Comparative Essay-to Kill a Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

1053 Words Jan 4th, 2013 5 Pages
Mrs. Teacher
Honors English 10
18 November 2012
Response to Literature
“The free bird thinks of another breeze….a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams…” The two literary works “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” can be seen as mockingbirds that have flown over fields of prejudice and repeat what they have seen for all to hear. Jem Finch, a young boy and lawyer’s son from “To Kill a Mockingbird” clearly symbolizes a mockingbird because of his youth and innocence, and because of his innocence he cannot fully understand the racism in the story. Jem also has many similarities to the caged and free birds in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, whether it be Jem’s
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“The day after Jem’s twelfth birthday his money was burning up his pockets, so we headed for town in the early afternoon.”(Lee, pg. 134) “’Judge, I—this note is from my sister. She says my children are missing, haven’t turned up since noon…I…could you—‘…Mr. Underwood spoke up. ‘They’re right up yonder in the colored balcony—been there since precisely one-eighteen p.m.’” (Lee, pg. 276) From these two quotes the reader can infer that the children are able to move around parts of Maycomb County that a child would be able to, freely. The first quote depicts the children roaming into town without any parental supervision. The second quote tells the reader the kids snuck away from their supervision and by themselves went to the courthouse where his father’s case took place. Since Jem is innocent, like a mockingbird, he doesn’t think of the repercussions of roaming around freely. This reinforces the idea that Jem and the free bird from “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” are similar because it shows they are both free to do what they please. Overall, Jem, the symbol of a mocking bird from “To Kill a Mockingbird” shares many similarities with both the caged and free birds. Jem is very similar to the caged bird after the case because he grows out of his innocence and reality hits him in the face causing him to build up resentment. Just as the caged bird held resentment against

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