Harper Lee uses symbolism in her book To Kill A Mockingbird to portray her message without directly saying it. Everything in the novel, no matter how arbitrary it may seem, happens for a reason. Lee crafts her book with every part working in perfect harmony, and the symbolism of killing a mockingbird really ties her creation together in a beautiful way. The mockingbird symbolizes innocence and kindness. Atticus says to Jem and Scout to “shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit em’, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 90). As Miss Maudie explains it, “they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.” Mockingbirds don’t cause any harm. They are only there for your enjoyment. Blue Jays on the other hand are loud and aggressive birds. They attack smaller, weaker animals and may attack a human if you get to close. That’s the difference between the two birds, and that’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. furthermore, mockingbirds don’t have their own voice; they don’t sing their own song. This directly relates to characters such as Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. They are confined to the preconceived notions of the people of Maycomb. Lee is able to use her symbolism to blatantly expose this and show the judgemental, small mindedness of this conservative town in Alabama. It’s all the little things that makes this novel shine.
Boo Radley, throughout most of the book, is misinterpreted. Just like a mockingbird, other people sing his song. He is limited to the myths and legends about him. Boo is the childhood monster for Jem and Scout. After all, “he drove the scissors into his parent’s leg, pulled them out, wiped them on his pants, and resumed his activities” according to Miss Stephanie (Lee 11). Through the eyes of the kids, Boo is this evil, mysterious thing that doesn’t have any good in him. But in truth, he had no malintent. In fact, Boo is there to help Jem and Scout throughout the novel. The only reason he doesn’t leave his house is because he’s afraid of the prejudice he is inevitably going to face. In a way, the people of Maycomb already ‘killed’ him by taking away his voice. Scout finally comes to this realization at the end of book. All of the myths were false, and putting him on trial in front of all of Maycomb would be like killing a mockingbird.


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