What songs could represent themes or characters in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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lemon517 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout is an independent spitfire. Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent" captures a bit of her personality. At first, Scout is staunchly independent and unwilling to conform, though as the story goes on, she recognizes the importance of biting her tongue at times and not being so pigheaded. In the song, Clarkson's character "Miss Independent" also learns that being self-sufficient closes her off to a relationship, "So, by changing her misconceptions, She went in a new direction."

Boo Radley's father secludes him from the outside world. Simon and Garfunkel's "I am a Rock" is about a man who is alone because he chooses to be. He says that he is both a rock and an island because "a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries." While the man sings that he is protected because he touches no one and no one touches him, it is understood that he has been hurt badly by someone and has built a wall around his heart to protect against future heartbreak. Boo Radley's prison is not self-imposed, but he shares some similarities with the man from the song. Boo is alone. He only has one person--himself--to talk to. His father took away his one outlet to the outside world (the knothole in the tree). Boo is forced to forge on by himself.

Tom Robinson shows incredible bravery by telling his story to a jury and courtroom packed full of racists. Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" is a song about taking a stand for your rights in the midst of injustice. The song is a rallying cry to fight for what is just, not just for yourself, but for your family and for all those who come after you. By testifying in the trial and telling the truth, Tom wants to clear his name, but he is also standing up to the injustices that all black people faced when accused by a white person of a crime; they were assumed guilty, which is against the US Constitution. Tom stood up for his rights, for his family's rights, and for the rights of all black people.

Atticus faces a multitude of problems when he takes on Tom Robinson as a client, including the degradation of having Mr. Ewell spit in his face. He does not retaliate, though, which greatly upsets his children at first. He is teaching them a critical lesson about being the bigger person in times of conflict and not stooping to the level of others. Argent's "Hold your head up" is an anthem to those who, like Atticus, are facing challenges and being ridiculed in the process. The chorus repeats over and over to hold your head up. Atticus, through his example, teaches his children that no matter what people shout or how they look at you, don't stray from what you believe you should do.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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