In Harper Lee's highly successful novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, the author uses the literary device of a metaphor as a major motif in the book. Set in the 1930s Deep South - a time of great prejudice and racism- the novel unfolds as an account of injustice to the most gracious yet unjustly accused citizens of the town of Maycomb. The gentle, but African-American Tom Robinson is unfairly put on trial for the alleged rape of young Mayella Ewell. Boo Radley is victimized and ostracized by the community based on the town fables that the citizens have created about him, forcing him to live in solitude inside his house. Atticus Finch is ridiculed by the townspeople for being a moral human being and sticking to his beliefs in defending an innocent colored man.
Yet a wise man such as Atticus does not fully understand how the citizens of Maycomb can be so irrational and unjust in their prejudiced views of others. This is shown in Part one of Harper Lee’s novel as Atticus tells his brother Jack, ‘Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I will never truly understand.’ Atticus is a great influence on Scout through his actions and words, however he does not force her to act in this way. Atticus has the highest respect for everyone in Maycomb, regardless of gender, age or race. This is shown in his defence for Tom Robinson and his employment and loyalty to Calpurnia. He also demonstrates this when he explains Boo-Radley’s situation and reprimands Scout for treating a boy at her school badly because he was of lower class.
Many people have the belief that Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, as an autobiography of her own life, including the racism she witnessed (Smith). The turning point in To Kill a Mockingbird is based on the Jim Crow Laws. The term “Jim Crow” came from a one man show song “Jump Jim Crow”. “Jump Jim Crow” was written by Thomas Rice in 1828. Thomas Rice was a white man who painted his face with black paint and represented a poor black man.
He is highly respected within Maycomb, Judge Taylor says that he is “always courteous to everybody” and Miss Maudie proclaims “we trust him to do right.” Even though Atticus actions of protecting Tom Robinson brought him to be the object of scorn in Maycomb ironically he is a heroic figure in the novel. He is a widower left with two lovable children, Jem and Scout. Lee presents him as a conscientious father, he is honest, straightforward, and throughout the novel he listens to them and deals with any questions they may ask. He says to his brother Jack, “when a child asks you something answer him.” Atticus treats his children as adults; he believes they can “spot an evasion quicker than adults.” Atticus practices the ethic of sympathy and understanding that he preaches to Scout and Jem and never holds a grudge against the people of Maycomb despite their callous indifference to racial inequality. He is sensitive in his treatment of people and he understands other individual’s feelings.
Perhaps mockingbirds’ beautiful voices is the reason why Harper Lee chose them to symbolize “innocence and vulnerability” in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (Bernard 78). Whatever the reason, Lee repeatedly emphasizes that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, which later becomes a symbol for Tom, Boo, and racism in general. The theme of racism is primarily portrayed through Lee’s use of symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird, a story in the 1930s South where racism, although much changed, still prevails today. Although racism still exists, portrayals such as the ones in Lee’s novel have changed people’s views on African Americans and other races. The mockingbird is a major symbol in the novel because of Atticus’ belief that it is a sin to kill this bird.
At that time, Atticus’ city is located in Alabama which racism is prevailed all the states. In spite of prejudice that the black is always doing wrong, Atticus decides to defend a black guy, Tom Robinson who is accused of raping whiter woman. Even though Atticus’
Nine boys set out to look for jobs out of state but only to find themselves in a handful of trouble. The nine boys were later known as the Scottsboro Boys. The Scottsboro trials were the main source for Harper Lee in writing her book. Harper Lees novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, shows courage in a small town in Alabama. Shows the reader racial characteristics of the south in 1935.
In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee displays several examples and representations of the Jim Crow Laws. Harper Lee illustrated how the Jim Crow Laws affected Calpurnia the black housemaid and other characters as well. At first, the Jim Crow Laws were proposed to restrain blacks and poor whites from
Racism What does racism mean to you? In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee has many examples of racism throughout her book; since the setting of the book took place in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s, segregation was still occurring. Everyone should be treated equally regardless their color, etc. The narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird is Scout Finch; she is also the protagonist of the story. Harper Lee uses the character Tom Robinson as character to use as an example to show how bad racism was back in the 1930’s.
He explains that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, because they don't do anything bad to anyone, they only sing. This same lesson can be applied to characters in Lee's novel, such as Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, based on the fact that they're innocent people that are harmed and wronged by the evils of humanity. In some way, each of them are like mockingbirds, and by harming them, innocence is destroyed. The idea of mockingbirds representing innocence is a lasting one for the duration of the novel, and forces readers to take a look at the bigger picture. Perhaps the most relatable event to the symbolism, the Tom Robinson case depicts the destruction of innocence first hand.