Symbolism in To Kill A Mockingbird

symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s Novel To Kill a Mockingbird contains a lot symbolism. There is subtle symbolism and there are obvious ones. The mockingbird is without doubt the most famous symbol. A symbol of courage. These traits are illustrated in Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson.

Symbolism Defined

Symbolism has a universal meaning. It can represent anything. Symbolism A figure of speech that an author uses to create a mood, or emotion in a piece. It is the use or representation of an object, person and situation, as well as a word, to express another concept, such an idea. These are the most common types of symbolism.

  • Metaphor allows you to make a comparison between two different things without having to use the words like’ or as’. One example is the expression “Time is money”, which is a metaphor that compares money to time. Money and time can be two distinct things. These words are a form of symbolism as they show how important it is to manage your time and spend wisely.
  • Allegory– An extended metaphor. An allegory may be a complete story, poem, or book filled with symbolism. In George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, animals living on farms are used to symbolize the events that led to the Russian Revolution. The farm animals symbolize how greed and not caring for others impacts revolution.

Examples of symbolism in to kill a mockingbird

Most of the symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird can be easily identified, but others are less obvious. Did the author create them? Is that what the editor suggested? Or is the author completely unaware of the symbolism’s role? Either way, the book’s motifs and ideas are intricately interlinked. By doing this, we can examine symbolism in literature and other places.

Let’s begin by looking at the most obvious symbolism in to mockingbird. The mockingbird is a species of songbirds mimus polyglossus. It can be found all over North America as well as elsewhere. They are well-known for mimicking the song of other birds, and the sounds made by insects, frogs, and other amphibians. You can take this in many different ways as we will soon see. They are related to the finch species, so it’s not surprising that Finch is the family’s main family.

A mockingbird killing is a crime that can be commonly referred to as murder. The novel shows Tom Robinson, a black accused, being a mockingbird. Boo Radley is another suspect who can also be considered a mockingbird. Scout, Scout, and the narrator of this tale can also be seen as a mockingbird. Scout sings in a childlike voice. Boo and Tom both suffer from irrational prejudice and are treated as innocent victims. Both are ‘caged by’ the state and their families. We may also infer Scout is ‘caged’ by her ignorance.

5 Symbols in To Kill a Mockingbird & What They Represent

The mockingbird can also represent innocence and childhood that is ‘killed.’ This could be for Scout, Jem, Dill, or Jem. However, the mockingbird is an imitator. It has no song and copies the music of others. This is not something people often stress. This symbol can be used as a reminder to the Maycomb community as a whole. In this town, the majority of people ‘imitate’ each other’s prejudice. Scout, who, throughout the book, tends towards imitation until she comes up with her own point of view at the conclusion of the book, effectively “killing the mockingbird” of blind imitation, is this possible?

Chapter 10 features the mockingbird. Atticus informs the children that he can shoot as many blue jays as he wants, but that it is a sin to kill mockingbirds. Miss Maudie explained that mockingbirds do not cause harm, and that they only make music for others to enjoy. Scout, in Chapter 30, recognizes that Boo could be exposed to the public’sorta like shooting a mockingbird’. This connection is also made. The bird appears in Chapter 10, after Tim Johnson was killed by a rabid dog. It is also in Chapter 21, while they await the trial verdict. Chapter 25, the newspaper editor Underwood’s article. Chapter 21 shows the children heading for the pageant.

There is quite a bit of mocking in the story. Boo Radley is mocked at school by his children who tell him stories. Mayella accuses Atticus that he mocked her at the trial, which is itself a joke. Atticus transmits ideas to Scout through the image of the mockingbird. Imitating can lead to unwanted mockery, inherited racism prejudice, and/or the nobler virtue of social morality and principles passed from generation one to another.

Symbolism To Kill a Mockingbird. - ppt download

Flowers appear throughout the novel as well. The camellias that Mrs Dubose gives Jem to represent her prejudices, which when Jem strips their heads off, symbolizes a young, simplistic approach that fails to address the root cause of racism and other attitudes within the society. The snow on the mountain could symbolize Mrs Dubose’s social status. Jem receives one after her passing, and it is both a symbol for reconciliation and the release of her spirit.

Azaleas on the other hand are a type and variety of rhododendron known for their ability to grow in difficult conditions. They are also known to open their flowers simultaneously, possibly representing freedom and bravery, just like Miss Maudie, who grows them. Geraniums smell like cats and are an inferior substitute for roses. Mayella Ewell manages them to grow in’six chips-enamel-slop jars’ which is an American name for a chamberpot. They represent Mayella’s desperate and tragic situation in her dark-hearted family.

Tim Johnson is the rabid hound dog. He is believed to represent the racism prevalent in the Southern community. The contagion spreads like a contagion, and encourages irrationality. Atticus shot it and thus symbolically stands against that racism.

Any object or person, living or non-living, can be used to remind us of something, whether in a novel or everyday life. It is possible to establish validity of a connection if there is sufficient textual evidence or enough contextual evidence. What is the difference in textual and context? First, we will look in only at the novel’s words and characters. Second, we will look out at the society, ideas, and events that occurred at the time of the book’s writing.

Northrop Frye, an internationally renowned Canadian literary critic, said that the first is a centrifugal motion, looking inward. We’ve looked centrally at the symbols; we can look outward at the period in which the novel was being composed for evidence of the impact of a civil right movement, which was active during the writing of the novel.

Sometimes symbols are powerful enough to bridge both movements. Scout falls into a sort of dream world when Judge Taylor pronounces his verdict against Tom Robinson. It is like watching Atticus walk down the street, hold a gun to his shoulder, and then pulling the trigger. However, she never realized that the gun was empty. Scout considers the dog a symbol of racism both outside and within the novel. Scout, however, sees something that is in the novel.

