Symbolism In Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

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Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central, 1982. In Harper Lee’s fictional novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a young girl named Scout Finch is forced to grow up quickly in her hometown. Scout is faced with racism and hypocrisy in the town as her father defends an African American man who has been accused of raping a white girl. The main setting in the story “To Kill a Mockingbird” is Maycomb County, Alabama. It takes place in the 1930’s. Maycomb is a “tired old town” (Lee 6) during the Great Depression. The streets “turned to red slop” in the rain, and “grass grew on the sidewalks” (6). In Maycomb, there is one odd house. This house is the Radley’s house. The Radley’s house is “three doors to the south” (7) of the Finch’s house.…show more content…
The main symbol in this story is the mockingbird. The mockingbird symbolizes innocence since it is a bird that sings and does not cause harm. Tom Robinson and Boo Radley are both like mockingbirds since they are innocent people who are wrongly judged. Another symbol in this story is a gavel. This symbolizes equality. In the courtroom, as Bob Ewell testifies that he saw Tom raping his daughter, the townspeople erupt. This angers the judge, who “hammered fully five minutes” (231) to get them to quiet down. By using his gavel, he is really asking for the townspeople in the courtroom to calm down and see the black man as an equal. However, in the end, the people in the jury cannot see this and Tom is found guilty simply because of his skin color. Finally, another symbol in this story is the knot hole in the tree in the Radley’s yard. This symbolizes the children’s growing friendship with Boo. Boo knew that the children were afraid of him, so he quietly tried to make friends with them throughout the novel by leaving small gifts for them in the knot hole. Since Boo was never outside, this was the only way that he could communicate with the children. To stop his brother from communicating with the children, Nathan Radley made up the excuse that the tree was dying. However, Atticus later told Scout that “that tree is as healthy as you are” (84). Boo was eventually able to show his friendship when he saved Scout’s life as she was being attacked by Bob Ewell, who “smelled of stale whiskey” (352) at the
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