Mockingbird Symbolism in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
In Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," mockingbirds serve as a powerful symbol representing innocence, compassion, and the unjust persecution of the innocent. The idea is introduced by Atticus Finch, who tells his children, Scout and Jem, that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird because all they do is sing sweetly and provide joy to the world without causing harm.
The character most closely associated with the mockingbird symbol is Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Tom is inherently good and compassionate, much like the innocent birds, but he becomes a victim of the racial prejudices and injustices prevalent in the society of Maycomb.
Another character symbolizing the mockingbird is Boo Radley, a recluse who is misunderstood by the town and feared for no valid reason. Boo, like the mockingbird, represents an innocent soul destroyed by societal prejudice.
Throughout the novel, the mockingbird symbol underscores the themes of racial injustice, moral growth, and the loss of innocence. It emphasizes the need to protect those who are vulnerable and different, highlighting the moral duty to uphold justice and compassion in a world tainted by prejudice and cruelty.