To Kill A Mockingbird EssayQuestion;Describe an important symbol or symbols in the text you have studied and analyse how the symbol helped to develop ideas in the text.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a story of racial prejudice and social class set in a time when such narrow-mindedness was considered acceptable and apart of every day life in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Narrated and based around Scout (Jean Louise) Finch and the many ordeals she and her brother (Jem) face in the years of their growing up; out of the childhood innocence they once possessed to realise the true evils of their community and shed false pretences surrounding the innocence of two such characters as Boo Radley and Tom Robinson for which the community of Maycomb had long labelled and ridiculed for either their colour or peculiar behavioural patterns. Lee incorporates several different symbols within the text that assist in developing the ideas and beliefs held by both Scout and Jem such as; the Mockingbird, Mrs Duboseâ€™ Camellias and Mayella Ewellâ€™s red Geraniums all of which play important roles on the childrenâ€™s conscience and sense of justice. A Mockingbird is an innocent animal that exists solely to make music, it does not harm nor offend any around it but rather tries to make life more pleasant.
Scout and Jemâ€™s father tells them they can â€œshoot all the Blue Jays you want, if you can hitâ€™em, but remember itâ€™s a sin to kill a Mockingbird,â€ (pg 69). In To Kill A Mockingbird Boo Radley and Tom Robinson can be seen as Mockingbirds who are both peaceful people that would never dream of hurting another, however both of these characters are in a sense killed by the community of Maycomb through their prejudice attitudes and beliefs. In contrast with the loud and obnoxious Blue jay the Mockingbird does not have its own song but rather only sings the songs of other birds just as Tom Robinson and Boo Radley do not have their own â€?songâ€™ and play only to the tune of music set down to them by the people of Maycomb. In a sense they are only seen through the eyes of other less innocent birds who know only what they have heard from others.
This symbol of the Mockingbird helps to create the idea in Scoutâ€™s mind that what the community of Maycomb is doing to Boo Radley and Tom Robinson is in fact a sin as they do not do anything to harm anyone else within the neighbourhood and exist solely to sing their songs for all those who will hear them. In To Kill A Mockingbird Mrs Duboseâ€™ Camellias are a symbol of courage in both her own personality and in that of Jem. In the novel Jem loses his head when Mrs Dubose insulted his father saying that he was â€œno better than the niggers and trash he works for,â€ Jem reacted by destroying all of Mrs Duboseâ€™ Camellias that she had spent so long growing and as a punishment was forced to re-grow the Camellias and come to read to the sick old lady everyday for a month taking a lot of courage to overcome his emotions in order to avoid further trouble. This also forces Jem to get to know Mrs Dubose as more than just a cranky old lady who takes pleasure in insulting others but also as a courageous woman that is battling and is eventually able to overcome a morphine addiction.
The Camellias represent this through their growth particularly the waxy Camellia or the â€œsnow-on-the-mountain,â€ as it grew through the care of Mrs Dubose so did her spirit allowing her to eventually overcome her morphine addiction and die as â€œfree as the mountain airâ€. Its growth also symbolised the development of Jemâ€™s personality as he came to accept Mrs Dubose and even admire her determination and courage furthermore he was gifted with the â€œsnow-on-the-mountainâ€ Camellia in Mrs Duboseâ€™s will setting in stone his new found personality and assisting in turning Jem into the â€œgentleman he was meant to beâ€. As such the Camellia through its representation of Mrs Dubose assisted in developing the.