Jem and Scout see Tom as a mockingbird. Tom represents a mockingbird in a few, yet significant, ways. First of all he ignites the children to sing their own song of youthful innocence; he is a minority and considered “crippled” in the eyes of many characters in the novel. Finally, Tom goes out of his way to be a hard-working and helpful man, even though his graciousness is not reciprocated. All of the way through the trial of Tom Robinson, many injustices become clear to both Scout and Jem. The unfair and biased treatment of Robinson leads to...

Words: 794 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Colleen

...Colleen Stablein Section 22 Book Report Harper Lees’ novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is an inspiring, lesson filled story of two children who spend their free time spying on a very reclusive and mysterious neighbor, while their father defends a black man against rape charges. The story takes place in the 1930’s, in a very small town in Alabama, called Maycomb. Atticus Finch, a widower, raises his two children Scout and Jem Finch by himself. They live in a very close-knit town but one neighbor, Boo Radley, seems to puzzle the children because of the fact that he never leaves the house. At the beginning of the book, the children begin a long and obsessive quest to lure Boo outside. For three years, the children try countless different ideas to try to see Boo Radley, until they finally do when he saves them from death at the end of the book. During the three years that the children are committed to this mission, their father is the lawyer of Tom Robinson, a black man, who is being accused of raping and beating a white woman. Atticus, Scout, and Jem face lots of racial slurs and insults because of Atticus’ role in the trial. Tom ends up being convicted of rape, even though Atticus proves to the court that Tom could not have possibly committed the crime of which he was accused. Throughout the book, Lee is trying to teach a lesson about doing what you think is right versus what everybody else thinks is right, and also about judging people before you get to know them. This novel is...

Words: 1256 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Good and Evil : to Kill a Mockingbird

...In addition to bearing the title of the novel, Harper Lee uses “To Kill a Mockingbird” as an opportunity to convey the significance of moral veracity to depict the alleged Mockingbirds of May comb county. She uses the innocence of children such as Jem and Scout to experience the underlying reality of good and evil in society, as their father, Atticus Finch attempts to teach them the morals of killing shadowed innocent beings who are helpless to their own freedom. After the encounter with Atticus and being told that to kill a mocking is a sin, Scout asks Miss Maudie who explains that,” Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” In the novel, Mockingbirds symbolize harmless innocent people who have only ever tried to serve others but are destroyed by the evil around them. To terrorize a Mockingbirds security is deemed to be morally detestable, as it would be considered a “sin.” The concept of Mockingbird relate to those discriminated for complex past history and wellbeing, race and mixed orientation. Boo Radley, Tom Robinson and mixed children represent the innocent creatures that are deemed to be the harmless and helpless Mockingbirds of Maycomb County. Boo Radley is clarified as a greatly misunderstood troubled victim of society with an intricate past history involving an abusive parental figure devoted to his own selfish pride, resulting in locking his son away from......

Words: 1206 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird

...“To Kill A Mockingbird” “ There is no greater heresy than to do the right thing for the wrong reason or moreover the wrong thing for the right reason” this quote by Victor Hugo runs parallel to Harper Lee’s gripping tale of right and wrong, good and evil. “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a intricate and symbolic masterpiece of the intertwining elements of positive and negative, and how when they occupy the same space no becomes hardly recognizable from the other In this story, a well to do family is faced with very compromising scenarios that causes them and the reader alike to question certain core principles that are supposedly innate, and guides them through a journey of racism, pride, deceit, judgment, and finally reconciling all of these. All characters in the novel perpetually orbit around sentiments of morals and social acceptance and to deal with these themes in a realistic manner. The very title of the story “To Kill A Mockingbird” speaks the nuance of wrong invading or violating what is right. Atticus Finch, the patriarch of the family, has the most explicit encounter with moral injustice and the ordeal of fighting against it. As a lawyer in a small, southern town, Finch is endowed, voluntarily no doubt, with the dubious responsibility of representing an African American man in a criminal case of rape. The small town of Maycomb, Alabama is very racist and Atticus’s decision does not go over well with most of the citizens there. In order to appease the majority......

Words: 953 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

How Does Harper Lee Use Symbols In To Kill A Mockingbird

...To Kill a Mockingbird is a book written by Harper Lee about a small town in Alabama named Maycomb. The time period that this book takes place in is the late 1930s, the end of the Great Depression and prejudice is extremely prominent. The story is about a black male, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell, and is defended by a white attorney, Atticus Finch. Atticus and his children, Scout and Jem, endure tough love from their community, but learn many things from the treatment they received. During the book, as the Harper Lee expresses the themes she uses symbols to interpret them. The major themes in the story are revealed within symbols, such as, a mockingbird, an oak tree, and geraniums. The mockingbird...

