The Sin in Ideology

1395 Words6 Pages
“I’d rather you shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”(90). Atticus Finch, a guide mentor of the novel, explains this to his children after they are gifted with air rifles for Christmas. Notably, the title of this American classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is taken from a seemingly insignificant excerpt. However, if read carefully, the reader begins to understand that this is just one other example out of a plethora of symbolism. Set in a Depression-era Southern town, Lee features various themes, though the novel focuses on various forms of prejudice. It brings forth the idea that prejudice, in…show more content…
Lee’s use of the word “rutting” in this dialogue represents Maycomb’s view of black men; animals, and savages, waiting for the chance to attack. Mr.Gilmer furthers this disrespect in his own way. In his cross-examination of Tom Robinson, the prosecutor repeatedly addresses Tom as “boy”(196), and “big buck”(198). Once again, this language provides a beast-like image of not only Tom Robinson, but all black men. The reader also sees symbolism of racism during Aunt Alexandra’s meeting with her neighboring woman. During a missionary meeting, Mrs.Merriweather states that the Mrunas, (an African tribe) live in “poverty and darkness”(230). The sickening irony of the women is seen here, as they feel pity towards the Mrunas, but are so hypocritical, they ignore the racism that results in the poverty of several black families in their very own town. The women at the meeting even proceed to insult their own black cooks and servants. Later, when the Tom Robinson vs. Mayella Ewell trial is completed, Aunt Alexandra expresses to Atticus her disapproval of him allowing the children to be present during the trial, but Atticus repartees, “they might as well learn to cope with it. … It’s as much Maycomb County as missionary teas”(212). Here, Atticus bluntly states that the conviction of Tom Robinson was just as racist, and unjustified as Aunt Alexandra’s hypocrisy-filled missionary teas.
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