A Sin to Kill a Mockingbird Evil will exist whether you like it or not because it counteracts good and balances it out. To Kill a Mockingbird is to take away or kill the innocence of a person that is innocent themselves. There is no reason to hurt anyone when they have done nobody harm. The novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee, is about civil rights and prejudice as seen through the eyes of Jean Louise Finch (Scout) when she was younger.
Scout introduces characters such as her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who strongly believes in equality for all and desperately tries to prove the innocence of an African American man unjustly accused of rape; and her neighbor Boo Radley, a mysterious recluse who had left his personal and sentimental gifts in a knot hole for Scout and Jem, and proved that all the horrible myths about him had been false. As Miss Maudie explains why Atticus is correct as to never kill a mockingbird, the motif continues throughout the novel and provides information concerning the characterization of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.
The passage when Atticus is talking to his two children about killing mockingbirds provides a reoccurring theme about good and evil. After Atticus had given the air-rifles to Scout and Jem, he had told them, “When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus wouldn’t teach us to shoot. ” (90). The reason why Atticus did not want to teach his children to shoot is later explained when he shot Tim Johnson. He knows that he is civilized and was given a talent that was not fair to most living things.
His talent was unjust and evil and him using if he used his talent then he would be destroyed by evil. The quote where Heck Tate insists that Bob Ewell had accidently fell on his own knife also explains goodness destroyed by evil. Heck Tate informs Atticus, “taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight- to me, that’s a sin” (276). Atticus was sure that it was Jem who had killed Bob Ewell.
Although it was Boo Radley who had pushed Ewell in an act to protect Jem and Scout, Heck Tate tells Atticus that he intends to report that Ewell fell on his own knife and that he will not let Boo Radley be exposed to the publicity of a charge and a trial. Boo Radley surely represents the innocence and goodness and Heck Tate does not want him be get publicity because he knows that Boo Radley is shy and has been closed off from the world for a long time. Exposing and giving him unnecessary attention would just make him feel like he was being attacked and overwhelmed.
Scout also adds, “Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it? ” (276). Scout understands Heck Tate completely and makes a comparison between shooting a mockingbird and exposing Boo Radley into the limelight because they both have something to do with good and evil. Since the mockingbird represents true goodness, and shooting it would represent evil this could match up to Boo Radley in the limelight because Boo Radley represents good and throwing him into spotlight would be evil. The mockingbird also represents the innocence that should always be protected and not harmed.
The passage where Atticus tells his children to never kill a mockingbird develops a motif that appears throughout the novel in different situations. Moreover, this passage about killing mockingbirds also supplies information about the characterization of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. After Atticus sternly informs his children to never shoot at a mockingbird, Miss Maudi underscores his point of view. She emphasizes to the Scout and Jem, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.
They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their heart out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (90). Mockingbirds never do any harm, and are not pests in any way. All they do is live peacefully and sing beautifully. This can represent people who do not mean any harm so it is evil if you harm them when all they do is be kind. Tom Robinson is one example of a human “mockingbird. ” Tom Robinson was accused and found guilty of raping Bob Ewell’s daughter, Mayella Ewell. Scout narrated that Mr.
Underwood, the newspaper publisher, “Likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (241). The whole town committed the ultimate sin by finding Tom guilty and sentencing him to death. The society ignored Tom and persecuted him unreasonably. Because of this, they have killed a mockingbird. Another example of a human “mockingbird” is Boo Radley. When Jem tells Scout more about Boo Radley, Scout narrates, “Nobody knew what form of intimidation Mr. Radley employed to keep Boo out of sight, but Jem figured that Mr.
Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time” (11). Boo Radley whose father had punished him for his childhood mistake made Boo Radley spend his entire life as a prisoner in his own home. Boo can be compared to a mockingbird because he causes no harm to anyone, gives small sentimental gifts to Scout and Jem, and even saved them from Bob Ewell. To kill a mockingbird signifies an innocence and true goodness that should not be harmed, and always protected. It also represents the characters Tom Robinson and Boo Radley because of their goodness and unintentional to harm others.
Miss Maudie emphasizes on Atticus’s rule on not to kill mockingbirds develops a reoccurring motif and helps with the characterization with Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. Atticus informs his children that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because they don’t bother anyone and all they do is make sweet music for us to hear. This tells readers that this can represent a life of a mockingbird, a good person who is destroyed by evil. People never realize it is a sin to kill a mockingbird and until it actually happens like with Tom Robinson’s death.