In to Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus says it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Is this taken from a source or did Harper Lee make it up out of her mind?Quote by Atticus: "Shoot all the bluejays you...

In to Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus says it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. Is this taken from a source or did Harper Lee make it up out of her mind?

Quote by Atticus: "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

Atticus says this when Scout and Jem get air rifles for Christmas.

Expert Answers
jblederman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird is a proverb. There is no particular source for the quotation. Mockingbirds are found as far north as Canada, so it is difficult even to discern a geographical origin for the idea behind the proverb. Mockingbirds were even popularly kept as pets, as demonstrated in the lullabye "Hush Little Baby":

Hush little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring.

 

asa144 | Student

I guess it's because Mockingbirds are so harmless and do nothing but sing their hearts out to us. To kill a mockingbird is to take the life of something innocent and sweet. I believe that it's also referring to the killing of Tom Robinson. He was the mockingbird, both innocent and good and was unjustly killed.

bhargavat | Student

I beleive that she made it up. only the book says it's a sin to kill a mockingbird

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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