It’s human nature to want to protect ourselves from danger or getting in trouble. The same thing happens in To Kill a Mockingbird by the majority of the characters whenever something happens that incriminates them. A demonstration of self-preservation in the novel is when Atticus is cross-examining Mayella Ewell in court. During the cross-examination, Atticus says, “What did your father see in the window, the crime of the rape or the best defense to it? Why don’t you tell the truth, child, didn’t Bob Ewell beat you up?” (Lee 251).
Even before he saves them, Scout begins feeling guilty about the way they had treated Boo in the past. She says, “I sometimes felt a twinge of remorse when passing by the old Radley place, at ever having taken part in what must have been sheer torment to Arthur Radley – what reasonable recluse wants children peeping in through his shutters, delivering greetings at the end of a fishing pole, wandering in his collards at night.” She understands how Boo Radley feels. After being rescued, she begins to start empathizing with Boo without even realizing it; “Feeling slightly unreal, I led him to the chair farthest from Atticus and Mr. Tate. It was in a deep shadow. Boo would feel more comfortable in the dark.” She is thinking about what Boo Radley would feel more comfortable with, rather than thinking about things exclusively from her perspective.
They try to escape but Jem’s arm gets broken and he is unconscious for the rest of the novel. Luckily, they are rescued by Boo Radley and are taken home where Jem gets treated. Bob Ewell figured that attacking Atticus’s children was the next best thing to hurting him, since he was too much of a coward to do it directly. He had a grudge against Atticus for doing a good job of defending a black man, which was unthinkable given the status of black people during that time period. Through this, Scout learns firsthand about hatred.
One of which is in chapter 30 page 370 when Scout says that “Well it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?” Scout says this to Atticus after Maycomb’s sheriff tried to convince Atticus that even if Jem or Boo Radley had stabbed Bob Ewell their actions would have been justified as Mr. Ewell had gotten Tom Robinson who was innocent killed. In response to the sheriff and Atticus’s conversation Scout tried to further justify the sheriff’s decision, that Bob had stabbed himself, by saying that if Boo Radley were to be taken to court it would be like shooting a mockingbird which Atticus says is a sin. This simile helps to represent the main idea of the book that people should not harm others that are innocent since Scout and the sheriff are defending Boo Radley who had stabbed Mr. Ewell in the process of defending the Finch children. In To Kill a Mockingbird there are many ideas that the book wants you to take away from reading the story. What the main one in the book that is talked about several times over is that you should not harm anyone or anything that is innocent.
On page 275 it is quoted “He linked Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children, and Maycomb thought he was trying to write an editorial poetical enough to be reprinted in The Montgomery Advertiser.” A another example of this is on page 174. Scout ends up making Mr. Cunningham question what he is doing when he is trying to kill Tom Robinson. Quoted “He seemed uncomfortable; he cleared his throat and looked away.” The novel To Kill A Mockingbird does do a good job of comparing racism to a disease. After explaining my reasoning do you have the disease? The disease could have come from anyone.
I slipped my hand into the crook of his arm. He had to stoop a little to accommodate me, but if Miss Stephanie Crawford was watching from her upstairs window, she would see Arthur Radley escorting me down the sidewalk, as a gentleman would do.” (Lee 372.) This clearly demonstrates the theme by the kindness and innocence he shows when he asks Scout to walk him home. Scout finally sees Boo as more than a person, but a mockingbird, when she calls him “Mr. Arthur” and “Sir.” As shown, To Kill A Mockingbird develops the character Boo as a metaphor for a Mockingbird using how his image is based on lies and rumors, his caring heart when he puts a blanket around Scout’s shoulders, and his kind heart when he leaves presents for Jem and Scout and saves them from Bob
However almost everyday Jem finds toys or random objects in the tree out front of the Radleys house. This gives Jem the idea that Boo isn 't some horrible monster after all. “Atticus believes Jem killed Ewell in self-defense, but Tate makes him realize that Boo Radley actually stabbed Ewell and saved both children 's lives.”(lee 28) This quote shows that the children had been put in a situation where the so-called “monster” Boo Radley saved their lives and they now could look at him not as some maniac but a hero and regular person who stays inside to protect himself from the stereotypes and cruelty of the world because of something people had said and that had been spread throughout the
Witnessing or causing an incident can diminish a person’s reputable outlook if their surroundings. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird one of the recurring character, Dill, is friends with the main characters, Scout and Jem. Dill’s character brings out the playful innocence by his exaggerations and stories. “Dill recited this narrative” (Lee 186) about him being “bound in chains and left to die” (Lee 186) by his hateful stepfather. Because of this, he ran away to Maycomb and hid under Scout’s bed before being discovered.
To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel which teaches us many themes like empathy by always following right morals and doing what is right. Inside those life lessons the novel also teaches us something important. Readers see the power of an 8-year-old to defeat a mob, making them acknowledge what they are doing and “stand in the shoes of another”. We read that a total stranger who is isolated from society (Boo Radley) helps a pair of kids and ends up saving their lives. People do bad acts because of power, or maybe they don’t know better, or (most of the time) people choose bad because if they do what is right it isn’t going to benefit them.
Boo Radley never harmed anyone, but was victimized by the social prejudice of the Maycomb community. Although not established until the end of the novel, Boo Radley is set up to be the last discovered symbolic character for the image of the mockingbird. Harper Lee has done this to illustrate all points of injustice in the 1930s societal town of Maycomb, where rumours and old tales define Boo's life story rather than his authentically generous heart and personality. During the concluding chapter of the novel, Scout comes to the realization that blaming Boo for Bob Ewell's death would be "sort of like shootin' a mockingbird." Boo does many kind-hearted things in the novel such as leaving gifts in the knot-hole for Scout and Jem, repairing Jem's pants, putting the blanket on Scout discretely in order to keep her warm, and even saving them from the evil Bob Ewell.
One response, from the newspaper writer/editor, Mr. Underwood, highlights what some of the few progressive residents stand for, all with some underlying symbolism. “He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children” (Lee 323). In this quote readers see how Lee uses a very minor character, who is white, to represent the feelings of some of Maycomb’s residents. Additionally, this is relevant to the theme because few people would be surprised if Tom Robinson’s death wasn’t even mentioned, and yet Mr. Underwood subjects his readers to a most poetic interpretation of Tom Robinson’s death, which he believes shouldn’t have happened. Additionally, one can assume that Mr. Underwood likens Tom’s death to the death of a mockingbird (a songbird) as it is stated earlier in the book, by Ms. Maudie, that “ …’they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.