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Symbolism in to Kill a Mockingbird

  • Date Submitted: 09/11/2013 04:41 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55 
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How did Harper Lee use symbolism in her novel?
In her novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee use a range of symbols to present concepts to the reader.   When something represents something else, it is considered a symbol. Sometimes symbolisms lead to hidden and deeper meaning in the novel.   The symbolisms in To Kill A Mockingbird covers much of its themes such as prejudice, discrimination and innocence. Particular /symbols that are being portrays in the novel are the mockingbird which represent innocence; the house fire at Miss Maudie’s house and the snowman which highlights the racism of Maycomb; and the mad dog which symbolize the town’s prejudice in the text.
Harper Lee uses the mockingbird to demonstrate innocence. The mockingbird becomes highly symbolic as we progress through the plot. Throughout the text, any innocent people are hurt or destroyed by evil. Tom Robison and Arthur Radley are both mockingbirds. Tom Robison is a Negro accused of raping a white girl and discriminated against by the people of Maycomb because of his colour. Boo Radley, a recluse who were actually secretly looking out for Jem and Scout, is prejudiced to be a “malevolent phantom” only because he chose to isolates himself from society and does not conforms to Maycomb’s ways. Atticus’ most remarkable words are to his children when he tells them that they may “shoot all the bluejays [they] want” but he reminds them that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”. As Miss Maudie explains to the children mockingbirds are not harmful to anyone and only “make music for [people] to enjoy”. The discrimination of Maycomb toward Tom Robison, and their victimizing of Boo, is equivalent to that of shooting a mockingbird as these men are both innocent.  
The house fire that destroyed Miss Maudie’s house represents racism and discrimination. Harper Lee purposely linked this symbolism with the snowman, which symbolize equality, to give us the big picture of Maycomb’s fiery attitude toward the mixing of...


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