To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird discussion


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Who WERE the Mockingbirds?

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message 1: by Stephen (last edited Jun 07, 2013 09:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen Clearly Tom Robinson was to be considered a Mockingbird, but the story goes on long after his death.

It's clear that one can also consider Arthur "Boo" Radley a Mockingbird as well.

But were they the only two?

Since the very first sentence of the novel mentions Jem, I'm wondering if Harper Lee didn't have him in mind too when thinking about the title.

What do others think?


Miriam You're right. Arthur "Boo" Radley, Jem and Tom Robinson were clearly meant to be 'mockingbirds'. There were three in total.


Nazia I think author mockingbird is used as a symbol to show the loss of innocence which means Tom Robinson was considered.


message 4: by Sheila (last edited Jun 08, 2013 06:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sheila To me, this is the best explanation of the mockingbird concept that I've ever seen, contributed by Myra in one of the other Mockingbird discussion threads (I hope she doesn't mind my quoting her here):

I think "It is a sin to kill a mockingbird" refers to the childhood innocence lost during the course of what these children discover concerning the evils men do to each other. We all reach a point in our early lives where we lose our innocence, but sometimes that loss is forced upon us too soon, whether intentionally or simply accidental. The children in this book start out very innocent, but by the end, they no longer have that innocence, and once it's lost, it's gone forever!

So, that would make all of the children the mockingbirds. The book is about the sum of their experience and how it changed the way they saw the world around them...


Raven Clock For me, Boo is the only mockingbird in the book. Mockingbirds don't do one thing but sings pretty songs to us.

When (spoilers!!!!!) Boo saved Scout and Jem, he also killed a man. Atticus wanted the truth told but the sheriff insisted that Boo didn't do nothing. Scout understood it and said that it'd be like shooting a mockingbird. It's because Boo only sought to protect those children and having him arrested is a sin as the metaphor suggests.


Arielle Rae Aguilar There is Boo, Tom, Scout and Mayella


Lizbeth German In my opinion, there were many mockingbirds in this book.Boo was one of the Mockingbirds because you know how the book said, "mockingbirds don't do anything but sing to us", well Boo Radley never did anything bad to anyone but all he did was good things like at the end how he saves Jem's life. Another one was Tom Robinson because he never did anything bad to anyone, and especially not to Mayella. In fact, he always helped her either to move a table or fix one thing or another, he always helped her and he never hurt her, just like mockingbirds.


Daniel Fabian i think that the mockingbirds were Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson, because they were consider bad people, but they were actually good, they never did anything, and actually helped people, Tom was just helping , and was accused for rape, and Boo was Accused for murder, but he helped the kids from being killed.


Emily It is true that both Tom and "Boo" were the "mockingbirds" of this book. But also, people such as Tom's children and wife, who suffered as result of his death, could also be concidered "mockingbirds". They were all victims of racism and prejudice.


message 10: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam Though I'm probably wrong, I think Scout could be considered a Mockingbird. She has innocence because she is a child and somewhat naïve in the beginning but with all of the problems she is thrown into, her innocence starts to decease. She might be a little feisty at first, especially when it comes to dealing with boys, but does anyone else think the same?


Sarah “Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Mockingbirds are the children and Boo Radley too. Mockingbirds make music for people to enjoy, and don't bother anybody. Boo does the same, like leaving trinkets in the tree for the kids. Children because they are innocent, to kill innocence is a sin, isn't it?

That's what I think.


Yareli in my opinion i think that Arthur "boo" Radley is the mocking bird in this book. i believe that he is the mocking bird because during the whole book, he was just there. mockingbirds are just there too. they are innocent and do nothing wrong to bother other people and still people go out and kill them. this i why i believe that "Boo" is the mocking bird because in the whole book he is just in his house not bothering anyone and still people hate him for that. so that is why i think that "Boo" is the mocking bird in the story.


message 13: by Nell (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nell Gavin This is kind of off-topic, but Harper Lee presented mockingbirds as these mild winged creatures who never hurt anyone. My experience with mockingbirds is that they consistently dive-bombed my cat and pecked on her head. They were vicious. Just saying.

