Innocence is a state of being that in life could be chosen to be given away or take away, and many things are symbols of the people have.
An example can be found in the symbolism of mockingbirds in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee parallels the killing of mockingbirds to the persecution of Tom Robinson, the prejudice of Arthur-Boo-Radley, and the coming-of-age of Jem Finch to symbolize the destruction of innocence.Tom Robinson’s parallel to a mockingbird is the same way a person being guilty of something they didn’t do. At the end of it all, Tom is shot while he was trying to run away or escape. A comparison can be made between Tom Robinson and the symbolism of a mockingbird when in chapter 25, it states, “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.
” The comparison is, much like the quote in chapter 10, when Atticus tells Scout and Jem that,”…it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” it was a sin to kill Tom because it was senseless since he was innocent in the end. The parallel Harper Lee makes between mockingbirds and Arthur Radley has to do again with innocence.
The reason Arthur is a mockingbird is that he is still innocent, he wasn’t out in society due to their beliefs of him being a monster, but in reality, he was a shy and timid man who had been shaped into what the citizens of Maycomb wanted to see. This observation can be furthered by the description Jem gives in chapter one by saying,”Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were bloodstained…and he drooled most of the time.” In chapter 31, Scout gives the more accurate description when she sees Arthur for the first time, by stating, “His face was as white as his hands, but for a shadow on his jutting chin. His cheeks were thin to hollowness; his mouth was wide; there were shallow, almost delicate indentations at his temples, and his gray eye were so colorless I thought he was blind” By reading the change in descriptions from the first to one of the last chapters in the book, Arthur seems to transform from a monster into a shy and innocent man who hasn’t been outside in the world for years.
Jems parallel to mockingbirds, along with the other children, is that they are innocent and kind-hearted as well. Throughout the book we see Jem become nicer and more innocent to the world and people around him. In chapter 11 Jem reads to Ms. Dubose after destroying her camellias. Later in the chapter, Atticus explains that by Jem reading to her he helped her overcome her morphine addiction. Atticus states, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” From Jem being kind-hearted to innocent in not knowing that he was actually helping Ms.
Dubose, to Atticus explaining that Ms. Dubose was courageous and brave and he wanted Jem to see this, shows how Jem can be paralleled to a mockingbird. This is because he is kind-hearted and innocent when it comes to helping Ms. Dubose. In all, there are many people who can be considered mockingbirds, but throughout the book, Tom, Arthur, and Jem show the most signs of being mockingbirds in the book. This is because of the times and places innocence they show throughout.
Such as how Tom is innocent in the courthouse, Arthur is innocent when placed next to the monster people make him out to be, and Jem is innocent because of his kind-heart. In the end, they all symbolize innocence, and that innocence is symbolized by the mockingbirds in the story.