We know from the book Storytelling: How Stories Actually Work that Atticus has more to offer than Scout’s father. He is the “old man with a stick” character in almost all successful stories. His rifle is the symbol of his power. Atticus’ stick fails to subdue the society’s monsters, and shifts the whole story into another genre.

Heck Tate’s criticisms of Atticus’s shooting – You were a bit to the right’- are buried within a heavily symbolic context. ‘To the right’ is morally correct, whereas ‘to be right’ is political. Or just slightly off target. Atticus is slightly off-target in his address at the jury in the trial.

How do we find the “correct” meaning? Truth is, there is no “correct” interpretation. There are as many symbolic links as possible. They are convincing when there is evidence to support them. But they can also be delusory when the evidence, whether textual or contextual in nature, disappears.

It is difficult to prove that Atticus is an effect of illegal drugs in the novel. Boo Radley is taken into custody for stabbing his father with a pair or scissors. After this incident, he is isolated from society and only makes a brief appearance at the end. He makes a second stabbing attempt, this time to defend the helpless children. Maycomb’s Sheriff, however, allows him to be free and knowingly let him go.

This textual evidence clearly shows that Lee meant that the first stabbing was to foreshadow and that the actions were synchronized. The meaning of this statement about the power and inequalities of individuals, the justice system, family definitions, and heroism can all remain for later readings. If there is enough evidence, however, they can all be valid.

Boo Radley. As the novel progresses, children’s attitudes toward Boo Radley are an important indicator of how they have changed from their innocence to a mature moral perspective. Boo is only an object of childhood superstition. He becomes increasingly real to Scout and Jem when he takes Scout’s gifts with him and makes Jem’s clothes.

Scout sees him as a human and understands her. Boo, an intelligent boy who has been ruined by his cruel father is one of the most significant mockingbirds in the book. He also represents the goodness and potential of people. Boo, despite all the pain he has experienced, is still a person of pure heart who interacts with the children. Boo, the ultimate symbol and embodiment of good, saved Jem (and Scout) from Bob Ewell.

Atticus Finch is a courageous man when he defends Tom Robinson in a court case that no other person would ever consider taking. It was an almost impossible fight. In their society, the opposite of courage was not cowardice or fear that they would lose the case. It was conformity – to be in line with the racist agenda. Atticus stands alone to defend an innocent African man in his community and fights against all odds. His neighbors doubt his resolve and question him almost rhetorically, asking if he’s a “niggerlover”.

Mockingbirds have been known to attack animals that are larger than they themselves in order to defend their nest – just as Atticus defends Tom. Tom was assumed guilty by everyone because of his black vision. Atticus gave Tom the benefit to the doubt and represented him even though everyone thought he would lose. It becomes more obvious that Tom was not presumed innocent until proven guilty. Rather, his sentence was already determined at birth by his skin color and “left to die”. Atticus was probably aware from the beginning of Tom’s story, but the Mockingbird continued to fight back.

As the novel progresses the children’s attitude towards Boo Radley changes. This is a key indicator of their evolution from innocence to a mature moral outlook. Boo Radley appears to be a source merely of childhood superstition. He becomes more fascinating and more real to Scout and Jem as Scout gives him presents and helps him fix his pants. Scout sees him as a human being at the end. It is a sign that she has matured into a sensitive and understanding individual.

Scout has shown that her mental strength has grown to adult level, and she doesn’t allow people to call her names. It’s not hurtful, it only shows how poor this person is. Boo, an intelligent boy whose life was destroyed by his cruel father is one of the best mockingbirds in the book. He also represents the goodness within us all. Boo, despite all the hurts he has experienced, is still a person of pure heart who interacts with children.

Boo has proven to be the ultimate symbol and example of goodness by saving Scout and Jem from Bob Ewell. Scout says towards the end that Boo Radley is like “shooting” a mockingbird. Miss Maudie then explains to Scout that mockingbirds can only do one thing: . . They will sing for us. Scout and Jem were born Finch. Scout is a small bird of the same species as the siblings.

Tom Robinson believes mockingbirds are only good. He is a good father, husband, pastor, worker, citizen, and person. Tom stated that he needed to go through the Ewell’s home to get to work. Mayella requested him to help her with chores every day that he passed her home. He was requested to fetch water, sort kindling, and other chores for her. Mayella’s seven children watched Tom work, as usual. Tom said that Mayella requested him to fix a broken door the day before the alleged attack. Tom examined the hinges, and found nothing amiss with the door.

Tom testified that he first noticed the house was unusually silent and that Mayella’s siblings had not been home. Mayella informed him that it had taken a whole year to save enough cash to send all the children out to town to get ice cream. Tom claims Mayella then asked Tom for a box. Mayella grabbed his legs and pushed him to the ground as he was trying to reach for the box from a high chair. Tom says that Mayella grasped him from the chair and made him scream. Mayella then hugged him and kissed.

Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird - Chart

Tom Robinson is a mockingbird for his innocence. He has not hurt anyone and is an admirable human being who gives support to others. It is’sinful’ for Tom to hurt him because he is innocent. It is obvious that Tom is like a mockingbird who kills a cripple. Both are completely defenseless before their pursuers, and so it is “sinful,” for them both to be killed this way.

It is important to note that symbolism like the Mockingbird (through the characters Atticus Finch. Tom Robinson. and Boo Radley) does not only show the good in us all. These characters serve to highlight the child-like innocence hidden deep inside. These characters are used to illustrate the maturation and depth of adulthood experienced daily by humans. “Real courage does not come from a man who has a gun in a hand.” “It is when you realize you don’t have the right tools to do what you need, but you still start and persevere no matter what.

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