Who are the mockingbirds in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? An analysis of the title.

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Unlike most books, the title of Harper Lee's novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird", has very little literal connection to the main plot itself, but carries a great symbolic weight in the book. We first start to realize the figurative meaning of the 'mockingbird' in chapter 10 when Atticus told Jem to "shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" and also said that "…

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…mockingbirds who were innocent yet punished by the society. By deliberately choosing such an unusual title (at least to the average reader) and juxtaposing the two 'mockingbirds' (one Black and one White) together, Harper Lee perhaps is trying to tell us how justice and compassion reach beyond the boundaries of racism and prejudices. The greatest difference between these two 'mockingbirds' is of course that Tom Robinson got killed while Boo Radley was forced to kill.