How does Boo/Tom "sing" or "fly" like a mockingbird?I have a symbols essay, and I have to explain how Boo/Tom flies or sings like a mockingbird. For Tom he "flies" when he is trying to get free...

How does Boo/Tom "sing" or "fly" like a mockingbird?

I have a symbols essay, and I have to explain how Boo/Tom flies or sings like a mockingbird. For Tom he "flies" when he is trying to get free from the courtyard, but my teacher said that isn't a good enough reason. If anyone knows, any help is welcome.

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mockingbird symbolism is rampant in To Kill a Mockingbird. Tom and Boo are certainly two of the primary adult examples. I'm not sure I would use the "fly" terminology extensively, but Tom certainly yearns for the freedom to flee from his incarceration as you have mentioned. Both Boo and Tom have the characteristics of the novel's explanation of the bird: Mockingbirds serve no purpose but to make music and make others happy. They do not destroy crops nor prey on other creatures. They are small and innocent beings. Tom and Boo both fit this criteria. I suppose Boo "flies" when he leaves the safety of his self-imposed exile within his home to save Jem and Scout, just as he does on the other occasions when he ventures into the outside world to mend Jem's pants and cover Scout from the cold.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the previous editor. The mockingbird 'sings'. Boo and Tom sing.

That singing is an expression of their innocence. So for Tom, he sings when he sits on the witness stand, takes the ridicule of Mr. Gilmer, and tells the truth when Atticus calls upon him to do so. It would have been easy for Tom to confess to something he didn't do and hope for a gentler sentence. Oftentimes a court acts compassionately on a criminal they believe has remorse for their crime.

Boo likewise sings. His song is not audible. His gestures intended to develop relationship with children communicate his innocence. He communicates his innocence by acting when he is needed. He saves the children from Bob Ewell and that is the biggest statement any man could make on behalf of kids.

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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