Until I met a real-life mockingbird, I presumed that the symbolism involved Boo Radley and Tom Robinson.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I think the Mockingbird is the tone or the mood accompanied with the preconceived notion of what is thought to be "right" from "wrong. When I hear a mockingbird sing, I do not think of the bird itself, but rather where I am as I listen. The place in which I stand precisely. There was some much to be "killed" in the way of innocence, ideas, and belief that you have life figured out, when in all reality things had to die away for a person to actually appreciate where "right" lies.


Chelsea I think that the “mockingbird” theme is far reaching and multifaceted. I think it actually applies to most, if not all, of the main characters in some way. Tom is a mockingbird because he is innocent of the crime. Boo is a mockingbird because despite how others treat him, he is kind and good. Atticus could even be viewed as a mockingbird, he is doing what he believes is right and is being ostracized for it. I believe that the main “mockingbirds” are really the children. It is written from the perspective of a child, as she loses her innocent way of looking at the world. She learns terrible lessons about injustice and the cruelty of men. She learns that the “bad guys” are not all “bad,” and the “good guys” are not all “good.” It is, firstly, a coming-of-age story. While it is a deep novel that adults can enjoy, most see it as an adolescent novel.


Sarah Nell wrote: "This is kind of off-topic, but Harper Lee presented mockingbirds as these mild winged creatures who never hurt anyone. My experience with mockingbirds is that they consistently dive-bombed my cat a..."

That is hilarious!!! Mockingbirds are not so innocent.


Edgar Guzman boo could be a mockingbird. when i read the part, "its a sin to kill a mockingbird" i had thought to myself how this works. then i figured that if jem and scout kept on bugging boo to come out and he finally comes out, word will spread that he had left his home. people who have heard bad things about boo will come and try to make him answer questions. sooner or later that will make boo either more depressed or psychotic again and go on a rampage. people will hate him and try to dispose of him, eventually getting boo killed. just like killing a mockingbird, boo could get killed by someone else if it were to happen. they also didnt tell anyone else that boo had saved jem and scout from bob ewell because if others knew that a "maniac" had saved someone they would again make him depressed or psychotic with the constant bugging of his neighbors.


Danielle Jem is also a "mockingbird," as he lost a good deal of his innocence during the trial of Tom Robinson.


message 19: by Alec (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alec Maclean I don't think that Jem was a mockingbird, but Tom Robinson and Boo Radley were.


Fiona Curtis I think Scout was also a mockingbird, and the fact that we saw Jem grow older and loose his innocence was a symbol for Jem's 'mockingbird' being killed, that the world had killed his mockingbird. Jem is a representation of what Scout will become in the future when the world kills her innocence as well.


message 21: by Alec (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alec Maclean I think you have a good point. I take back what I said about Jem not being a mockingbird.


Mrs. Scott The mockingbirds were concrete and symbolic. Tom, the innocent man, was killed. Boo, the non-bogeyman, was no less a mockingbird for having killed Bob Ewell. And of course, the mockingbird symbolized innocence that was ripped away.


Emmanuel Pena The mocking birds were the ones that Jem and Scout were shooting at when they gave them bee bee guns. Atticus probably tells them to never shoot a mocking bird because then they wouldnt eat the worms in their front yard anymore.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Raven wrote: "For me, Boo is the only mockingbird in the book. Mockingbirds don't do one thing but sings pretty songs to us.

When (spoilers!!!!!) Boo saved Scout and Jem, he also killed a man. Atticus wanted th..."



I totally agree.


message 25: by Inga (new) - rated it 5 stars

Inga M.C. wrote: "I think the Mockingbird is the tone or the mood accompanied with the preconceived notion of what is thought to be "right" from "wrong. When I hear a mockingbird sing, I do not think of the bird its..."

