In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, two characters, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, are both citizens of Maycomb. Also, the metaphor “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” is repeatedly told to Scout and Jem by parental figures Atticus Finch and Maudie Atkinson (Lee 19). Many people believe that the mockingbird represents a living being dying because the metaphor refers to killing a live creature. However, if this is the case, the only clear example would be Tom Robinson, and he alone would not represent both Part 1 and Part 2 of the book.
Understanding that the mockingbird does not represent a physical death helps the readers view the book in a more open sense, allowing the readers to fully comprehend the book. The metaphor means that it is wrong to have social prejudices against something inherently good, which Lee projects as the characters Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.Topic Sentence #1: Tom Robinson represents the mockingbird as an inherently good being because he helps Mayella Ewell with her work, but still deals with prejudice, the “killing”, when he is convicted for a crime he does not commit, which is wrong because he is inherently good.Tom Robinson is representative of killing a mockingbird as similar to having social prejudices for an inherently good being, as his inherent goodness leads him to try to help Mayella Ewell, but still deals with prejudice when he is convicted for a crime he does not commit, which is, as following the metaphor, wrong.Integrated Evidence #1: Tom Robinson does Mayella Ewell’s chores with her “lots of times” for “no charge” because the other Ewells don’t “help her none” (255, 256).Analysis: An inherently good person will try to do what will best An inherently good person will often do tasks others ask of them for little to no pay and not do this no matter what because if the person needs help they will do as they are asked. Tom Robinson does this for Mayella Ewell.
Thus, following the definition provided, Tom Robinson is inherently good. The mockingbird also represents inherent goodness, and therefore Tom Robinson is a mockingbird.Integrated Evidence #2: The jury decides that Tom Robinson is “guilty”, because, according to Reverend Sykes, juries in Maycomb do not “decide in favor” for “colored” men. As Atticus said, the people of Maycomb have an “evil assumption” that all colored people are “immoral” (282, 279, 273).
Analysis: A social prejudice is an opinion a person has before meeting or getting to know a person. The citizens have preconceived ideas of what Tom Robinson will say and do because of his skin color. Because they have ideas of what Robinson will be like before meeting him, they have a social prejudice against him. Robinson is a mockingbird and inherently good. He has social prejudices against him, which is wrong because he is inherently good. Like it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, it is wrong to have social prejudices against Tom Robinson, an inherently good man.
Topic Sentence #2: Boo Radley also represents the inherent goodness of a mockingbird in both giving Jem and Scout gifts and in saving their lives, but he is cut down by the social prejudices that the citizens of Maycomb base on a supposed appearance and history, which is wrong, as it is the act of “killing” the mockingbird.Integrated Evidence #1: Near the end of the book, Boo Radley does his “utmost” to keep Bob Ewell from killing Jem and Scout, doing the town a “great service” (369).Analysis: An inherently good person will often go through many actions to keep those they care for from being hurt. In saving the children from Ewell, Boo Radley does this, even though he could have become a convicted man. Because the action of keeping them safe constitutes an inherently good person, Boo Radley is inherently good. In this sense, he is like a mockingbird, as both represent inherent goodness.
Integrated Evidence #2: Right at the beginning of the book, Jem rants to Scout and Dill about Boo, repeatedly claiming he is “six-and-a-half feet tall” with blood-stained hands from eating “raw squirrels” and “cats” (16).Analysis: Jem and Scout base their earlier perspectives of Boo on the social biases of the citizens of Maycomb. Following the earlier definition of social prejudice, because Jem and Scout have an opinion of him before meeting him, they have a social prejudice against him. Recall, Radley can represent a mockingbird. A mockingbird represents inherent goodness, and he has social prejudices against him despite this. Having social prejudices against an inherently good person is similar to killing a mockingbird; both are sins or are wrong.