Innocence through a child’s eye. This literary device is used to regard a representation of an object or character and can be used to go beyond the understanding of something abstract. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, symbolism is portrayed through many characters when Atticus gives Jem and Scout air rifles yet refuses to teach them how to shoot. The protagonist, Scout, witnesses her father tell Jem to shoot at blue jays because it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. However, as a child, his explanation could only get her to fathom so much. Curious as to what Atticus meant, Scout searches for Miss Maudie to clarify. As Miss Maudie knowledgeably answers. Her explanation of what Atticus is unable to provide clarification with helps Scout to comprehend more of what Atticus is trying to get them to contribute to their development. The symbol of the mockingbird portrays the innocence of characters being taken away and harmed by the evil that lurks in Maycomb. Although the role of innocence portraying the mockingbird is present through Boo Radley as he is characterized in the novel, another symbol of the mockingbird is shown through Atticus Finch.
Innocence, the symbol of the mockingbird, is seen through Scout’s perspective as shown through Boo Radley regardless if harm still comes to him. Bias, when Atticus questions where the blanket came from, Jem explains how they had followed his orders and to his astonishment, Jem had realized that it was Boo Radley’s doing. He pours out all their secret encounters with Boo trying to persuade Atticus not to return the blanket. Oblivious of whom Jem was rambling about, Atticus calmly answers. The mockingbird is a symbol of innocence, where Boo’s act of goodness had taken a huge risk by taking foot into the outside world. Knowing that if Mr. Nathan had found out, Boo would have been a victim of his abuse once again. Seeing Jem and Scout shiver at the gate, Boo wants to protect them and did such a forbidden and selfless act by stepping into the outside world because he was not supposed to. Although Boo is traumatized about being locked up and getting emotionally abused by his brother, he did not think of himself once and the consequences if he goes outside. Regardless of this, he still went and performed an act of kindness for Scout. As a result, Boo is a mockingbird because he demonstrates the concept of innocence. One can further see Boo’s innocence when Jem describes and accuses Boo to be a monster of Maycomb County, despite his innocence. Following the death of Mr. Radley, Boo’s elder brother, Nathan Radley, takes Mr. Radley’s position to harm Boo. Jem begins to pour out the rumors about Boo saying that he heard an unfortunate event from Miss Stephanie Crawford about Boo peering through her window at night. Jem also explains that he heard Boo scratching on the screen door. Jem exaggerates his description of Boo when he replies. This causes harm to Boo Radley because he is victimized of various unfortunate events that hold no proof of him committing them. The mockingbird, a symbol that represents the abstract of innocence, becomes the target of a metaphorical killing which in relation is abusing something innocent. Despite Jem not ever seeing Boo before, he perceives Boo to be a beast that feeds on animals and exaggerates on his appearance. Miss Maudie’s explanation about the sin to kill a mockingbird is portrayed through Boo as he has done no harm to anyone. Therefore, the concept of innocence is perceived through Boo Radley as he was a mockingbird because regardless of him being selfless, sin was still positioned upon him.
One can see the symbolism of the mockingbird present in Boo Radley but a more inconspicuous symbol was portrayed in Atticus Finch. The mockingbird symbolizes the concept of innocence which depicts Atticus Finch for which he is innocent, regardless if harm still comes to him. As Atticus gave Jem Mrs. Dubose’s present after she died, he comforts Jem telling him that it was her way of saying everything is fine now. Atticus acknowledges her for being a great lady; however, Jem was confused as to why he thought this. He explains to Jem the true concept of what real courage is by teaching him that. This act of goodness demonstrates Atticus’ innocence as he stands up against the white people’s prejudice views and puts all his effort into proving Tom’s innocence although he knows majority overrules this and the chances of him winning are hopeless. Atticus’ description of courage blends into his beliefs; he believes in equality and respect which leads him to taking an oath to defend Tom and accepting the case. As Scout was making her way back to her house, she spots the man carrying her injured brother home. Scout sees her worried father take Jem and carry him inside with the man following along. Concerned, Atticus wondered where Scout was and Aunt Alexandra spotted her by the entrance. Atticus came out of Jem’s room quickly and called the sheriff in a worried tone. Mockingbirds sing for one to enjoy, to kill a mockingbird is to destroy the innocence within. Atticus had felt destroyed after hearing that his children were hurt. He rushed to seek medical help for Jem because it pained him so much to see Jem in pain. He wanted help to come as fast as possible because he cannot leave Jem in pain and wanted to be by Jem’s side the whole way. By physically harming his children and almost taking their lives, this causes sin upon Atticus regardless of his innocence. The concept of the mockingbird explained by Miss Maudie is present in Atticus Finch as he has caused no harm to anyone but rather believes in respect and equality. The symbol of the mockingbird acts as a metaphor towards the wrong in harming innocent people. To conclude with, the symbol is recognized through Atticus Finch because despite his demonstration of his belief of respect and equality, his children were physically hurt therefore causing harm to him.
Conclusively, Boo Radley has a crucially and vital impact on portraying the role of innocence, the mockingbird, in addition, Atticus Finch also represents a major character as the role of the mockingbird. Boo Radley is a selfless and innocent character that does an act of goodness for Scout by placing a blanket over her to keep her warm. However, this act of kindness leads to many controversies surrounding the topic. Although Boo cared for them, he risked his chances of Mr. Nathan Radley finding out that he went outside and therefore Boo would have been a victim of his abuse once again. Boo was victimized for things he has not committed and Jem perceives Boo to be a monster regardless of never seeing him before. Atticus Finch is a character who stands up for his beliefs and equality. Atticus teaches Jem the true meaning of courage referring to how he accepted Tom Robinson’s case knowing he was not going to win the verdict. Harm was put on Atticus by his children almost getting their lives taken away. This affected him emotionally and therefore it is a sin, a sin to kill a mockingbird. The mockingbird symbol represents the innocence within, they are the ones that cause no harm but only do good. It appears that in this novel, characters are judged in society whether it is based on their morals, views or beliefs. Society is so intoxicated with racism that it comes to a point where no one realizes their errors which leads to a corrupted society. Harper Lee creates more than one mockingbird in the novel to show that there is a vile side to reality than one thinks. A novel written where no one’s life is taken away, no lives are on the line or only one character is harmed is a make-believe reality. Harper Lee shows the readers how cruel reality is and what really happens based on just racism, because that is what it means to kill a mockingbird.