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Use of Symbols in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

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To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee, the novel was published in 1960. The novel was written in a time of racial inequality in the United States. To Kill a Mockingbird is told in the perspective of a young girl named Scout, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, who is naïve and innocent. Scout matures throughout the novel through her father, Atticus, and she becomes more aware of the prejudice in Maycomb County. When Atticus loses his case, Scout and her brother, Jem, learn that blacks cannot have a fair trial, but their new found maturity has taught them not assume someone’s character without knowing them first, such as with Boo Radley. Scout says, “‘…Atticus, he was real nice…’” (Lee 376), Atticus replied, “‘most people are, when you finally see them.’” (Lee 376). Lee uses ties with nature to symbolize not only racial issues, but other major themes such as loss of innocence. She uses things in nature such as flowers and animals to subtlety reveal major themes of the novel.
The mockingbird, a prime symbol in To Kill a Mockingbird, which represents the concept of innocence, demonstrates the irony of killing a mockingbird in relation to harming something innocent. A mockingbird is a type bird that mimics the sounds of other birds; the mockingbird is a harmless species. The Mockingbird itself is a representation of innocent because all it does it provides song. The idea of killing a mockingbird is considered a sin because the mockingbird is innocent, Atticus said, “‘…shoot all the blue jays you want, if ya can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,’” (Lee 119) this is the first time Atticus ever told Scout something was a sin, so Scout went to Ms. Maudie for clarification. Ms. Maudie explained, “‘your fat...


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...presents the persecution of innocent people or the altogether loss of innocence. Lee also uses flowers to demonstrate religious, social, and racial issues of Maycomb County through different characters. She also includes a sickly dog to parallel the racism of Maycomb County and to parallel Tom Robinson’s scenario. They all tie into Scout’s life and how she grows out of an innocent young girl to a mature woman in just a few, short years. They all affect her life, big or small. The issues in Maycomb society have made her aware of the world, thus her loss of innocence.



Works Cited

Jones, Carolyn. "CRITICAL READINGS: Atticus Finch And The Mad Dog: Harper Lees To Kill A Mockingbird." Critical Insights: To Kill A Mockingbird (2010): 145-164. Literary Reference Center. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1960.



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