Evilness In To Kill A Mockingbird

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Although the rapid dog in "To Kill a Mockingbird" only appears in one chapter and is killed rather quickly, it acts as a symbol for the reoccurring theme of the evilness in racism throughout the book, illustrates the courage that is gained from overcoming difficult situations, and being an experience that allows for the development of maturity. In a setting that is dominated by racism, such as in Maycomb, a majority of the population also have aspects of evilness due to the damaging effects of their racist behavior, which is represented by the rabid dog. During the Tom Robinson trial, Scout thought to herself how watching Judge Taylor was “like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching…show more content…
To others, it is natural for him to do the deed because of his talent, however, it is very difficult for Atticus to shoot the dog because of his hatred of both guns and his natural talent because it gives “...him an unfair advantage over most living things” so he “...he decided he wouldn’t shoot until he had to” (130). For him to be able to finish the job means that he set aside his very strong sense of morals and his goal to teach his children morals in order to protect his town. Since the dog represents the racism of Maycomb, Atticus both symbolically rose up against racism by killing the dog and literally by defending a black man. When the rabid dog came to Maycomb, everyone in the town cowardly ran into the safety of their house and locked everything up, except for Atticus. No one stands up to the evilness of racism even if they do not agree with it, such as Mrs. Maudie, who had clear opposition to racism. In “Still I Rise”, even though the author is more of a victim than in Atticus’ case, she rises up against racism like Atticus did because of her courage that is evident through the aspersions that she casts towards racists even though it could have gotten her into more trouble. These two people demonstrate that courage is not just being threatening and powerful, but instead being able to do something…show more content…
This scene is a turning point in the book because up until it, Jem and Scout did not understand what was happening in their everyday lives, however, from seeing the gruesomeness of the rabid dog getting shot and finding out about their father made the children think beyond their child-like mindset. Jem, who is older and therefore more mature than Scout realizes the purpose of his father’s secret by the end of the chapter. Even though Scout is less mature and said that she was going to tell everyone about the situation, this does not come up anywhere in the book so it can be assumed that she eventually understood Atticus’ reasoning. This maturing event is a preparation for Scout and Jem when they see true racism during Tom Robinson’s trial, yet even with this preparation they still end up not being able to handle the evilness of racism. The poem “Incident” can represent Scout and Jem’s initial immaturity because Atticus’ children and the boy in the poem all did not understand racism and when they experienced it for the first time, it left a permanent and unpleasant mark. In “Still I Rise”, the older and more mature narrator, who can be assumed to have acted the same way as Atticus’ children and the boy in the poem when she first experienced racism realizes that she is able to do
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