In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses characters to convey the theme that it is a sin to harm those who do not harm others.  Choose three people in the novel to illustrate this...

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses characters to convey the theme that it is a sin to harm those who do not harm others.  

Choose three people in the novel to illustrate this theme. Please help ♥ it would be much appreciated.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many ways, Harper Lee's novel is a narrative with the underlying Christian motifs of charity and love.  For, Atticus continually instructs his children to be charitable in their conduct towards the meek and humble such as Mr. Dolphus Raymond, and Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, the two mockingbirds of To Kill a Mockingbird

Tom Robinson

Despite the Jim Crow Laws of his day and the pejorative names and remarks directed to him all his life, Tom Robinson has Christian charity in his heart at all times.  Without understanding how damaging his statement in court is to him, Tom speaks from his heart when he testifies that he felt sorry for Mayella and tried to help her when she seemed so desolate.  Truly, he exemplifies the Good Samaritan.

Boo Radley

Like Tom, Boo thinks from his heart.  Alienated from others in a different way from Tom, Boo reaches out to the children by sewing and folding Jem's torn pants from the night of sneaking up to the Radley house. He leaves trickets and gum for the childdren in the hole of the tree.  And, when Scout and Jem are threatened by Bob Ewell,  Boo risks his life, just as Tom unwittingly has, to extend charity to his neighbors.

Mr. Dolphus Raymond

A sensitive and intuitive man, as well, Mr. Raymond is like the other two men in that he is ridiculed and disparaged because he has broken the social norms by living with the blacks and by having mixed children.  But, when Dill cries one day after court releases, it is Mr. Raymond who understands the great cruelty and injustice of man.

"Things haven't caught up with that one's instinct yet. Let him get a little older and he won't get sick and cry.  Maybe things'll strike him as being--not quite right, say, but he won't cry, not when he gets a few years on him."

Charitably, Mr. Raymond comforts the children and gives them a sip of his Coca Cola, revealing his secret that he lets people think he is a drunk because then they can categorize him more easily. 

Mockingbirds sing for no apparent reason other than to bring joy to the air; they hurt no one.  Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are innocents who harm no one and just wish to bring a song to someone's heart.  While Mr. Raymond knows the darkness of man's heart, he yet offers solace to the children; he would harm no one.



bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indeed, Harper Lee created a number of characters that symbolically served as human mockingbirds during the story. Most of the children fit the description of harmless innocents, but several adults do as well.

BOO RADLEY.  Despite his reputation for prowling at night and eating animals raw, Boo is a harmless man whose life has been permanently altered by his overly strict and religious parents. After making a youthful mistake, he is shut away inside the Radley house, never to be seen again during daylight hours. He is blamed for most of the unexplained acts that occur in Maycomb, and he is feared by the town's children (and many adults as well). When we finally meet Boo, he is neither ghoulish nor a raving lunatic: He is painfully shy and withdrawn, but a man who risks his own life to save the young neighbors that he has silently observed from afar.

TOM ROBINSON.  Like Boo, Tom's reputation is forever marred by one event--in Tom's case, the false accusation of rape by Mayella Ewell. An honest, hard-working family man, Tom's crippled arm should serve notice to the jury that he could not have committed the crime for which he was accused. In the end, he is the innocent human mockingbird who is killed by bullets--a sin that would not have occurred had the jury heeded Atticus' words of advice.

DILL HARRIS.  More than any of the other children, Dill fits the human mockingbird persona. Bright, personable, curious and loving, he is nevertheless neglected by his parents and abandoned each summer with his aunt in Maycomb. He is attracted to the mystery of Boo Radley, and he is affected more by the inhumane treatment Tom Robinson receives in the courtroom.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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