A symbol in a piece of literature is a recurring object, color, etc., that is used to support a major theme in that piece of literature.
To understand the significance of Tom Robinson representing the symbol of a mockingbird, one needs to recall Atticus' instructions to the children when they received their air rifles as gifts, and Miss Maudie's explanation:
“Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The overall concept is that it is ethically wrong to harm anything or anyone that does nothing to harm others—it's wrong to harm an innocent.
There are a couple of characters in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that can be seen as mockingbirds . One in particular is Tom Robinson, a...
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