Who are three characters in the book who symbolize a mockingbird? What are the reasons for each of the characters? The three characters I was thinking of were Atticus, Boo, and Tom.  But how do...

Who are three characters in the book who symbolize a mockingbird? What are the reasons for each of the characters? 

The three characters I was thinking of were Atticus, Boo, and Tom.  But how do they symbolize a mockingbird?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    I believe you have two of the three possible mockingbirds correct, Kelly.
    There are several characters who are symbolically representative of the cheerful bird in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are the two most obvious adult examples, while Scout, Jem and even Dill can be considered mockingbirds among the children of the story.
    Atticus explains to Scout early in the story that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Miss Maudie further illustrates that the mockingbird has only one real purpose: to sing its heart out and to make people happy with its music. On a larger symbolic scale, the mockingbird represents sweetness and innocence, childlike qualities in humanity that are part of Scout, Jem and Dill. They are too young to have become hateful or evil, and they still see things from a simple perspective. The same can be said of Boo, who has retreated into his home and thereby is oblivious to the evils of the outside world. We find later that Boo is gentle, kind and loving. Tom Robinson is also a mockingbird, a simple, good-hearted man who actually helps Mayella when she requests it (knowing that it could be troublesome for him). When he admits in court that he "felt right sorry for her," it seals his fate. He has told the truth but has been too honest, further strengthening his mockingbird-like character.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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