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Flower Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird
Transcript of Flower Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
“Calpurnia was something else again […] She was always ordering me out of the kitchen, asking me why I couldn’t behave as well as Jem when she knew he was older, and calling me home when I wasn’t ready to come...She had been with us ever since Jem was born”
Azaleas - Miss Maudie
"Miss Maudie hated her house: time spend indoors was time wasted. She was a widow, a chameleon lady who worked in her flower beds in an old straw hat and men's coveralls, but after her five o'clock bath she would appear on the porch and reign over the street in magisterial beauty."
Camellia - Mrs. Dubose
“Thought you could kill my Snow-on-the-Mountain, did you? Well, Jessie says the top’s growing back out. Next time you’ll know how to do it right, won’t you? You’ll pull it up by the roots, won’t you?”
Geraniums - Mayella Ewell
“One corner of the yard, though, bewildered Maycomb. Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell’s.”
Staple flower of the South
Comes in various shades of pink
Known for opening their blossoms all at once
Very hardy; can grow in poor soil conditions
Miss Maudie fits in with the other women of Maycomb but she is not easily controlled by others.
She is stronger than most women in Maycomb.
She is opinionated and says what's on her mind.
Despite the negative environment around her (racism), she remains positive.
State Flower of Alabama since 1959.
Large, white flower
Deep roots; thrives in acidic soil.
Grows rapidly and very tall; almost like a weed.
It's hard to kill; you have to attack it from he roots.
Mrs. Dubose is infected with a disease, just like the disease of Maycomb (racism).
Racism grows rapidly and is very infectious.
Jem cuts the top off of all her camellias, but the issue is not resolved because it is rooted deeper than that.
The single camellia left for Jem could symbolize that you can't get rid of racism that easily. It still exists, just like the mad dog is still infectious after it is shot.
The "poor man's rose"
Grow well in hot and humid environments
Some say they smell like cats... Others say that they smell like citrus, which repels cats.
It is ironic that Mayella grows her flowers in something that is intended for human waste.
The flowers suggest that Mayella desires to be better than her surroundings, to aspire to better things. She is different than the other Ewells.
Like a cat, Mayella needs companionship, but she has no friends. She turns to Tom because he is the only one who is nice to her. In the trial, she turns on him and repels him, trying to remove the guilt and shame.
Violet - Mayella Ewell
"As Tom Robinson gave his testimony, it came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years. When Atticus asked had she any friends, she seemed not to know what he meant, then she thought he was making fun of her. She was as sad, I thought, as what Jem called a mixed child: white people wouldn't have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldn't have anything to do with her because she was white.
The flower gets it's name from the color of the petals.
Violet is an "in-between" color on the color spectrum.
It falls between purple and blue.
"When Atticus asked had she any friends, she seemed not to know what he meant, then she thought he was making fun of her. She was as sad, I thought, as what Jem called a mixed child: white people wouldn't have anything to do with her because she lived among pigs; Negroes wouldn't have anything to do with her because she was white." - Scout
Mayella is in between two societies - she doesn't fit in with either one, which makes er very lonely.
Calpurnia - The Calpurnia Flower
The Calpurnia Flower
• Grows in Africa
• Takes two forms: pods and flowers
• Seeds are ground to heal wounds and ailments
Takes two forms; just like her double life
Healing flower – she takes care of the kids