An Analysis Of Pivotal Characters In To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

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An unfortunate truth is that those who differ from the norm are easy prey. Pivotal characters in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird who fit this description and are compared to mockingbirds. Miss Maudie describes these birds as innocent creatures that, unlike other animals, do not damage property and make music for the enjoyment of people, making it deplorable to kill one (119). Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson represent Miss Maudie’s definition of a mockingbird because they are benign and beneficial to Maycomb, yet targeted due to their vulnerability. Arthur Radley, better known as Boo, exemplifies a mockingbird through his amiable actions and susceptibility to being misunderstood by society. During a fire at Miss Maudie’s house that causes…show more content…
As the trial progresses and Tom is questioned, he elaborates on his repeated contact with the woman he allegedly raped, Mayella Ewell: “I was glad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn’t seem to help [Mayella] none, and neither did the chillum, and I knowed she didn’t have no nickels to spare” (256). Although the racial norms prohibit it, Tom’s kindness spreads even to Mayella Ewell, who is disrespectful and unappreciative of him. After noticing that Mayella is incapable of paying him for his labor, he willingly works for free, paralleling how a mockingbird chirps for the enjoyment of the listeners without any incentive. Later on, in a conversation at the Finch home regarding the Tom Robinson trial, Mrs. Farrow, a devout woman, gives her perspective: “We can educate ‘em till we’re blue in the face, we can try till we drop to make Christians out of ‘em, but there’s no lady safe in her bed these nights” (311). Albeit Tom has the truth on his side and an accomplished lawyer, he is still impotent against the prominent stigma regarding black men and rape. Mrs. Farrow, as well as many others in Jim Crow, associate these stereotypes with Tom, deeming him guilty before the trial begins. Therefore, just like mockingbirds, he has no means to protect himself against the larger power at hand, be that merciless hunters or societal
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