In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does the title relate to the theme?

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kkosach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus tells the children that it is "a sin to kill a mockingbird" because mockingbirds only make music for people to enjoy.  The children, therefore, are not allowed to shoot mockingbirds.  It is a sin to prosecute Tom Robinson for a crime he doesn't commit - Tom is innocent.  Not only that, Tom, like the mockingbird, is harmless - he could not have beaten Mayella and bruised her because the blows on her face were on her right side - Tom's left hand is useless and therefore could have not struck her there.  Tom could not have placed finger marks around her neck for the same reason.

hi1954 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That's a great answer, and it does draw the parallel between the mockingbird and Tom Robinson.  But I've often wondered more about this title; does it also refer to Boo Radley?  Was his unique voice stilled by his family, because he was "different"?  Is it a sin equal to killing a mockingbird for the innocence of Scout to be scarred by the events of the trial and the attempted revenge?  The title can be applied to the events of the book in several ways, all thought provoking.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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