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Mockingbirds: The Similarities and Differences Between Tom Robinson and Boo Radley Essay

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Updated: Jul 9th, 2021

There has never been a period in the history of humanity without victimization of some category of people. Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird is an example of different types of victimization. There are two characters, each of which is not welcome by society in some way. Discrimination against Tom Robinson is based on the man’s race. Meanwhile, Boo Radley is not accepted by the majority due to his eccentricity. These two characters are connected because to some extent, both of them are not understood by others.

Two major similarities about Tom and Boo are that they are innocent and their only problem is differentness. Tom is unlike the majority because he is “a colored man” (Lee 295). Boo’s differentness is in his solicitude and appearance: his teeth are “yellow and rotten,” his eyes “popped,” and he is very tall (Lee 20). As a result of such non-standard features, both characters suffer. Even though they have not done anything wrong, Boo and Tom are treated with prejudice and damnation.

What concerns innocence, Tom’s greatest problem is that he is black while his accuser is white. The woman puts Tom’s “life at stake” to “get rid of her own guilt” (Lee 275). Boo also has not done anything wrong: he is sincerely kind to the children who manage to initiate communication with him.

Despite similarities, there are also divergent features in the two characters. First of all, it is the race of the two men. As can be seen from the storyline, skin color can cause much mistrust and judgment. Secondly, the lives Tom and Boo lead have a different level of openness. The townsfolk know some things about Tom and his family. Meanwhile, Boo’s lifestyle is secluded: he only goes out “when it’s pitch dark” (Lee 19). Therefore, both skin color and divergent lifestyles constitute disparities among the two “mockingbirds.” Still, despite these dissimilarities, both men experience the same level of hostility from others.

Although Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are two very different characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, they are both mockingbirds because society refuses to accept them as they are. Through the characters’ actions and lives, readers can learn about the unfair treatment of people based on prejudiced views and about objective and fair people ready to defend others’ rights. Both characters are important because they teach the reader how a corrupted character can lead to destroying someone’s life. Along with this, Tom and Boo are examples of how one should defend one’s uniqueness and views. The book by Harper Lee discusses many crucial life problems. The author explains that victimizing a weak member of society should not be justified.

Work Cited

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. McIntosh and Otis, 1988.

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IvyPanda. "Mockingbirds: The Similarities and Differences Between Tom Robinson and Boo Radley." July 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mockingbirds-the-similarities-and-differences-between-tom-robinson-and-boo-radley/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Mockingbirds: The Similarities and Differences Between Tom Robinson and Boo Radley." July 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mockingbirds-the-similarities-and-differences-between-tom-robinson-and-boo-radley/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Mockingbirds: The Similarities and Differences Between Tom Robinson and Boo Radley'. 9 July.

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