Presented to Mrs. Davis, Ph.D
In The Subject of English
April 2nd, 2012
To Kill a Mockingbird Essay – Symbolism
According to many dictionaries, symbolism is “the practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships”. In the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the mockingbird referred to in the title is a prominent symbol throughout; the snowman building in the winter and Atticus Finch are other examples of symbolism. Some symbols are easily seen, but some require a certain approach and a little digging to understand. The snowman, the fire in Miss Maudie Atkinson's house, and the mockingbird are all examples of symbolism. The snowman that Jem and Scout make in front of Miss Maudie Atkinson's house one winter is an example of symbolism. There is not enough snow for the snowman, so Jem uses dirt for the foundation and then covers it with the snow that they have on the ground. The snowman is symbolic in that Jem is trying to cover up the black ‘man’ and showing that he is the same as the white man, just with a different colour. ‘‘‘Jem I ain’t ever heard of a n***** snowman’, I said.” “He won’t be black long’, he grunted.”’ (Lee, p.89) This symbol takes a certain outlook to understand, much like the main protagonist of the novel Atticus Finch. Atticus Finch is a great example of symbolism as he is seen as a hero when he kills the rabid dog. Atticus is a father in that he shows love and guidance to his children. He is also the only lawyer in Maycomb that would represent a black man. Atticus always tells his children that shooting a mockingbird is a sin because they do not do any harm “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird...”...