Destabilizing Innocence: Lee Harper's To Kill A Mockingbird Essay

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To Kill a Mockingbird, was published by Harper Lee in 1960, during the Civil Rights Movement. It takes place in Maycomb, Alabama in 1936 and is narrated by Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, as she recollects her childhood. The book holds many different messages, the main one centering around southern life and racial injustice. In the book, many of the characters, are affected by racial injustice, as it leads to a loss of innocence and an examination of southern life. The mockingbird is used to symbolize innocence. A mockingbird is a harmless bird whose main goal is to make the world more pleasant by copying the music of other birds. In chapter 10, Atticus tells Jem,”I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after …show more content…
273) Quite simply, he was saying that many people would look at Tom Robinson, not as a person, but as a mockingbird. They would look at him, and see all the Negro men who have hurt them, or their families, they would punish him, because of what others have done. In the case of southern life, we look at Arthur “Boo” Radley. Due to the fact that he was different, people automatically stereotyped him. They assumed that he was a troublemaker and unfit for their society. They inadvertently ostracized him, by telling tales about him, which led to the children being afraid of him, before they even knew him. After Bob Ewell attacked Jem and Scout, and Boo Radley saved them, Scout told Atticus, while he was putting her to sleep, "An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice...Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." (pg. 376) In that instance, she inadvertently brought up Boo Radley, even though she was talking about Stoner's Boy from The Gray Ghost. She essentially summarized what happened when she finally met

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