Symbolism in to Kill A Mockingbird

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There is a lot of symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. There are subtle and obvious symbols. The mockingbird is undoubtedly the most prominent symbol. The mockingbird is a symbol of courage and innocence as well as adulthood. These themes are represented in the characters Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, and Tom Robinson.

Definition of Symbolism

Symbolism can be found everywhere. Symbolism can be used to symbolize something else. Symbolism can be used by authors to express a particular mood or emotion within a piece of literature. It’s the use of an object or person to represent another thing, such as an idea. Symbolism can be classified as:

  • Metaphor is a way to compare two things that are not related. It does not require the use of the words like’ or ‘as’. The phrase “Time is money” is one example of a metaphor that compares time and money. This is a symbolism example because it shows the importance of managing your time and money wisely.
  • Allegory is an extended metaphor. An allegory is a story, poem, or book that contains symbolism that extends throughout the entire literary piece. The Russian Revolution is represented by animals on a farm in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. The farm animals represent how greed and lack of concern for others can lead to revolution.

How symbolism in to kill a mockingbird is portrayed

While most of the symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee seem obvious, some are more subtle. They were deliberately created by the author. The editor suggested it? Is the author unaware of the significance of symbolism? It doesn’t matter what, if we look at the book closely, we can see how subtle the ideas and motifs are connected, conscious or unconscious. This allows us to explore symbolism in literature, and possibly elsewhere.


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Let’s begin with the most obvious symbol, the mockingbird. The mockingbird is a songbird, Mimus Polyglossus that can be found throughout North America and other countries. Mockingbirds are most well-known for their ability to mimic the songs of other birds, as well as the sounds of insects, amphibians, and frogs, loudly and repeatedly. As we’ll see, there are many ways to interpret this behavior. They are a species that is closely related to the finch. It’s no surprise then, that Finch is the chief family of the Finch family.

The common sin of killing a mockingbird is to murder an otherwise innocent and beautiful creature. The novel’s black protagonist, Tom Robinson, is described as a mockingbird. So can Boo Radley, the mysterious neighbor who, like the bird, is a victim to children. Scout, the young heroine, is also referred to as a mockingbird. Both Tom and Boo are innocent victims who are subject to irrational prejudice. They are both ‘caged’ by the state and his family. We might also be able to infer that Scout has been ‘caged by her naivete.

Mockingbirds could also symbolize the innocence of childhood, which is ‘killed” in many ways for Scout, Jem, and Dill. The mockingbird, which is an imitator and copies other’s music, is something that is often not stressed. This symbol can also be used to represent the entire town of Maycombe, where the majority of the people’ imitate’ one another’s prejudice. Scout, who tends to imitate others throughout the book until she has her own view at the end, effectively ‘killing’ blind imitation, can be seen in this.

Chapter 10 is the first appearance of the mockingbird. Atticus tells children to shoot all the blue jays they want… but it’s a sin for a mockingbird to be killed. Miss Maudie clarifies that mockingbirds are harmless and only produce music for people to enjoy. This connection is made explicit in Chapter 30, where Scout acknowledges that Boo’s public exposure would be “sort of like shooting a mockingbird”. The bird is also mentioned in Chapter 10, following the death of Tim Johnson, the rabid dog. Chapter 21, as they wait for the verdict. Chapter 25, in Underwood’s newspaper article. Chapter 21, as the children prepare for the pageant. Chapter 21: Chapter 25.

The story includes a lot of mocking: Boo Radley is mocked by the children, who make up stories about him that we later learn he overheard. Mayella accuses Atticus, which she herself finds to be a mockery, of mocking her during the trial. Atticus, who passes on ideas to Scout, shows the concept of what is passed down in a family. Imitating can be a vice, such as mockery or the inherited prejudice to racism. Or it could be a noble and necessary virtue: the social endowment with principles and morals that is passed down from generation to generation.

Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird: Going beyond the Bird -

The novel also features flowers: Mrs Dubose could use her camellias to represent prejudices. When Jem cuts off their heads, the camellias symbolize a young and simplistic approach that doesn’t address the root causes of racism and other attitudes. The snow-on the-mountain could be a representation of Mrs Dubose’s position in the community. The single one Jem gets after her death is a symbol of both reconciliation and the liberation of her spirit through her death.

Azaleas are a type rhododendron that thrives in harsh conditions. They are known for opening all of their flowers at once, which could be a symbol of openness and fearlessness. Geraniums are not a good substitute for roses because they smell like cats. Mayella Ewell keeps them alive in six chipped-enamel slip jars, which is an American term for a chamberpot. They are a symbol for Mayella’s despair and tragic entrapment within a dark-hearted, deprived family.

Racism: Tim Johnson, the rabid dog, is often thought to symbolize the racism that is rampant in the Southern communities of the novel. This spreads like an epidemic and promotes irrationality. By shooting the dog, Atticus symbolically opposes that racism.

Any object, person or thing can remind us of another, whether it is in the context or real life. A connection can be deemed valid if it has textual support or context evidence. What is the difference between contextual and textual evidence? The first is within the novel, looking at its words, characters, themes, and so forth. The second is outside book, which looks at the society and ideas that were available at the time the book was written.

According to Northrop Frye, the first is a centripetal Movement, which looks inward. The second is a central Movement, which is looking outward. We have looked at the symbols from above centripetally. However, we can also look at the moment in which the novel was written to see evidence of civil rights movements that were active at the time it was being created.

Sometimes symbols can be so powerful that they bridge both the motions. Scout is transported into a dream-world when Judge Taylor renders his verdict on Tom Robinson. She sees Atticus walking down the street with a rifle in his hand and pulling the trigger. But she also knows that the gun is empty. Scout sees the dog as a symbol for the racism that abounds outside and within the novel. However, Scout thinks it is to something in the novel.