Words: 818 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

To Kill A Mockingbird Analysis

...Mara Arisman 8A Literature March 06,18 To Kill A Mockingbird Essay To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee. This novel is set in Maycomb, Alabama around 1933. Scout, the narrator, Jem, her brother, and her father, Atticus Finch, have to help a black man, Tom Robinson, who was convicted of rape. Along the way, they meet many new people and learn a lot of valuable lessons like never kill a mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a “sleepy town” called Maycomb, Alabama around 1933 during the Great Depression. Scout said that Maycomb is a “tired old town” where “people seem to move slower” (6 Lee). This is s small town so everyone knows everything about everybody. Southern Alabama has “summers that drift into autumn, and autumn...

Words: 1224 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Examples Of Foreshadowing In To Kill A Mockingbird

...Harper Lee uses foreshadowing in her novel to help her audience understand the topic of racism in Maycomb. She first uses foreshadowing when Atticus says”...It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what (Lee, 112).” The trial hasn't even begun and Atticus knows he won't win, all because Tom Robinson happens to be black. She is foreshadowing how Tom Robinson's trial will ultimately end. This quote is foreshadowing the conviction of an innocent man for a crime he did not commit, all because of the color of his skin. He will be convicted because he is considered to be even less than the white “trash” of the town. It's an evident example of the racism that took place in Maycomb during...

Words: 364 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

“to Kill a Mockingbird” Analysis

...“To Kill a Mockingbird” Analysis Harper Lee published “To Kill a Mockingbird “ in 1960, a time buzzing with racial segregation and irrational injustice. She based the book on various events that were all to real, only fifty years ago. Throughout the book, the author captures these horrendous inequalities and is able to explore these subjects through various situations and characters. However, it is not always just the color of one’s skin as to the reason of why they are treated differently. Lee is able to display examples of prejudice based on class and status of a person, rather than race alone, through the use of abstract symbols through the use of characters. Harper Lee use birds to symbolize traits in various characters throughout the book. Although it is not just mockingbirds used as the only bird example. When Jem and Scout receive guns to shoot for fun, Atticus warns them against shooting mockingbirds. However, he states that they may shoot all the blue jays they desire. Blue jays are the nuance bird; this connects to Bob Ewell due to the fact that he is the perfect display of a blue jay. The blue jays represent the prejudiced citizens of Maycomb; they are ever present and continue to taunt others. Atticus goes on to tell the kids that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. The mockingbird is the innocent bird and therefore sums up Tom Robinson the most clearly. As being an innocent man that is only being tried due to his race, he embodies the mockingbird perfectly.......

Words: 1714 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Examples Of Poverty In To Kill A Mockingbird

...Racism, Poverty, and Violence in To Kill a Mockingbird Maycomb, like other Southern towns, suffers considerably during the Great Depression. Poverty reaches from the privileged families, like the Finches, to the Negroes and “white trash” Ewells, who live on the outskirts of town. Racism violently attacks the people of Maycomb and causes many conflicts throughout the novel which causes violence amongst the citizens. Harper Lee uses the characters involved in To Kill a Mockingbird as symbols of the main themes of the story, which includes, poverty, racism, and violence and these recurring themes influence the actions of the characters in numerous ways. Poverty is repeatedly referenced throughout the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Many citizens...

Words: 1145 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird

...Final Analysis on “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Jackie Berry Colorado Technical University LITR 240 Prof. Peggy Huey May 9, 2011 Abstract When an author writes novels, short stories, or poems, most of their ideas come from life experiences. The author is trying to send a message that may mirror what the reader can understand. Many writings address conflicts, themes and symbolism. Harper Lee (2006) introduced many of these elements into her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Harper Lee gives accounts of the story as if she was a young child and learns many life lessons that change her life forever. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (2006), takes place a small populated town in Maycomb, Alabama. The author has taken us back when hatred and prejudice is very common in the 1930s. Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch are frowned upon because Atticus is defending a black man of allegedly raping a white woman. Atticus uses this opportunity to teach Scout and Jem morals that we teach our children today. Atticus teaches Scout and Jem to not to be judgmental towards anyone, not be afraid to stand up for what is right, and violence does not solve anything. Jem and Scout will also learn the true symbolizing of why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Harper Lee described the town of Maycomb as being a very poor and run down. The community is very small and everyone knew each other. The blacks and whites are divided and some......

