Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

What is it to Kill a Mockingbird? Have you ever hurt someone for no apparent reason? Well guess what, you've just killed a mocking bird, a bird that sings it's heart out and does no harm. In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, several characters are "mockingbirds" in this story: Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond, and Tom Robinson.

Boo Radley was a "mockingbird". At the start of the book, Boo was cut out to be a psychotic, ugly killer. The way Jem described Boo to Dill made Boo come across as a very scary person. Later on in the story, Jem, Scout, and Dill, play a game called "Boo Radley". In this game they impersonate Boo and his family and make denigrating cracks about them. Several times in the book, Boo proves to be a nice person. He sews up Jem's pants when he gets them torn on the fence.

He leaves presents for the Finch's in his tree. He also covers up Scout with a blanket after they are attacked by Bob Ewell. At the end of the book, Heck Tate protects Boo. After the incident with Bob Ewell, Heck says that even though Boo may have helped, it is best to say Bob Ewell fell on his own knife. "Making Boo a hero and bringing him into the lime light would be a sin," said Tate, "The town just wouldn't be able to handle it and neither would Boo." All these things make Boo Radley a mockingbird because, although he did nothing but help other the town was prejudice against him because they didn't know who he was.

Dolphus Raymond was also a mockingbird. When he was introduced as a character, he was known as "the town drunk".

Maycomb had all sorts of stories and tales of who Dolphus Raymond was. Further in the story, the rumors are told.

The stories say he has racially mixed children and he prefers to be with the Blacks. The stories say he's always drunk; doesn't know what he's doing. During the trial, Dolphus Raymond reveals who he really is to Dill and Scout.

They find out that the bottle he drinks out of constantly is filled with Coca-Cola, not whiskey. Dolphus tells them that he takes the facade of the town drunk so the people of Maycomb won't ask him questions about his life every "two seconds". He says he has to hide in this community.

Dolphus Raymond isn't understood by adults. Yet, two children, Dill and Scout, comprehend his every word. He hides who he is every day. He never did anything wrong, he just fell for a black woman. These things make Dolphus Raymond a mockingbird.

Tom Robinson was also a mockingbird. When he was accused of beating and raping Mayella Ewell, many people thought, "He must have done it." They thought that because of the color of his skin; they thought that because he was black. Tom was as good as dead the second Mayella screamed rape. When the trial occurred, justice wasn't served. The prosecution had only circumstantial evidence. Not one shred of medical evidence was shown to the jury. Most of Mayella's injuries occurred on the right side of her face.

Bob Ewell is left-handed. Tom had an unusable left arm.

Yet, Tom was found guilty of the crime. Like Atticus said, "We were beat a hundred years ago." Towards the end of the book, Tom died. He was shot seventeen times for trying to escape from jail; from a place he didn't deserve to be! Bob Ewell killed Tom Robinson by lying in his testimony. Tom committed no crime, he just helped out and earned an honest living. The trial, his gruesome death, and the fact that twelve white men knew Tom was innocent, but still found him guilty because he was Black makes Tom Robinson a mockingbird.

Boo Radley, Dolphus Raymond, and Tom Robinson were all mockingbirds, sacrificed by people too stubborn to change, too narrow-minded to understand, and too ignorant to know what damage they were doing. What the town of Maycomb did to them was a sin. The gossiped, embellished, and fabricated about what they didn't know and feared to understand. Maybe they did it unconsciously. Maybe they killed the mockingbirds when they were walking down the school halls. Maybe they killed the mockingbirds at the grocery store. Maybe the even killed they mockingbirds after church. Regardless, their actions caused irreparable damage. I wonder how we, as we go about our daily living, are, in that time, killing mockingbirds.