I agree with you, well put!


Kirsty What about Dolphus Raymond?


message 27: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Once Killing a mockingbird is a metaphor for loss of innocence. It isn't a club, where someone either is or isn't a mockingbird. Anyone can have a loss of innocence at some point in their lives.

So "Who are the mockingbirds" is a bit of an odd question. Anyone who has lost their innocence. The children, Tom, Boo ... even Atticus. It's probably no coincidence that the family name is Finch.


Debra Jeakins Stephen wrote: "Clearly Tom Robinson was to be considered a Mockingbird, but the story goes on long after his death.

It's clear that one can also consider Arthur "Boo" Radley a Mockingbird as well.

But were t..."

Of course Boo was the mockingbird. As for Jem I agree. To Scout Jem was not only big brother but her hero.


Debra Jeakins Tom Robinson to me was the beginning of Scouts death of innocence. Her final "death blow" was the attack in the woods at the end.


Maria Why not Atticus? He didn't harm anyone either, and tried to spread good.


message 31: by Lisa (last edited Sep 25, 2015 10:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I found the title and the saying "Its a sin to kill a mockingbird" so confusing as I had had interpreted 'mockingbird' as a metaphor for a bully, an ignorant person who mocks you... not as a literal bird so I couldn't understand how so many saw Tom as the mockingbird, I actually thought it must be Bob Ewell as he started mocking them all at the end of it.. and also in that sense I couldn't understand why it would be a sin to kill Bob or to at least want to. What does that saying actually mean?? or is it just open to interpretation? is it even an actual saying :/


message 32: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Yeah, sometimes it is.. I've decided it's easy to just accept Miss Maudies view of mockingbirds, simply doing things for others - therefore Tom and Boo are definitely mockingbirds.. And that's the only definition that we are given in the book so that must be what Lee meant of "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird". However we never get an answer or explanation from Atticus himself so that could still (and yes maybe I am overthinking it) leave it open to interpretation..? Maybe it will be made clearer in Go Set A Watchman?
One interpretation I find hard to accept is that the children learning things made them mockingbirds, implying it's a sin to teach them anything.. I think it's good that they learnt it made them more compassionate and no less innocent imo


message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa *no less innocent


message 34: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I think it would be much more of a sin to not teach your children. How are they supposed fight evil if they don't even know it exists?


Elizabeth Warren People and children know that evil exists; they now see it in movies, on the news, in books, and when parents are talking. Just because they choose to ignore it and look at the light in all people doesn't mean that they don't know its there.


message 36: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Go back and look at the chapter with the rolley polley. Jem gets pretty upset when Scout is messing with it. This seems to be a very tiny mockingbird that Jem connects with Tom and that is why he over reacts. The concept of the mockingbird is more pervasive in the book the chronicles the loss of innocence for multiple characters indirectly while directly addressing maybe two.


message 37: by Mrs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrs Crow Mockingbirds are common songbirds in Alabama, just like blue jays, maybe they sing a bit nicer and eat no nuts, but generally they are not really very much better than blue jays at all, so I do not understand why Atticus says its ok to kill blue jays but “a sin” to kill mockingbirds, it seems to me a man like Atticus should be against any killing for pleasure, but, as he admits; even he has "blind spots"... anyway, mockingbirds do have one thing that makes them special: they can repeat noises other birds (and even insects and frogs) make... So, I think the mockingbird is Scout as she does repeat some nasty noises she has picked up from others like "nigger," "after all he's just a Negro" and "she's supposed to go round back" but generally she sings a beautiful song to us.

I think it is pretty ironic when Scout appeases Atticus at the end of the book by using his own line (and she is not mocking… she repeats without understanding properly) to explain why Heck Tate was right.

