Innocence In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Superior Essays
“Innocence is like polished armor; it adorns and defends,” as stated by Robert South. A human’s innocence is at their peak during their childhood. Although, as one ages, they begin to lose their innocence as they are faced with suffering, evil and injustice around them. Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird depicts Scout, a young immature girl growing up in a small town and learning the ways of the world. Through many conflicts she faces, and the many characters she encounters, she begins to see discrimination, and cruelty in life and begins to view the world through a whole new perspective. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Lee uses the mockingbird as a symbol to represent this idea of innocence and purity, and the killing of the mockingbird as the destruction …show more content…
Atticus explains that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (90) since it would compare to the idea of killing pure innocence. A mockingbird that is killed in the novel is Tom Robinson. For instance, during Tom’s testimony, it is revealed that he is a very innocent and pure man. It is announced that when Tom would be going by the house of Mayella Ewell, “she’d have little somethin’ for [him] to do - choppin’, kindlin’, totin’ water” (191). Tom would not only do what she asked for him, but he would do it without any charge. He explains that his reasons for doing everything without getting paid were that “he felt sorry for her” (197). For Tom to repeatedly help someone Mayella because he pitied for her unveils how wholesome, compassionate and hardworking Tom is. These characteristics depict Tom’s resemblance to a mockingbird, as like them he pours out his songs of sympathy in a kind of blissful unawareness of the consequences.. The other reason why Tom is a mockingbird in the novel is that he is slain by injustice and racial prejudice from his society. Before Atticus takes Tom’s case, he admits that Tom is ‘licked’, and that he “was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed” (241). Mayella’s accusation of Tom raping her comes from her effort to cover her shame of liking a Negro. While saving her honor, she sins by killing a mockingbird in her town. She destroys the life of Tom, a person who is pure, and innocent, and has never harmed her. Atticus makes it clear that Tom “would not have dared strike a white woman under any circumstances” (195), still the court fails to accept so. They are unwilling to accept that a black man felt pity for a white woman, as they let racial prejudice guide their judgement of pronouncing Tom as guilty. Here, they too commit a sin, and cause Tom to be convicted, and eventually killed. Mr. Underwood even compares his death to “the

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