To Kill a Mockingbird

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The Mockingbird Symbol Analysis

The Mockingbird Symbol Icon
Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird because mockingbirds cause no harm to anyone; they just sing. Because of these traits, mockingbirds in To Kill a Mockingbird symbolize innocence and beauty. And killing a mockingbird is therefore an act of senseless cruelty. There are a number of characters who can be seen as mockingbirds in the text, most particularly Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.
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The Mockingbird Symbol Timeline in To Kill a Mockingbird

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Mockingbird appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
...he didn't teach them how to shoot, instead only telling them not to shoot at mockingbirds, since it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Miss Atkinson explains: all mockingbirds do is... (full context)
Chapter 25
Good, Evil, and Human Dignity Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
Small Town Southern Life Theme Icon
...Underwood publishes an editorial in his newspaper comparing Tom's death to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds." (full context)