Why Is It A Sin To Kill A Mockingbird

Why is the title To Kill a Mockingbird full of significance and who is the mocking bird?

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withnail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it is wrong to kill a mockingbird; Miss Maudie explains later that this is because mockingbirds are songbirds which do nothing but give pleasure to people. The mockingbird's death is thus symbolic of any loss of innocence. The symbolism of the mockingbird can be applied to many people in the novel. Jem and Scout are both mockingbirds because the innocence of their lives is shattered; Boo Radley's cruel parents robbed him of his innocence; Tom Robinson died despite his innocence. To kill a mockingbird is thus to rob a person of their innocence, and that is a major theme in the novel, especially where Jem is concerned.

psychohellkat | Student

Many characters within the book are 'Mockingbirds' (Although the main one is Tom Robinson). The mockingbird was supposed to represent inosence and the title also refers to Atticus' quote ".....remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

If you reword the quote

".....remember it's a sin to kill an inocent man"

Mockingbird = Tom Robinson = Inocent man

The entire quote gives away the story plot if looked at carefully. 

"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember, it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

The bluejay represents the bad people (eg. Bob Ewell) and how he didn't get caught for the crime he obviously commited.

The entire quote reworded:

"Arrest all the bad people you want, if you can CATCH them, but remember, it's a sin to kill and inocent man."

geekygirl | Student

The title To Kill A Mockingbird is robbing those who are innocent of their innocence. Mockingbirds do no harm and do no wrong. In the book Tom Robinson has done no wrong but his innocence is taken. Jem and Scout had to grow up faster than they should have. They had to become somebody different that they would have because of the Tom Robinson case. Jem and Scout were robbed of their childhood innocence and were forced to be adults before others that were their age.

To kill a mockingbird is a sin like Atticus had said at the beginning of the book because they do nothing but make music for everyone to listen to. Tom Robinson was killed but did nothing wrong. The title is very appropriate for the book because of the contents it holds.

esha25 | Student

The title is full of significant as in the book, mockingbirds like Tom Robinson is being 'killed'

There is a lot of mockingbirds: 

Tom Robinson

Arthur Boo  Radley

And even Atticus in some way!!! 

emily94 | Student

the mockingbird represents Tom Robinson.  he is proven innocent and yet is found guilty.  This ties in to how Atticus mentions the fact that "it is a sin to kill a mckingbird," becuase they are harmless, respectable creatures who do nothing but provide beautiful music for the people.  It is ironic though, that Tom should be senteced when he is just as guiltless/harmless as a mockingbird.  The people agree that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, but dont think twice about killing a human being.

coolgirl | Student

i think there are two people in the novel who are called the mockingbirds and it's Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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