We also learn that Atticus is much more than Scout’s father. His stick is the rifle symbolizing his power. Atticus’ stick, however, fails to defeat the evil of society. His rifle killed the dog and the story was rewritten entirely.

Heck Tate’s critique of Atticus’s shooting, “You were a little too right”, is buried in a dense symbolic context. It is laden with layers of meaning, such as “to the right” in moral terms, “to the right” in political terms or “just slightly off target,” which is exactly what Atticus does in his address to jurors in the trial.

What is the correct meaning of the word? There is no correct interpretation. There are many symbolic inter linkings. They can be convincing only if there is sufficient evidence to support them. The delusional part of this statement is the extent to which textual and contextual evidence fades away.

The suggestion that Atticus is the result of illegal drugs in the novel is without any credible evidence. However, it is possible to support the idea that something is resonant about the action stabbing in the novel: Boo Radley is locked up for an unprovoked stabbing of his father’s legs with a pair scissors. He is kept away from society and is only seen briefly at the end.

He stabs again in his second reappearance as an act of heroics, to defend helpless children. But society, Maycombe’s Sheriff, knowingly allows him to go free. It is clear that Lee intended the first stabbing to prefigure the second and that the actions are symmetrical. It can be discussed in detail about the power of the government versus individuals, justice, families, heroism and the justice system. However, it can all be valid if there’s evidence.

Boo Radley

The children’s evolving attitudes toward Boo Radley as the novel progresses is a key indicator of their maturation from an innocent to a mature moral perspective. Boo Radley is only a source for childhood superstition at the beginning of this book. He gradually becomes more and more real to Scout and Jem as he gives Scout gifts and mending Jem’s trousers.

Scout becomes completely human to him at the end of the novel. This is a sign that Scout has become a more sympathetic and understanding person. Boo, a smart child who was beaten by his cruel father, is a key symbol of the goodness that exists within humans. Boo’s interactions with children are governed by the purity of his heart, despite the hurt he has endured. Boo is the ultimate symbol for good by saving Scout and Jem from Bob Ewell.

Atticus Finch shows courage by defending Tom Robinson in a case that no one would consider, an apparently impossible fight. Their society’s opposite of courage was not fear or cowardice in the case but conformity to the racist agenda at the time. Atticus is the only person in his community who defends an innocent black man and is outnumbered by Maycomb County’s prejudice. His neighbors question his resolve, and almost rhetorically ask him if he is a “nigger-lover”.

To defend their nest, mockingbirds are known to attack larger animals than themselves. Tom is no different. Because Tom’s black eyes “see what they are looking for”, everyone assumed he was guilty. Atticus represented Tom even though everyone believed he would lose, and gave him the benefit of doubt. It is becoming increasingly clear that Tom was not innocent until proven guilty. Instead, his sentence was decided at birth by his skin colour and he was “left to die”. Atticus probably knew right from the beginning how Tom’s story would end, but the Mockingbird won the fight.

The children’s growing attitude towards Boo Radley as the novel progresses is a sign of their maturation from innocence to a mature moral perspective. Boo Radley is only a source for childhood superstition at the beginning of this book. He gradually becomes more interesting and real as he visits Scout and Jem, and makes Scout’s clothes. Scout becomes completely human after the novel ends, which shows that Scout has become a compassionate and understanding person.

Scout has shown that she is capable of thinking like an adult and not let people make fun of her. It doesn’t hurt anyone, it just shows how poor someone is.” Boo, a smart child who was ruined by his cruel father, is one the most important mockingbirds in the book. He is also a symbol of the goodness that exists within each person. Boo’s interactions with children are governed by the purity of his heart, despite the hurt he has endured.

Boo is the ultimate symbol for good, saving Jem from Bob Ewell and Scout from him. Scout believes that Boo Radley hurting him would be like shooting a mockingbird. Scout is told by Miss Maudie at the end of the book: “Mockingbirds do not do one thing, but they do all the other things.” . . Sing their hearts out for us. Scout and Jem are a type of mockingbird that is considered a sin to kill.

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson, like mockingbirds, does only good. He is a great husband, father, Christian, worker, citizen, and person. Tom said that he had to go to the Ewell’s house in order to get to work during his trial. Mayella had asked him to assist her with chores as often as he could. He was asked to carry water, cut kindling and perform other duties for her. Mayella’s seven younger siblings watched Tom work. Tom claimed that Mayella had asked him to fix a door on the day of the alleged attack.

Tom looked at the hinges and found no problems. Tom stated that he noticed that the house was unusually quiet, and that Mayella’s siblings weren’t home. Mayella explained to him that it took all of a year to save enough money for all the children to go to town for ice-cream. Tom claims that Mayella asked Tom to take a box off the top of his chifforobe. Mayella grabbed Tom’s legs as he stood on a chair to retrieve the box. Tom claims that Mayella grabbed his legs and he fell off the chair. Mayella hugged him and then kissed his cheeks.

Because Tom Robinson is innocent, he is a mockingbird. He has never hurt anyone and is an admirable character who gives help to others. It is’sinful to harm Tom because he is innocent. This is the obvious parallel between Tom killing a mockingbird or a cripple man. Both are totally defenseless against their accusers and it is therefore “sinful” to have them killed that way.

The symbolism of Mockingbird, as used by the characters Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley, does more than just show the goodness in all of us. These characters are meant to bring out the child-like innocence that lies deep within. These characters serve to show the depth and maturity of adulthood and maturity that humans experience every day. “Real courage” is not “a man holding a gun in his hands” “It’s when it’s clear that you are licked before starting, but you continue anyway and see it through.

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