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To kill A Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities, and is used often in the book to help readers understand central themes throughout the novel. To Kill a Mockingbird has several symbols including Tim Johnson, the mad dog, who represents racism in Maycomb, Alabama, the mockingbird which represents innocence, and Jem, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, who are essentially the mockingbirds of the story.
The mad dog in To Kill a Mockingbird symbolizes racism in Maycomb. When Jem and Scout are outside and see Tim Johnson staggering towards them and roaming around the streets they run inside and get Calpurnia, or as Jem calls her, Cal. At first Cal thinks that Jem is playing with her, but when Cal goes outside and sees the dog. When she sees this Cal first calls Atticus Finch and tells him about Tim Johnson then she goes door to door telling the citizens that there is a mad dog loose. The townspeople shut their doors and windows and satay locked up inside the safety of their homes. Just like the people hide from Tim Johnson, they also avoid the issue of racism in the town. As quoted by Atticus “I hope and pray that I can get Jem and Scout through it all without bitterness, and most of all without catching Maycomb’s usual disease”.(Lee, #) The quote relates because just like racism, rabies is a contagious disease. Additionally Tim Johnson represents racism because Atticus is the only one in town who can shoot them, and is the one the defend Tom Robinson after he is accused of raping Mayella Ewell.
Another symbol in the book is the mockingbird, which represents innocence. A character that is an example of this is Jem. Throughout the first part of the book his innocence has been used to help him. When Jem sees the mad dog he doesn’t understand exactly what is going on and why the citizens are so scared. After the trial he becomes more aware and realizes how because he strongly believes that Tom will win, he thought that the jury would look past him being a Negro, but they didn’t. I think that the trial makes Jem realize how cruel people can be in the world.
Yet another person that can also be seen as the mockingbird is Tom Robinson. He is an innocent man yet killed. Mockingbirds are important figures in Maycomb’s society. When Atticus gives Jem his first gun and he says “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”.(Lee,90) When Scout asks Miss Maudie about what her father had said to Jem earlier she responds “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”(Lee, 90) This quote explains how Atticus wants to teach his children some life lessons. The main lesson he wants Jem and Scout is to not to pray on the week An important character in the book is Boo Radley, because he represents a mockingbird, and the judgment in Maycomb. Considering all the rumors about Boo the kids don’t know what the real Boo is like. Dill, Jem, and Scout have heard many rumors about Boo. Even though they don’t know him and have never seen him they assume he is a monster. As Scout said “Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained—if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood off. There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time”.(Lee, 17) This shows how the kids have a wrong opinion of Boo Radley They latter find out that he is kind and has a gentle soul, as he leaves gifts under an oak tree such as gum, coins, medals, and a pocket knife. The town doesn’t know about these gifts, and so they treat him and Nathan poorly. Additionally the Radley brothers get judged by everyone in the town, because they believe that Boo is being held prisoner I his house due to something he did a long time ago, and is ashamed of doing. Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird is recognized throughout the book. It reveals mindedness of the Maycomb citizens. Not only does symbolism reveal the narrow mindedness of the citizens, but also reveals an attempt to filter people from their feelings. Symbolism in to Kill a Mockingbird also helps the reader understand what is happening. It also expresses affection and prejudice in Maycomb. The main two symbols in the text are the mad dog and the mockingbirds in the book, Jem, Tom Robinson, and Boo Radley.

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