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To Kill A Mockingbird - Symbolism

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Sandra McMaster

on 12 March 2014

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Transcript of To Kill A Mockingbird - Symbolism

Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). Mockingbirds in To Kill a Mockingbird. Retrieved February 3, 2014 from http://www.shmoop.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/mockingbirds-symbol.html
To Kill A Mockingbird Symbolism
represents the "madness" of most of the neighbors that Atticus has to face.
The Bluejays
Can be represented as the Ewells in behavior. Both are aggressive and territorial
The Mockingbirds
They can be represented as Tom Robinson and Arthur "Boo" Radley.
Brief Summary
Overall, between these situations, it all deals with trying to defeat the chaos and cruelty of the town over racism. Atticus and a few others gain the ability to fight back in order to open the eyes of those who are ignorant, to be able to see the wrongful acts of their society. You can't judge a person by their skin color or how they choose to live.
The Prompt
In the middle of the novel, Atticus is called upon to shoot a mad dog-Tim Johnson, considered the "pet of Maycomb" that threatens the community. Explain the symbolic significance of this incident and relate it to the fact that after Jem and Scout receive air rifles as gifts, Atticus tells them, "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
The Mad Dog
The absurdity of the community is based on racism.
The atmosphere resembles the showdown that later occurs in the courtroom, which is reasoning vs. irrationality.
Reveals Atticus's sudden strength and desire to protect what is true and right. From protecting his children to protecting Tom Robinson and equality.
As a group or individually, they attack those who are considered their "enemies" or a possible threat.
Also represented as some of the nosy neighbors in the town. They talk a lot with others, spreading rumors, like a bluejay chattering loudly.
They are innocent creatures who don't mean to cause any harm.
Considered immoral/ a sin to kill them for they never did anything wrong.

"I saw something only a lawyer's child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty. A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson" (Lee, H., pg. 211, 1960).
"As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash" (Lee, H., pg. 220, 1960).
Both Tom and Arthur minded their own business, only trying their best to help others, such as assisting Mayella Ewell or simply offering gifts to the Finch children.
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee, H., pg. 90, 1960).
What is the symbolism of the dog in to kill a mockingbird?. (2010, July 25). Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-symbolism-dog-kill-mockingbird-394702
Lee, H. (1960). To kill a mockingbird. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.
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