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“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Critical Essay Sample

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“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee Critical Essay Sample

From the dawn of mankind, discrimination and prejudices have found innocent human beings guilty and have put the guiltless in harm’s way. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses mockingbirds to symbolize how the innocent are sometimes found at fault or harmed by others. Three examples of “mockingbirds” include Arthur “Boo” Radley and Tom Robinson in the novel, and Muslims in real life.

One of the major “mockingbirds” in the novel is the African-American, Tom Robinson. After a convincing testimony and circumstantial evidence, Tom Robinson is found guilty of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman, a crime he did not commit. Tom Robinson actually helped Mayella Ewell with chores and never took advantage of her. Prejudice, a value that any member of the jury should have taken out of consideration before the trial, was the driving force behind the final verdict of the crime. Following his conviction, Tom Robinson was sent to prison and shot seventeen times during an attempt to escape. The primary cause of Tom’s conviction and his death was the guilt of Mayella Ewell. After tempting Tom Robinson, she wanted to destroy the evidence of her offense by putting him away from her. The fallacious testimonies of Mayella and her father caused the jury to conclude that Tom was guilty because Mayella and her father are white. Tom Robinson should not have been convicted and slaughtered because he was a “mockingbird” – an innocent human being.

Another chief “mockingbird” in the novel is the recluse, Arthur “Boo” Radley. Arthur Radley lives down the street from the Finches with his brother and he hasn’t come outside in fifteen years. As a result of the lack of seeing Arthur, many of the townspeople fabricate derogatory stories and rumors as to why he hasn’t come out in society. Some of these rumors include Arthur stabbing his father in the leg with scissors, Arthur coming out only at night to consume cats and squirrels, and Arthur being locked in the courthouse basement. With these rumors in mind, Jem, Scout, and Dill pester Arthur to meet him and compose ghost stories and games regarding him. Arthur, however, gives Jem and Scout gifts, puts a blanket around them, and most importantly, saves their lives, proving that he is not abnormal as the whole town believes he is.

Examples of “mockingbirds” in real life are Muslims all over the world. After terrorist attacks, specifically the ones on September 11, 2001, Muslims throughout the world were and still are discriminated and persecuted against. Ignorance is the driving force behind the discrimination and persecution of the people of Islam. There are many generalizations stating that all Muslims are terrorists. The people persecuting and discriminating against all Muslims, however, do not know that the people plotting and carrying out the terror attacks are extremists going against their religion, breaking laws, and lowering the status of their country. In Islam, like any other religion, causing unnecessary violence is a sin. Many feel the need to persecute “mockingbirds” because of the unease of variation. When the white man first met the black man, the white man believed that he was superior to the black man because of the difference of skin color. Members of the Islamic faith do not deserve this discrimination and persecution.

The three “mockingbirds:” Tom Robinson, Arthur “Boo” Radley, and Muslims are all persecuted because of various reasons. Tom Robinson is found guilty and killed because he is an African-American, stories and rumors are fabricated about Arthur Radley because the town of Maycomb never sees him, and Muslims are persecuted against because they are believed to be terrorists. These people truly are innocent and they do not deserve the hardship, discrimination, and prejudice against them.

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