Literary Elements Used in "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Topics: Fiction, Literature / Pages: 2 (391 words) / Published: Feb 29th, 2004
Harper Lee uses many literary elements and techniques that make her novel appealing to a reader. Foreshadowing, use of setting, many themes (or motifs), and well-developed characters are prevalent in this novel.

Lee uses many motifs in this novel. The reoccurring symbols can also be interpreted as foreshadowing. Hands and arms play a big role as well as the distinction between left and right. This mostly pertains to trial of Tom Robinson. References to birds and the color red also show up quite often in the novel. These motifs are associated with Arthur 'Boo ' Radley. Use of some of these symbols (in context) create curiosity and suspense for the reader.

Lee also uses her talent to vividly describe and develop her characters. "Walter looked as if he had been raised on fish food: his eyes, as blue as Dill Harris 's, were red-rimmed and watery. There was no color in his face except at the tip of his nose, which was mostly pink. He fingered the straps of his overalls nervously, picking at the metal hooks." This is just one example of how Lee paints a picture for the reader of even a minor character like Walter Cunningham. You can almost picture the entire novel like you are watching it in your mind.

"Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old one when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop, grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter than a black dog suffered on a summer 's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men 's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after three o 'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of swear and sweet talcum." Lee uses imagery, similes, and metaphors to paint the setting of Maycomb, Alabama in the early 1900 's. She uses personification to describe the town as 'tired. ' Lee depicts the town 's appearance is during different



References: to birds and the color red also show up quite often in the novel. These motifs are associated with Arthur 'Boo ' Radley. Use of some of these symbols (in context) create curiosity and suspense for the reader. Lee also uses her talent to vividly describe and develop her characters. "Walter looked as if he had been raised on fish food: his eyes, as blue as Dill Harris 's, were red-rimmed and watery. There was no color in his face except at the tip of his nose, which was mostly pink. He fingered the straps of his overalls nervously, picking at the metal hooks." This is just one example of how Lee paints a picture for the reader of even a minor character like Walter Cunningham. You can almost picture the entire novel like you are watching it in your mind. "Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old one when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop, grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter than a black dog suffered on a summer 's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men 's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after three o 'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of swear and sweet talcum." Lee uses imagery, similes, and metaphors to paint the setting of Maycomb, Alabama in the early 1900 's. She uses personification to describe the town as 'tired. ' Lee depicts the town 's appearance is during different weather conditions. She also explains the bathing habits of the female citizens of Maycomb to emphasize her ideas. The way, in which Harper Lee wrote her novel, could be considered the epitome of how 'a good literary work ' should be written. All the elements are present to demonstrate this.

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