You need to have read thru chapter ten of To Kill a Mockingbird to respond to this topic.  If you have NOT read thru chapter ten, please do NOT read further (as it will spoil/give away information you haven't read yet).

  • In chapter ten we read the title of this novel in context.  I don't know about you, but I had not been giving much thought to the title of this novel until I actually read about it at the start of chapter ten.  Miss Maudie tells Scout and Jem that "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That's why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee 119).
  • Discuss and explore the meaning of these lines (as well as the title).  How might this apply to us today?  How could we use it in our everyday lives?  How is it like other texts we have read this past year/unit?  (You do not need to answer all the questions--just explore this explanation of why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.)

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird" Miss Maudie ,a wise and advising character, tells Scout, the main character of the novel, "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee 119). These few lines explain that it is sinful to hurt something/someone innocent and harmless to the world. It is bad to do wrong to a being that only does right and commits peace. These few lines can connect with war since soldiers and armed forces are commonly hurting innocent people that haven't done any harm to the world in a large way. Many people are quick to judge and attack those who haven't committed crime or harm when they're intent in life is to do good and get by peacefully. That might be what Miss Maudie meant when talking about the mockingbirds.
Killing a mockingbird is a sin because they don't do any bad things to anyone or anything. They just do their own thing and and peaceful. This can be related to many people. Many people in history were like mockingbirds like MLK for example. He was like a mockingbird because he was nonviolent and helped other people. Also, his actions are like when Miss Maudie told Scout,"They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us"(Lee119). This ties in with people like MLK because they are just peacefully saying what they believe in without using the means of violence. More importantly is that this world doesn't consist of a lot of mockingbirds. Basically, many people are violent and do stuff with bad intentions. For a peacefull community to be made, humans need to try and become like mockingbirds and this is possible because everyone can become a better person.

To me the words of Miss Maudie mean that we shouldn't "sin" and "kill" those who bring us nothing, but happiness and enjoyment. When I first read the title of the book I assumed that Harper Lee was using a mockingbird to symbolize human nature in a way and how we respond to it. To add on, the words of Miss Maudie's relate to the title because both Lee and Atkinson are referring to a mockingbird as a representation of us. In our world there are people who are mockingbirds-they make us happy- these people are "killed" by others whether its from jealousy or differences. One can be jealous of those innocents that bring us joy, so they put them down through bullying. Furthermore, humans can go against mockingbirds because their nature is different than a common person's is. These different behaviors can bring hate to a person because as a society we have concluded that those different from us do not belong. "It is a sin for us to kill a mockingbird" because we are taking the beauty and innocence away from the world. Mockingbirds are an image of how our human society works today.

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