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Symbolism To Kill a Mockingbird. The Mockingbird A creature that should never be killed because it is harmless and even provides song for the enjoyment.

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Presentation on theme: "Symbolism To Kill a Mockingbird. The Mockingbird A creature that should never be killed because it is harmless and even provides song for the enjoyment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolism To Kill a Mockingbird

2 The Mockingbird A creature that should never be killed because it is harmless and even provides song for the enjoyment of others. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are basically blameless individuals who are at the mercy of society, yet society is cruel to Boo and ultimately Tom is murdered.

3 The Mockingbird The symbol of the mockingbird also points to Scout, both as an innocent child and as the grown-up narrator who “sings a song” in telling the story. Both Boo and Tom are discriminated against in Maycomb when they are, in fact, kind and gentle people

4 The Mockingbird Atticus tells the children that it is a “sin to kill a mockingbird” Mr. Underwood wrote in an editorial that “it was a sin to kill cripples […and] he likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children.” When Heck Tate decided that he would not arrest (or publicly praise) Boo for killing Bob Ewell and that Bob’s death would be presented as an accident, Atticus asked Scout if she understood the meaning of this decision. She replied saying she did: “Well, it’d be sort of like killing a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?”

5 The Mockingbird As Atticus cross-examines Mayella, he is clearly disturbed by the methods he has to use to save Tom’s life. He must hurt a helpless creature who is doing the best she can in a battle she lost at birth. Mayella is a mockingbird of sorts and Atticus must “kill” her. However, she is not entirely a helpless victim as she is hurting another person to save herself. (ch 18)

6 The Mockingbird The black community, being helpless under the white control of southern society, can also be seen as a potential mockingbird.

7 The Mad Dog

8 The madness of Maycomb’s racial prejudices. Bob Ewell can be seen as a mad dog because he does not think rationally and his prejudices and hatred consume him like a disease and spread through the town like a virus. Mad dogs “usually go in a straight line” according to Heck Tate. This symbolizes the stubborn attitude of the people of Maycomb who are either too proud or too lazy to change their minds.

9 The Mad Dog Tim Johnson was probably infected with a contagious disease such as rabies and so “he’s just as dangerous dead as alive.” Heck Tate said about Bob Ewell: “there are just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say howdy to 'em.” Atticus is the only one present at the time (Tim Johnson) that can kill the dog and put it out of its misery.

10 The Mad Dog Atticus can be seen as the only one who can help Maycomb see the error of its ways and try to bring peace to the racial conflict and putting that “mad dog” down. Atticus is the hero who destroys the evil: he stops the disease of prejudice from spreading further. When the jury returns, Scout knows they will return a guilty verdict before the decision is read: “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 (ch 21).

11 The Mad Dog = The Mob (ch 15) The Mad Dog is impervious to reason; is diseased and mindlessly pursues a path from which he cannot deviate; is unable to recognize those humans he would normally be friendly to Anonymity is the driving force behind all mob action; as soon as a single human being is drawn out of the dark, the power lessens.

12 The Mad Dog = The Mob (ch 16) Scout sees the parallel between the mad dog and mob and she cries the morning after. She just taught herself something for the first time in the novel. Later, Atticus reinforces this when he says, “So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses.... That proves something - that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children” (ch. 16)

13 Flowers: Camellias & Snow- on-the-Mountains The camellia is a state flower of Alabama; symbolically Jem attempts to destroy the prejudice of the people of Alabama. This is not an easy task. Mrs. Dubose taunts, “Thought you could kill my Snow-on- the-Mountain, did you?[…] the top’s growing back out. Next time you’ll know how to do it right, won’t you? You’ll pull it up by the roots, won’t you”

14 Flowers: Camellia & Snow-on-the- Mountain In order to combat prejudice, one must tackle the root of the problem, the attitudes planted in the minds of people for many generations. Pulling roots is far more difficult than cutting the tops off of the flowers, symbolizing the difficulty of destroying prejudice. The camellias represent courage, tolerance, and patience for both Jem and Mrs. Dubose.

15 Flowers: Geraniums The geraniums in Mayella’s yard are symbolic of her yearning for a better life and to be more than she is perceived to be. In a decaying house, Mayella’s flowers seem out of place. If they were not so common, they would belong better in Miss Maudie’s yard since such flowers need to be taken care of with love – which is not evident in the Ewell home.

16 Names Bird references: FINCH, ROBINson A “scout” is someone who goes in front of a group of people to see what lies ahead. Scout Finch goes ahead of the others (her peers and even some adults) to realize the perils of racism. A perfect name for an inquisitive, curious child! Jem: gem; jewel, something precious and valuable.

17 Names Tom Robinson: literary character Uncle Tom and the novel’s main symbolic motif. "Uncle Tom" has also become an epithet for a person who is enslaved and excessively subservient to perceived authority figures

18 Names Bob Ewell (Robert E. Lee Ewell): Confederate general Robert E. Lee. There was also another Civil War leader by the name of General Richard Ewell. Bob Ewell represents racism and the Old South. Atticus: derivation of the name of Roman philosopher who was known for being impartial in arguments.


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