Examples Of Parallelism In To Kill A Mockingbird

842 Words4 Pages

Author Harper Lee, in her novel “To Kill A Mockingbird”, depicts a court trial in which Atticus Finch, a Maycomb County lawyer, attempts to defend an innocent black man, Tom Robinson, who was falsely accused of rape and beating by a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Finch’s purpose is to prove Tom’s innocence to the court and avoid an inaccurate conviction. He adopts a deliberate tone in order to rule the jury’s speculation in favor of Robinsons guiltlessness. Atticus begins his argument by contrasting social moralities versus actual law. He describes the actions of Mayella Ewell, the accuser, as, “Something that in [their] society is unspeakable,” because she was white, and, “tempted a Negro”(231). This statement introduces the idea that Mayella …show more content…

He mentions that there is the, “evil assumption”, that “all Negroes lie...are basically immoral beings…[and] are not to be trusted around our women” (232). Later in his statement, he identifies this previous claim as, “a lie blacker than Tom Robinson's skin” (232). Atticus uses this statement to accentuate the accuracy of the common idea that not all Negroes act the same. By repeating the same sentence structure, or using parallelism, a meaningful explanation is created and is used to amplify the falsehood of the statement. Thus, assuring the jury that, unlike the common assumption, Tom is not like “all” Negro men. Following his earlier claim, Atticus reiterates the, “truth”, being, “ Some Negroes lie… are immoral…[and] are not to be trusted around women” (232). Atticus adjusts the statement in order to reveal the real legitimacy surrounding the actions of Negro men. His frequent use of parallelism adds depth and power to his statements,furthermore generating a stronger impact on the viewpoint of the jury. By using parallelism to strengthen his statements, Atticus’ claims have a superlative significance on the jury and appeal to their decision regarding the preservation of Tom’s …show more content…

Finishing off his final statements, Atticus mentions that Thomas Jefferson once said that, “‘all men are created equal’” and that the phrase is often used, “out of context” (233). During this moment in the speech, he makes a transition from a rhetorical strategy of logos, to a new rhetorical strategy of ethos. By making this transition, Atticus further strengthens his argument by including statements that shows the jury his overall appeal leading the entire argument. The use of both logos, a method of appealing to the audience's sense of reason and logic, and ethos, the appeal that shapes the entire argument, serve to invigorate his reasoning and create a firmer defense for Tom’s case. Later, Atticus alludes to one way, “ in the country that all men are created equal”, that of which being the human institution of, “a court” (233). This appeal can be identified as pathos, a method of appealing to the audiences emotions. Since the Jury, being the audience, is familiar with the mentioned institution, the statement creates a secure connection to their attitude towards the case. Once again allowing Atticus to leave a bigger impact in the overall decision of the Jury regarding the case. The utilization of shifts in rhetorical strategies throughout Atticus’ closing argument

Open Document