“Shoot All The Bluejays”

Harper Lee’s second proposed title for the book, after “Go Set a Watchman” and before “To Kill a Mockingbird”


I didn’t get a chance to read To Kill A Mockingbird when I was in school, so I remedied that a few weeks back. I was surprised when the titular Mockingbird line was preceded with “Shoot all the bluejays you want” and no one offered any explanation as to what they did wrong. And when I tried to google an explanation for this, I only got articles telling me what the “mockingbird” part of the line meant (completely glossing over the bluejay thing) and articles on hunting law saying it’s illegal to shoot bluejays (which I imagine must have come about from Atticus-inspired shootings).

Eventually I did find a possible explanation – apparently bluejays are assholes that bully other birds and wreck their nests. Which, if applied to Atticus’ line, suggests “Shoot all the assholes you want” is his second meaning – but what’s he so hung up on Ewell getting killed then?

– James