Homework Help

Why did Harper Lee name this book "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

user profile pic

pothead | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 8, 2009 at 10:37 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Why did Harper Lee name this book "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 8, 2009 at 11:40 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The title represents the symbolic mockingbird, which Tom Robinson represents.  Towards the beginning of the book, Scout mentions their play guns that they were playing with, and Atticus tells them to never shoot a mockingibird with them.  He states that it is a sin to shoot one.  Why shoot something that is so innocent, and just there singing its pretty song?  It would be an atrocity.  At the end, as Tom Robinson is shot trying to escape, the comparison is made--Tom is the innocent mockingbird, just trying to live his life in peace, and they shoot him, and it's a sin. It also symbolizes the jury's decision to find an innocent man guilty of a crime that he didn't commit; they essentially ended Tom's life that day.

I hope that helps.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes