Atticus tells the children they're not to kill mockingbirds because doing so is a sin. Explain Atticus' logic.

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus tells his children it is a sin to kill a mockingbird:

 Atticus tells the children that it is a sin To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout reflects that it is the only time that she ever hears Atticus say it is a sin to do something. He explains that mockingbirds make music. They do not eat up gardens or nest in corncribs. They merely sing for others to enjoy.

He is trying to make a point. A mockingbird is innocent, small and helpless. This is why Atticus points out that it is sin to kill a mockingbird. His comment is in relation to the title of the novel. The point the author is making is that there are people who are innocent, small and helpless. The people should protect the innocent people. 

The author is referring to Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. While many people judge Tom by the color of his skin, Atticus defends Tom in much the same way he defends a mockingbird. Atticus also insists that the children leave Boo Radley alone. Atticus takes up for those who are helpless and innocent. When he refers to the mockingbird, he is making an analogy that shows how Tom Robinson is innocent. Likewise, Atticus teaches his children to respect the mockingbirds of the world. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are two innocent mockingbirds. The people of Maycomb have destroyed both Tom and Boo. Atticus will not have his children to do likewise. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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