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To Kill a Mockingbird

Essay by   •  January 13, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,182 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,292 Views

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Racism is like a wildfire, as it affects and harms many people. Unfortunately, in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, racism affects the thoughts and actions of many residents. As events conflict with their beliefs, they choose whether to stick to them or push them aside. Harper Lee, the author, uses symbolism, foreshadowing, and irony to depict the racism within the book To Kill A Mockingbird.

Lee uses symbolism to show how the blacks don't bother the whites. The way she explains it shows how, in fact, they could work out their differences. For example, Scout, the narrator, sees a roly-poly and thinks about squishing it until her brother Jem tells her not to. His reason is that those insects do not harm anyone (Lee 319-320). The roly-poly symbolizes the black people in Maycomb. The blacks do not bother anyone, like the roly-poly does not do anything to Scout. Similarly, Ms. Maudie, Scout's neighbor, tells her and Jem, "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy...That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (Lee 119). The mockingbird ties in with the roly-poly. They symbolize how the black community does not harm others. The mockingbird can be taken a bit further when Ms. Maudie says that they make music. The music symbolizes the different cultures that people have to share. Mockingbirds make music to enjoy, while people share their cultures for others to appreciate. Additionally, Jem and Scout make a snowman out of mud because they do not have much snow in their yard. Later, they use Ms. Maudie's snow to finish it up (Lee 87-88). The snowman symbolizes how the blacks and whites can work together in the community. The mud on the inside of the snowman is the foundation, and the black people are the foundation of the community because without them, Maycomb would not be diverse. When the white snow is in Ms. Maudie's yard, the snowman looks unpleasant, like the racist community. However, when Jem and Scout put the snow on top of the mud, the snowman is complete, which represents a community where people are treated equally. The symbolism shows how different races are treated, but when they come together, they can perfect their community.

Lee hints the result of the trial by using foreshadowing to show how difficult it is for blacks to win against whites. For instance, on a dark morning, Ms. Maudie's house catches on fire. The firemen stop the fire, but her house doesn't stand any longer (Lee 91-95). This event foreshadows the flow of the trial. The foreshadowing starts with the dark sky, which is the beginning of the trial. The fire foreshadows the result of the trial, which is Tom, a black man accused of raping a white woman, being found guilty. The firemen fighting the fire is Atticus defending Tom Robinson. When Ms. Maudie's house burns down, it is foreshadowing Tom Robinson's death because he and the house eventually disappear from something overwhelming. In addition, when it snows in Maycomb, the citizens fuss about it, ranging from Scout freaking out to Mr. Avery's theory about the Rosetta Stone. Later, Scout calms down, and she and Jem are the only ones not complaining, while the adults loathe the weather (Lee 85-88). When the snow falls, Mr. Avery criticizes the kids for making the snow occur, which foreshadows Bob Ewell's anger

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