I do not believe Heck Tate was right and I do not believe Harper thought Heck Tate was right either. Heck was negligent and incompetent when he arrested Tom: he had no evidence, investigated nothing and did not even question Tom. When Tom is in the county jail he is being protected by Atticus and Heck has been sent off on a wild goose chase, and when Heck arrives on the scene after the murder of Bob he behaves pretty corrupt: he tampers with evidence and he lies. To protect Boo from what?... cakes? ... Heck says “let the dead bury the dead,” so Tom has to bury Bob, that (to me) means he wants the white folks of Maycomb to go on pretending everything is just dandy in their town: never mind there once was a trial and an innocent man was convicted because the jury preferred to pretend to believe the lies of an abusive guy who is capable of murdering children.
No wonder it took over 100 years to normalise relations between blacks and whites... and we're still not there... as we can feel when we agree with Heck for protecting Boo and make excuses like: Heck is morally right, Boo is innocent and a mockingbird, nonsense: it is unfair to Tom


message 38: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa @Mrs that was very insightful, about Scout being the mocking bird, gives the book a solid meaning.. But I don't agree with you about Boo.. He was just trying to protect Scout, the mocking bird, who it would be a sin to kill.
I guess Boo could've gone to court and had a trial but Bob was an A$$ anyway..


message 39: by Mrs (last edited Dec 01, 2015 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrs Crow I think it is understandable to want to protect Boo, but I also think it is wrong to actually do so... Boo is a grown man, he will get over it soon enough and then he can go back to his life indoors.
By protecting Boo, the whites do exactly the same thing they did when they stuck together and decided to convict Tom and that was wrong wasn't it?... so I think,in this light and at that time 1930s, protecting Boo is actually the wrong thing too... it seems to me that maybe sometimes one has to commit 'a sin' and offer up an innocent (if you can call Boo innocent, as he did not knock Bob out.. he did actually kill the man.... even though that man was vile) to address the imbalance.
The whites who cover up Bob's murder are Heck and Atticus (law and justice)... while Atticus was prepared to offer up his own son to justice when he was mistakenly under the impression it was Jem who had killed Bob... (very biblical and the ultimate sacrifice really.. a father sacrificing his son) he could not do it because he was blocked by Heck... Atticus is made powerless by Heck to even have the truth come out as Heck says "I'll lie to your face"... as long as the LAW is corrupt, justice is an empty gun and the courtrooms are no levelers of men at all.

Boo is brave and does the right thing protecting Scout
Heck is corrupt and did not protect Tom who did nothing wrong and then he does protect Boo who has killed a man, in my view another mistake... the whites in town should face up to the fact they let a lying child molester walk their streets... and they should get another sheriff asap.


message 40: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Mrs wrote: "I think it is understandable to want to protect Boo, but I also think it is wrong to actually do so... Boo is a grown man, he will get over it soon enough and then he can go back to his life indoor..."
fair enough, Heck is corrupt and I guess giving up Boo would kind of rebalance the injustice done to Tom.. but then again doesn't Boo killing Bob do that anyway? :/


message 41: by Mrs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrs Crow Actually, preferable Bob was not killed but captured by Boo and then Bob could be tried for assault on Atticus' children. But Bob is dead, so the next best thing is for Boo to be held responsible for what he did and explain why… this would be much better for the children too, they were attacked and it would help to be able to tell the truth about it, as Atticus so desperately knows… I mean, how will Jem explain his broken arm? Bob attacked me and then he fell on his knife? That just sounds untrue.

The imbalance is not addressed by simply killing Bob… by killing Bob the most embarrassing element of white rule is swept under the carpet… and, according to Heck; we can let Tom do the sweeping. It suits Heck more than anybody that Bob is dead, Bob was nothing but a trouble causer, people like Bob would eventually show the police up for having to arrest a white doing wrong to a black and Heck can’t handle that.

