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To Kill a Mockingbird: Theme and Metaphor Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 01/27/2010 11:04 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.7 
  • Words: 1173
  • Essay Grade: 4,00 /5 (1 Graders)
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During the first half of Mockingbird Harper Lee constructs a sweet and affectionate portrait of growing up in the vanished world of small town Alabama..   Lee, however, proceeds to undermine her portrayal of small town gentility during the second half of the book.   Lee dismantles the sweet fa├žade to reveal a rotten, rural underside filled with social lies, prejudice, and ignorance.   But no one in Mockingbird is completely good or evil.   Every character is human, with human flaws and weaknesses.   Lee even renders Atticus, the paragon of morality, symbolically weak by making him an old and widowed man as opposed to young and virile.   It is how these flawed characters influence and are influenced by the major themes underpinning their society.

Three major themes run through To Kill a Mockingbird: education, bravery, and prejudice.   We learn how important education is to Atticus and his children in the first chapter when Jem announces to Dill that Scout has known how to read since she was a baby.   Atticus reads to the children from newspapers and magazines as if they are adults who can understand issues at his level.   By the time Scout attends her first day of school she is highly literate, far surpassing the other children in the classroom and frustrating her teacher whose task it is to teach her students according to a predetermined plan.

It soon becomes clear why Atticus thinks education is so important.   During his closing arguments Atticus explicitly acknowledges the ignorance blinding people's minds and hearts: "the witnesses for the state…have presented themselves to you gentlemen…in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the…evil assumption…that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their...


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    • Dec 18, 2004 - Evaluator: (nikkie73)
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