Who are the Mockingbirds in the novel, and how does this symbol work?.
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird there are many symbols used, one of these is the Mockingbird symbol. The "mockingbirds" in the novel are Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. A quote, which comes up numerous times in the book, is "It is a sin to kill a Mockingbird." .
The symbol of the "mockingbirds" is used throughout the text when Scout says, "It's a sin to Kill A Mockingbird". This sets the reader up so when Tom Robinson does get killed the reader realises that Tom Robinson was a "mockingbird". What the symbol is supposed to be showing is how innocent the mockingbirds are and this is done through the actions of the two acclaimed "mockingbirds", Tom and Boo.
The quote mentioned above is really saying it is a sin to persecute the innocent. In this case Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are the innocent. The word sin is more than an offence or crime but more a moral crime than an illegal crime. Morals are the judgements, values and beliefs of people and their attitudes about different issues.
The "mockingbirds" in the novel are people but the true bird is a bird, which brings pleasure to people and does no harm. So the people like Tom Robinson and Boo are people who have not done anything to anyone except good things. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are innocent people and are victims of prejudice.
Tom Robinson is a "mockingbird" because he has no choice where he is on the "social ladder" because he is a Negro. Even the scum of the town, the Ewells, are placed higher than Tom because they are white. Tom had worked all his life even with only one useful arm and did nothing to anyone except help them. But because Robinson was black he was not on a level playing field. He had to work hard just to get where he was which wasn't very far but he did it. Tom even helped Mayala Ewell to do some of her chores without any pay.
When Tom went to court for supposedly raping Mayala Ewell, he was convicted.