To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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

Scout and Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird symbolize a mockingbird through the death of their innocent views due to various conflicts they are forced to face in the novel.

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The only time Scout can recall hearing Atticus talk to her and Jem about sinful behavior was when he was talking them them about guns and noted that it's a sin to kill mockingbirds. Scout later asks Miss Maudie, a maternal figure in her life, what Atticus meant by this. Miss Maudie explains,

Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.

There are a few people (or even ideas) which can be considered the symbolic mockingbirds of this novel. Jem and Scout are young and innocent as the novel opens. They enjoy playing in the yard and invent games of make-believe. Though they have lost their mother, their world is safe, supportive, and full of people who love them. In short, they know only goodness and believe the world to be a fair place.

Because of conflict, this has changed by the end of the book. They realize that bad...

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