Literary Analysis To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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In the novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee there are many characters that represent or symbolize mockingbirds. Mockingbirds are supposed to resemble innocence. In the novel, the most apparent mockingbirds in the story are Boo Radley, Jem, and Scout and they convey the motifs of appearance vs. reality, bravery and courage, and growing up. As Atticus, Lee’s protagonist says, “‘I’d rather you shot at at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’. This short literary analysis essay will be helpful in understanding what are the main symbols in the novel.

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As you read the novel Jem matures over time and his idea of bravery changes. Jem gets influenced by the brave people in Maycomb. Atticus plays a big role in influencing Jem with his bravery, and helps Jem grow up and teaches him the right values in life. In the text it states, “Jem stood in thought so long that Dill made a mild concession: ‘I won’t say you ran out on a dare an’ I’ll swap you The Gray Ghost if you just go up and touch the house.’ Jem brightened. ‘Touch the house, that’s all?’ Dill nodded. ‘Sure that’s all, now?’ I don’t want you hollerin’ something different the minute I get back’. Although Jem was scared of the Radley’s house, Jem did not want to turn down the dare. Jem overcomes his fear and runs to touch the Radley’s house. Jem does not want to show Dill he is scared. Jem also shows his bravery when he protects his sister when they were walking home and Bob Ewell tries to attack them. In the text it states, “‘Run Scout! Run! Run!’ Jem screamed. I took one giant step and found myself reeling: my arms useless, in the dark, I could not keep my balance. ‘Jem , Jem, help me, Jem!’. Jem yells out run to Scout but Scout’s dress gets stuck and Jem grabs her and drags her to the road. Both of these quotes show Jem’s bravery because of Boo Radley’s house which no one will ever step near and when he tries to help his sister when Bob Ewell attacks them to get his revenge on Atticus. Jem is a mockingbird because he grows up into one with his bravery to help him.

In Maycomb County everyone knows Scout for being a Tomboy. As all children are, Scout starts off as really innocent. As you read the novel Scout is growing up and maturing. She learns how racist the town is. She learns how people in the town are prejudice. She learns how the town is empathetic. In the text it states, “‘I declare to the lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl everyday!’. This quotes shows that Scout is growing up and maturing into a girl and is not acting like a tomboy anymore. She is maturing because at that moment Dill and Jem wants to peek into the Radley house to see what Boo looks like, so she follows them. Scout also matures when she stands on the Radley’s porch. She realizes you can’t judge people. In the text it states, “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” Both of these quotes show that Scout is growing up because she starts to learn as she does these actions, the first quote shows her curiosity for Boo and the second quote shows to never judge a book by its cover. Scout is a mockingbird because she learns many lessons as she grows up, and learns from them so she does not make the same mistake or trouble.

“Heck Tate comments on Boo Radley heroics as well as his innocence”. Boo Radley is often viewed as a monster. Boo Radley is a mockingbird because he is innocent and sweet. In the book his innocence is shown when he leaves little gifts for Scout and Jem. The gifts he left are in a tree. He leaves things such as gum, soap that was carved that looked like Jem and Scout, and twine. In the text it states, “Jem and I were trotting in our orbit one mild October afternoon when our knothole stopped us again. Something white was inside this time. Jem let me do the honors: I pulled out two small images carved in soap”. In the book, Boo Radley does not mean any harm towards Jem and Scout. He seems very caring towards Jem and Scout. Both of these quotes show Boo’s innocent throughout the book, the appearance vs. reality. Everyone in the town besides Jem and Scout think Boo is a monster which is the appearance, but the reality is, is that Boo is innocent and sweet, therefore he is also a mockingbird.

There are many mockingbirds in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. A mockingbird is a symbol of innocence. Evidence for this is shown through the characters of Jem, Scout, and Boo Radley each in their own way. Through Scout’s narration she tells how each person is a mockingbird. They all individually represent the motifs of appearance vs. reality, bravery and courage, and growing up. In life there are real mockingbirds. The mockingbirds do not harm anyone, therefore we should not bother them or be rude.

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