To Kill a Mockingbird is a narrative by Harper Lee published in 1960. The plot of the novel is overly based on the writer's observations of event that were happening in her family, her neighborhood, as well as the nearby hometown, when she was 10 years old. Despite dealing with severe issues of racism and rape, the play is well-known for its affection and wit. Atticus Finch, the narrator's father, has served as a model of integrity and honesty for many readers and especially lawyers, and as a moral champion for many audiences. The main themes of the novel involve racial prejudice and the execution of innocence.
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Mockingbird /Songbirds and their associated motif appear throughout the play. Motif is a representation that evokes and embodies some universal denotation or may create an implication merely by its use in the passage. The mockingbird symbolizes innocence in this text. Like hunters who slay mockingbirds for sport, the same way innocence is killed or those who are innocent. People slay the innocent as if it were a sport and without contemplating about their actions. Harper Lee, the author of the novel, integrated the imagery of the mockingbird and the scholars have noted that the author often goes back to the mockingbird motif when intending to put across a moral point.
The so-called mockingbird is a major motif of this novel. This motif first comes into scene when Atticus, the narrator's father, having given air-rifles to his children, allows their Uncle to coach them sport shooting during Christmas. Atticus is a strong advocate who does not yield in his defense of innocence. Though he gave his children a riffle, he urges them not to kill mockingbirds both figuratively and literally.
The mockingbird motif appears four times in the narrative. First, when Atticus, the narrator's father gives Scout (the narrator) and Jem air riffles for Christmas and urges them not to shoot mockingbirds. Their father instructs them that, while they can "kill all the bluejays as they whish", they must not forget that "it's a sin to shoot a mockingbird"(Lee 98) Mystified by this warning, Scout approaches Miss Maudie, her neighbor, who points out that mockingbirds are harmless to other creatures. Miss Maudie explains that mockingbirds merely provide ecstasy with their singing, adding that, "They sing their hearts out for us."(Lee 99)
Second, the mockingbird motif arises when the storyteller writes about the death Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is one among several innocent souls destroyed intentionally or carelessly throughout the narrative. The writer summarized the mockingbird motif when he wrote, "To kill a mockingbird is to slay that which is harmless and innocent-like Robinson. Tom Robinson was accused wrongfully by Ewell Mayella of attacking her. During the trial of Robinson, Atticus proves that Ewell Mayella's claim of being attacked by Robinson is not true (114). However, the all-white panel of judges verdicts Robinson as guilty of the charges against him. After this trial of Robinson, Bob Ewell, the father wicked of Mayella, is determined to get revenge on Atticus for having proved him a liar (Lee 225).
Third, the symbolic mockingbird sings right before Jem and Scout are attacked by Bob Ewell. The attack is carried out in the fall, on their way home from a Halloween pageant. Jem and Scout are attacked merely for the reason that their father- Atticus is standing for the justice a black man. Even their very own relatives mock and look down on them. These children and especially Scout who is unaware of racial prejudice are mockingbirds and they learn through the hard way.
Lastly, Scout agrees with his father Atticus that prosecuting Boo Radley for the murder of Bob Ewell's would be like slaying a mockingbird. Atticus concludes "I think I am starting to understand why Boo stayed holed up in the house for such a long time. It is because he desires to stay indoors."-(Lee 240). Near the end of the play, Scout states that, "Well, it'd be kind of like slaying a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"
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