Essay on Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Essay on Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee has used symbolism rather extensively throughout the novel
and a great deal of it refers to the problems of racism in the South
during the early twentieth century. Symbolism can be traced in almost
every important episode or event which formulates the story line.
Right from the beginning Scout's character and her outlook towards the
behavior of the people in Maycomb county symbolizes a child's innate
curiosity towards life. It also portrays the untainted intelligence
which helps her see beyond what is apparent.

Scout's understanding of Walter Cunningham's poverty and his
self-pride is a prime example of this. Even Scout and Jem's
relationship with Calpurnia symbolizes the rare understanding of
racism prevalent during those times.

Miss Maudie is a classic example of the enlightened woman living in an
age of suppressed womanhood. Miss Maudie hates staying indoors and is
always seen pottering around her garden, working on her flowerbeds.
She understands Atticus' need to fight against the racial prejudices
and believes in him absolutely. When her house gets burnt down,
instead of moping about it, she is back on her feet the next day,
restoring her house and her garden. She is thus a symbol of strength
and integrity.

Mrs. Dubose symbolizes the grit and determination of a woman, who
though aware of the fact that she is going to die soon, wants to do so
with all her wits about her. Her addiction to morphine is a negative
factor and she attempts to overcome it appreciably.

Finally, the deepest symbolism conveyed is through the use of the
concept of the mockingbird. Th...


... middle of paper ...


...with serious
thoughts, yet Harper Lee has injected humor in novel. She has made a
subtle use of humor, so that the reader can comprehend the serious
messages with the agreeable flavor of humor. Scout's childish viewing
of the entire scenario touches the reader's heart and brings a smile
to the face, while going though the entire gamut of experiences that
childhood is all about. Thus she very effectively blends entertainment
with serious morality.

The lesson of equality is also imparted very effectively. It is well
brought out that man has needlessly differentiated between the color
of complexion of people and so formed barriers of prejudice. Harper
has taken pains to convey the message that one must learn to be
tolerant towards others. Only then can a better understanding and a
stronger bond of mankind be formed.

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