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Thread: Help with "To Kill A Mockingbird"

  1. #1

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    How is the title relevant to the text. I need people and specific episodes

  2. #2
    Im guessing this is for a school thing? I studied the same book in grade 10 so...

    I dont have a copy with me, and i wouldnt tell you anyway exactly where it is. But the only time I can remember the title being relevant to the text is when Scouts father gives her and Jem rifles for christmas and tells them they can shoot all the bluejays they want but its a sin to kill a mockingbird, or something like that. Its meant to be symbolic to certain characters in the book, thats all I will say.

  3. #3
    Registered User Diceman's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Adelaide, South Australia
    The meaning of the "killing a mockingbird" metaphor should be clear upon finishing the book, as Scout uses it in reference to another character very near the end of the story.
    "A good night's sleep is no substitute for caffeine."

  4. #4

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Thought you crazy people might like this.
    You're just another bastard.

  5. #5
    Thats hillarious! It puts a whole new view on that one for me

  6. #6

    Exclamation To Kill A Mockingbird

    Okay, so I have read the book twice now, and need a bit of help in the matter of race, gender, class and power discourses. Even a site with descriptions of one of those would be great.

  7. #7
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Hi Steph,

    There have been some discussions on Mockingbird on this forum. You might like to read them:

    Also, is a great site which would help you analyse the book.

    And when you ask google, it comes up with 644,000 results for To Kill a Mockingbird

    Good luck!
    No damn cat and no damn cradle.

  8. #8
    Lady of Smilies Nightshade's Avatar
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    Now that would be telling it, wouldnt it?
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    You could always use GCSE web sites like Bite size as TKMB is on the GCSE syllibus!
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  9. #9

    Question: To Kill a Mockingbird

    Was there a specific message that Harper Lee was trying to convey to the reader regarding American history through her depiction of the Tom Robinson trial? I know part of it was the racism that flourished in the South, but was there something deeper she was trying to reveal?

    I have to do a report on it, and I'm having trouble trying to decipher her true message. Help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by YellowCrayola; 09-29-2005 at 12:28 AM.
    "...You can say anything you want, yessir, but it's the words that sing, they soar and descend.... I bow to them... I love them, I cling to them, I run them down. I bite into them, I melt them down.... I love words so much... The unexpected ones....The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop..." -Pablo Neruda

  10. #10
    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Sure, there's a lot about racism in the novel, but I guess you could always bring up the way Atticus symbolises evolution/progress which is a historical mechanism. It's also the process oflearning as it's seen through the eyes of a child. I haven't TKMB in ages though.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

  11. #11
    Registered User Satine's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Along the same lines, the fact that Atticus was not only willing to represent, but actually BELIEVED in Tom's story and knew that it was the truth...that was a rare point of view in those times. Atticus was a well-respected attorney, well-liked in the community, and yet he was not afraid to represent a black man in a very high-profile case. To Atticus, the trial was about the truth, and the truth was that Tom was innocent. Others were willing to convict Tom right off the bat because he was black, and all blacks were 'guilty' in the eyes of society at that time. He believed in the TRUTH and not the stereotype. Also, the issue of white women having romantic feelings for black men was significant. Nobody wanted to believe that Mayella may have actually had FEELINGS for Tom and that their relationship may not have been forced upon her. Society was willing to convict an innocent black man of rape rather than accept what may have been the real truth of the matter. It's been a while since I read this book but it is one of my ALL time favorites. Harper Lee did such an excellent job of depicting and developing these characters. I thought that the movie with Gregory Peck was fantastic. He was the perfect person to play Atticus Finch. Anyway, hope that helps!
    Last edited by Satine; 09-29-2005 at 09:44 AM.

  12. #12
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    I think there's a deeper meaning to color in this book. From Scout's perspective, Cal is black but she's good, and Atticus is white and obviously he's good. But she's realizing that the townspeople think black equals bad and white equals good. And as she later learns, Atticus' attitude that justice is colorblind is the actual truth. You could also consider Boo Radley's unknown status (is he bad or good?) falls in line with his unknown color (no one's ever seen him).

    I could talk about this novel all day but the baby's crying so I have to go. Hope this is helpful!

  13. #13
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    To Kill A Mockingbird deals with more issues than racism. It is true that Lee, through Tom Robinson's trial, explores the deep rooted racism in the South; however, the 'mockingbird' analogy carries deeper meanings. In the book, as well as Tom, we see many characters who are judged prematurely. The most strikingly, everyone in the town believe in the awful stories they themselves create about Boo Radley but later on in the book we find out that he is a kind person who tries to give gifts to children and who does not hesitate to risk his own life to protect them. Scout gets punished at school simply because she knows how to read. Children are prejudiced towards Mrs Dubose but later on we find out that she has been trying to overcome a terrible addiction. People think Mr Raymond is a drunk man even though he does not drink.

    The book is rich with people who are treated unfairly, which serve to prove that prejudice is a part of our lives. All these 'mockingbirds', despite the fact that they do not do anything to harm others, suffer in one way or other because of this prejudice. Atticus says 'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.', which what Lee wants us to do as well... Take a moment to understand these people and then we won't be able to treat them so unfairly.

    I think in the novel Atticus represents the sound, just, moral common sense. He treats everyone with the same fairness regardless of their race, gender, class or age. He is the only one who calls Mayella 'Miss', which surprises even her. He treats Calpurnia as part of the family, agrees to defend Tom, and he lets his children talk to him as if they are equals (so much so that they call him by his first name, not 'Father').

    Love the book, love the movie, love the characters!
    Last edited by Scheherazade; 09-29-2005 at 01:39 PM.
    No damn cat and no damn cradle.

  14. #14
    I could not agree more with all of the above replies.
    The 'mockingbird' analogy, though I read To Kill A Mockingbird over a year ago, I understood relatively recently, while not really thinking about it, but more it just came to me.
    As Scher said, the novel does debate many, many issues in racism, but more lies underneath the obvious fact, especially regarding Boo. Atticus has always reminded me of a judge in a lesser position; he seeks true, objective justice based on facts, equality, and correct punishment. Unfortunately, the majority of the world works against him, as Lee demonstrates, with more bias, particularly in the era of the novel.

  15. #15
    Wow! Thank you very much for all of your comments! They're all truly helpful, and I will definitely be using them in my essay.

    Say, would you consider the racism that flourished in America during the early to mid-20th century one of the "dark ages" in American history? I was thinking that should be my thesis.
    Last edited by YellowCrayola; 09-30-2005 at 03:27 AM.
    "...You can say anything you want, yessir, but it's the words that sing, they soar and descend.... I bow to them... I love them, I cling to them, I run them down. I bite into them, I melt them down.... I love words so much... The unexpected ones....The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop..." -Pablo Neruda

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