Words: 1623 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird Film Comparison

... |Toolooa State High School | | | | | |Tom Lavender, English Essay | | |“Despite the efforts of governments, groups and individuals, humankind still finds it difficult to trust based on the soul of a person; | |we are more comfortable making judgements based on skin colour.” | Prejudice, courage and unity… TEXT COMPARISON Are we always champions of tolerance, courage and receptiveness to others? By the very definition of humanity, we must be. Humanity: benevolence, understanding and kindness towards other people. It is, arguably, our very human nature to feel compassion, courage, understanding, unity and empathy towards our fellow man. Unfortunately, prejudice and judgement also cling to the human condition like tumorous stains – traits which society still finds hard to surmount. Despite the efforts of governments, groups and individuals, humankind still finds it difficult to trust based on the soul of a person; we are more comfortable making judgements based on skin colour. Nelle Harper Lee through her 1960 novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and Boaz Yakin through his 2000 film, ‘Remember the Titans,’ are text composers who tackle the ill-defined paradigms of ‘prejudice...

Words: 3544 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mocking Bird

...How symbolism can help you better understand To Kill a Mockingbird In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee uses symbolism to reveal an overall theme of human dignity. Maycomb County is a typical sleepy southern town that is blinded by the disease of racism. An innocent black man becomes a victim of the disease when he is accused of rapeing a white woman. Firstly the symbols Jem’s pants and the rolly-polly show the important theme of maturation. Furthermore the symbols Tim Johnson and the snowman highlight a theme of destroying racism. Lastly one-shot Finch and the perfect white waxy camellia symbolize true courage. Harper Lee uses Jem’s pants and the rolly-polly as symbols to convey a theme of maturation. Jem and Scout where in the Radley’s backyard trying to get a look at Boo Radley when Jem see’s a shadow the children immediately flee form the house. As the children were running through the collards as they hear the roar of a shotgun. As Jem and Scout are fleeing the scene Jem’s pants gets caught in the fence and he has to leave it in their backyard if he wants to survive. Later that night he says how he needs to go back and retrieve his pants not for him but for Atticus, “‘Atticus ain’t never whipped me ever since I can remember, and I wanta keep it that way.’” (Lee 75). He goes back to get his pants to keep his relation shit with Atticus. There is a evident theme maturation in Jem at this point, from when he thought turtles could not feel, too now when he is......

Words: 1153 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Racial Prejudice In To Kill A Mockingbird

...A beautiful melody fills the air on a clear summer’s day. As the gunshot rings through the sky, the space is suddenly left with an deafening silence. Never had the mockingbird, whose song was enjoyed by all, done anything to deserve that bullet. Yet still, the bird perishes. To Kill a Mockingbird is a magnificent tale regarding the ideas of racial prejudice. Harper Lee, the book’s author, uses a mockingbird to symbolize how the innocent are discriminated. Atticus Finch first establishes the idea of the mockingbird when giving Scout and Jem rifles; he explains that mockingbirds do nothing but make music which is why they are not to be shot. Shortly after, Atticus explains about the mockingbirds; Tom Robinson, one of the main mockingbirds, stands...

Words: 1134 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

To Kill a Mockingbird ( Adaptation Perspective)

...K Mrs. G ENG2D1 6 January 2015 To Kill a Mockingbird: A Excellent Adaptation To Kill a Mockingbird, according to many people is one of the finest books written in modern American Literature, which spreads the honorable message of racial injustice in the 1930’s in an informative and creative way. By showing a family known as “the Finches” experience and face the trials of living in a small Alabaman Town called Maycomb. The book itself was written by Harper Lee, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. When the novel was turned to a movie, there were many challenges that the director had to face while turning this classic novel into life. The director Robert Mulligan had to make sure the movie itself is an excellent adaptation of the book within the restrictions of creating a movie such as time limit, audience restrictions, money, and making sure to not replicate the entire book. This is why a book is better in an aspect as there are not as many restrictions to when creating a book compared to a movie. The film and the novel itself has many similarities and differences, however it is upon whether or not the film is a successful adaptation and portrays the theme of racial injustice. This film is a reasonable adaptation as it demonstrates the message of the film using the same context as the book and brings the characters to life in a creative way. There is great screenplay and dialogue amongst the characters which allows the audience to understand the movie thoroughly.......

Words: 1905 - Pages: 8