Society?s Intolerance Essay, Research Paper
In society, people are symbolized as mockingbirds because of their differences. The mockingbird is an animal that only sings for us and to harm such a creature would be a sin. The mockingbird can represent people where they are harmed for doing nothing wrong. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a work of fiction which displays intolerance of differences. The book displays prejudice and intolerance in different ways to various people. This leads to them being symbolized as mockingbirds or innocent creatures that have done no harm. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the intolerance of differences results in Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and Mayella Ewell symbolizing the mockingbird.
Through the town?s intolerance, Boo Radley can be represented as a mockingbird. Arthur ?Boo? Radley is a man that is misunderstood and is treated as something harmful to Maycomb. ?Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom? (Lee 8). They blame Boo for their problems and tell stories about him even though they are untrue:
People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him. People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows. When people?s azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them. Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work. Once the town was terrorized by a series of morbid nocturnal events: people?s chickens and household pets were found mutilated; although the culprit was Crazy Addie, who eventually drowned himself in Barker?s Eddy, people still looked at the Radley Place, unwilling to discard their initial suspicions (9).
Aside from his cruel father, Arthur has never harmed anyone and is a kind and caring person who saved the lives of the Finch children when Bob Ewell attacked them. ?To my way of thinkin?, Mr. Finch, taking the one man who?s done you and this town a great service an? draggin? him with his shy ways into the limelight – to me that?s a sin? (276). Arthur is used to things the way they are and bringing him into an unknown world would be like killing a mockingbird because he is not used to a regular society. Boo also leaves the children gifts in a knot-hole, mended Jem?s pants and gave Scout a blanket. Boo chooses to remain inside his house so that he does not have to deal with problems in the community and is misunderstood as a result of that. From his differences, Boo Radley is misunderstood and not tolerated and can be seen as a mockingbird.
In addition, the symbol of a mockingbird also applies to Tom Robinson who is discriminated against because of his differences. Tom is a Negro man who was convicted of raping Mayella Ewell. Even though he was innocent, he was convicted because he was black. ?In our courts when it?s a white man?s word against a black man?s word, the white man always wins? (220). Tom never harmed anyone and only wanted to help Mayella because he felt sorry for her. ?I was glad to do it, Mr. Ewell didn?t seem to help her none, and neither did the chillun, and I knowed she didn?t have no nickels to spare? (191). Even though he knew he did not do anything wrong, Tom was still afraid because the town was so prejudiced against black people. ?Mr. Finch, if you was a nigger like me, you?d be scared, too? (195). Tom was good man who cared for people and showed them the respect they deserve. Atticus proved Tom?s innocence by showing that Tom has a crippled left hand and with Mayella?s injuries on the right of her face, then Tom could not have raped her. ?His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right, and hung dead at his side? (186). As a clear example of a mockingbird, Tom Robinson is an innocent man who was the victim of discrimination.
In addition, Mayella Ewell can also be seen as a mockingbird because of the town?s intolerance. As a lonely child with no friends, Mayella had never felt real love and friendship. ?She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance, but I cannot pity her: she is white? (203). Mayella was so lonely that she kissed and seduced Tom Robinson and accused him of raping her as a way to hide her guilt. ?I say guilt, gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her. She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honoured code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with? (203). Society could not accept the fact that she only wanted a friend and that Tom Robinson was the closest thing she had. She is an ignorant, lonely and pathetic creature who just wanted a friend. Due to her differences, Mayella Ewell is a mockingbird as a result of intolerance and unacceptance.
The novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee displays the intolerance of differences that result in Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, and Mayella Ewell representing mockingbirds. Boo Radley is a mockingbird who is unaccepted because of being separated from the community. Tom Robinson is the victim of injustice due to his colour and the fact that Maycomb is a prejudiced, white-majority town. Mayella Ewell is a lonely girl who is a mockingbird because society did not accept the fact that she has no friends and tried to reach out to someone. Society displays intolerance that leads to people symbolizing the mockingbird.