To Kill a Mockingbird Analysis

In To Kill a Mockingbird, the author Harper Lee has explored themes and ideas through the characters, settings and plot of her novel.   Through investigating the troubled situation of America’s South in her novel, Lee has demonstrated the various aspects of human evil and how they have shaped a profound impact on the small community of Maycomb. The forms of human evil that Lee has explored are the destruction of innocence, hypocrisy and racial segregation.

The destruction of innocence is constantly shown throughout the characters of the novel. Lee has emphasised the purity and innocence by ingeniously symbolising these characters as ‘mockingbirds’. ‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make us music for us to enjoy, this is why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’. Lee has utilised the technique of symbolism in this quote to emphasise the purity of innocent beings and how wrong it is to bring death to innocence. The two mockingbird figures in the novel are Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. These two characters were never harmful to Maycomb, yet they were needlessly tormented and persecuted by the society. ‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, but if you can’t hit them, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’, the use of analogy has cleverly emphasised the wrong in killing innocent beings. In Tom Robinson’s case his innocence was sacrificed in order to uphold the rigid and invisible racist code of America’s South- ‘all Negros lie, all Negros are immoral beings and all Negros are not to be trusted around white women’. The use of repetition in this quote reinforces the evil stereotypical view of black people at the time. Similarly, Boo Radley never caused any harm to society, yet he was the ‘monster’ in Jem’s and Scout’s fantasies. ‘Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. Any stealthy crimes committed were his work’, the use of exaggeration and metaphor in the quote emphasises the extent of antagonism Boo had to face from inside the prison of his home. Both...
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    Johnson, Claudia Durst. Understanding To Kill A Mockingbird. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1960...