It might be Harper’s point that law enforcement is the biggest problem where it comes to racism, if the law is incompetent and corrupt and favours one race over another there will be racism, Harper also shows how scarily easy it is for the ruling majority to agree with the law on this… they are the boss aren’t they? They do have the power… put your self in Atticus shoes: he wants the truth to come out, but what can he do?… and Boo did safe his children, so yes, even for Atticus it is easiest to go along with the mockingbird song.


message 42: by FluffyBacon (new)

FluffyBacon I think that for Heck Tate lying about what really happened to Mr. Ewell protected Boo from having to go outside. He stayed inside for all of those years for a reason, so if Heck Tate told the truth than Boo would be bombarded with people and have to go to court which is exactly what he has been hiding from for all of these years.
Not meaning to target Mrs and Lisa but I think what they said are completely wrong. He would have been traumatized for the rest of his life and not gotten over it.
For Boo it would have been like if somebody was an arachnophobia and you chucked them into a pit of spiders. If that happened to someone you wouldn't be like oh they will just get over it because they are an adult.

A mockingbird to me is a person who does nothing but good but is being killed by something literally in Tom's case or figuratively.

For me the only mockingbirds in the book are Jem for losing his innocence, Boo Radley for being killed by the reality and harshness of the outside world, and Tom Robinson for being actually killed. All of these people are good people also. I would also maybe even argue for Mrs. Dubose as a mockingbird with her fighting off her morphine addiction.
I just don't see why Atticus or Scout would be a mockingbird.

The reason why I think Harper Lee mentioned mockingbird's is to show us that in our very own lives, that there are mockingbird's all around us even if you don't see them.


message 43: by Mrs (last edited Dec 04, 2015 03:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrs Crow Has Boo Radley been hiding, or has he been bullied into staying inside by first his father and then his brother? I think Boo is not so much a victim of the "outside world" but more a victim of his own family, and Boo does venture out when he gets the chance... as we know: he covered Scout with a blanket when she was cold and he left his presents in the tree for Jem and Scout, it was his brother who put a stop to that by cementing the hole in the tree... so, maybe Boo even wants to come out if he just would have a little help.
Also, he stabbed his father with his scissors which should tell us he is not as innocent as a little harmless song bird (although a parallel could be drawn with Nell's bomb diving mockingbirds I suppose)


message 44: by Morgan (new)

Morgan Mcfly While Atticus, Boo, Jem, scout and Tom can all be argued as mockingbirds; I believe we´re leaving out one important character: Mayella Ewell. In my opinion she can be viewed as a mockingbird because she lost her innocence. All she wanted was company, and one thing after another it led to her accusing Tom of rape-basically killing him.


Textiq Atticus himself is a a mockingbird. My interpretation was always that mockingbirds are not only the inherently innocent who are incapable of doing harm or hating, but those who make the conscious choice, as adults, not to do harm to others or permit hate in their hearts.


message 46: by Abdullah (new)

Abdullah Khan ball is lyfe


Rewas Boo Radley and Tom Robinson


message 48: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Joyce-Daniels The dog is another example of a mockingbird because it is a peaceful creature but was killed for having rabies, much the way that Tom Robinson was put on death row because he had a different color of skin.


message 49: by Mrs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrs Crow The dog would have died of the rabies anyway and most likely infect somebody by madly biting in its final throws... Tom Robinson would not have died of being black nor been able to infect anybody with being black by biting them.

The mad dog was a metaphor for the madness and apathy of the white towns people and Heck... Heck could not shoot the dog... Atticus had to do it... but later in court Scout saw her father aim his gun but he had no ammo... there was no killing the madness of racism.

I do not think the dog was a bird at all, but everybody has their owninterpretation of course.


Chris Nell wrote: "This is kind of off-topic, but Harper Lee presented mockingbirds as these mild winged creatures who never hurt anyone. My experience with mockingbirds is that they consistently dive-bombed my cat a..."

I know this is probably a serious matter for you but I actually laughed my socks off at this comment!


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