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How do Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird symbolize a mockingbird?  

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melissasimp | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 1, 2011 at 11:44 AM via web

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How do Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird symbolize a mockingbird?

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 1, 2011 at 12:52 PM (Answer #1)

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The mockingbird is a symbol of innocence in the novel: Atticus and Miss Maudie explain that the birds don't harm gardens or "nest in corncribs;" they only sing and make people happy. Like a mockingbird, children are generally a joy for most people, free from committing the sins that come with growing up. Atticus' warning to Jem about shooting a mockingbird is not heeded by all people, and some shoot them for fun; Bob Ewell's attempt to harm Jem and Scout is a parallel to such actions. The innocence of Jem and Scout remains throughout the story, though they witness actions that are far from innocent: The Ewells accuse an innocent man of terrible crimes; the jury condemns Tom Robinson in spite of evidence to the contrary; racism is seen among churchgoers and teachers; and they are attacked by a man who seeks revenge on a man by killing his children. Yet in the end, the children survive, and their neighbors will continue to enjoy them for the remainder of their days of innocence.

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