Teaching symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the key reasons to include the novel in your course of study. Almost all of the symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird relates to one theme: It is a sin to harm innocent creatures.
Perhaps Lee felt that the gravity of her main theme permitted no room for misinterpretation. For this reason, To Kill a Mockingbird is the perfect text for students who are just gaining familiarity with this kind of analysis. However, her heavy-handed, single-minded approach is executed masterfully.
The symbols develop naturally within the narrative and never distract the reader from the narrative. This fact makes it ideal for students gaining familiarity with recognizing and analyzing symbolism in literature. In completing this novel study, students analyze how the symbolism develops the main theme in order to demonstrate mastery of Reading Literature standard 2 analyze theme development.
I like to start by talking about visual symbols. I use a fun warm-up where the kids yell the answers at the screen as I show visual symbols the bat signal, the peace sign, a coat of arms, the Great Seal of the United States, etc.
I transition from visual symbols to discuss how literary symbols work. Emphasize that literary symbols are often complex, nuanced, or may even contain contradictory meanings. Use examples from short stories, other novels, shows, or movies to illustrate how the inclusion of literary symbols connects to other elements e.
Ask the students to offer examples of literary symbols from their favorite movies or stories. I am thinking of Rosebud in Citizen Canebut the students will offer examples from their own favorites. In the Hunger Gamesthe mockingjay is a complex literary symbol. It represents both the power of the oppressors and the fragility and innocence of the rebellion. The mockingjay is a genetic creation of the government that the resistance ingeniously uses to defend themselves.
The mutant bird is innocent in its creation. The oppressive regime has created both the bird and the heroine, unwittingly leading to its own destruction. After discussing popular examples, consider having students read a short story with symbolism. If you do not recall this story, the Amontillado wine symbolizes the narrators revenge, a long-awaited, rare, and exquisite treat.
Tell the students to keep an eye out for literary symbols as they read To Kill a Mockingbird.Worried about plagiarism? Read this. Help Login Sign Up. The dictionary defines ignorance as the lack of education or knowledge. We learn about the sweet childish ignorance of Scout and Jem compared to the mean coldness of Mr.
Ignorance shows itself in many different ways such as racism, sexism, and class- ism. Jem and Scout are sheltered from the world and all it's evilness. Their ignorance is used as a shield to protect them from knowing the terrible realities of Maycomb.
Although Scout and Jem aren't as ignorant as many of the more educated adults are, there ignorance stands out as different because theirs doesn't make them racist or sexist. When they lose their innocence they are losing their shield of ignorance. Their ignorance comes and goes throughout the book until the very end, "After that, it didn't matter weather they went or not. Jem said he would take me. Thus began our longest journey together" p. I think this is about their Journey into adult hood.
When they are attacked by Mr. Ewell the most racist man in townit is like racism came crashing down on them when he attacked them. Their Naivety is stopping them from becoming one of the cruel townspeople. It's interesting because the children's ignorance is there to shield them from the ignorance of the Maycomb people.
After Scout loses her ignorance she gains empathy for many people. It is shown with Boo Radley, when she walks him to his house.
If you have brown eyes—too bad. It's menial labor, rudimentary education, and a house by the dump. It doesn't make any sense. And if it happened overnight, there'd be massive protests. But what if it happened gradually, and what if generations after generations slowly came to accept it? Pretty soon, you'd have people arguing that brown-eyed people are just naturally inferiorand that's Just the Way It Is.
And if you're living in a hidebound, one-horse town like Maycombthere's even less reason to question the status quo. And that's where we are in To Kill a Mockingbird : a town even more traditional-bound than the rest of the South, where it's not just black people who Are the Way They Are, but the white families, too. So is there hope for this town?
Ideal: a jury of one's peers dispassionately determine guilt or innocence based on the fact. Reality: a group of white men who aren't influential enough to get out of jury duty have decided the case before they even enter the courtroom. In To Kill a Mockingbirdjustice is a privilege, not a right.
Theme Of To Kill A Mockingbird
You want a fair trial? Well, we sure hope you were lucky enough to be born white. In To Kill a Mockingbirdthe criminal court system may be broken, but it's still the best chance for justice.
To Kill a Mockingbird contrasts court-justice and vigilante -justice to show that they both have strengths and weaknesses. Are kids just the mini-me versions of the adults they will become, or is something substantial lost—or gained—in the transition to adulthood? And how does that process work, anyhow? To Kill a Mockingbird shows a child's perspective on adult events, and suggests that while children aren't just adults in miniature, they also aren't what adults imagine or misremember children to be.
You gain a little and you lose a little as you grow upand some of the abilities that disappear—like fairness, compassion, and a critical way of looking at the world—are well worth trying to keep. The novel associates children with fairness to suggest that a sense of justice is innate, not learned, and therefore adults must have learned to be unjust. Atticus thinks that everyone deserves a fair trial. Maycomb thinks that only white men do.
Scout thinks that her father is right. Maycomb thinks that her father is wrong. So, who's more moral—the community standard, or the individual conscience?
Where do the rights of the community end and the rights of the individual begin? To Kill a Mockingbird examines the conflict between the individual and the community. On the one hand, standing up for your beliefs can get you into a lot of trouble. But if your beliefs are moral, then you just might end up dragging the whole community in a more satisfactory direction.
After all, a community's morals are the sum of what its individuals believe. Atticus presents himself as morally consistent—the same at home as on the streets—but really he has two moral systems: one for himself based on a strict moral code ; and one for others based on sympathetic understanding. While the novel in general presents honesty as a virtue, it also suggests that honesty is not always the best policy. Roosevelt's inaugural address : "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.To Kill a Mockingbird follows Scouta precocious six-year-old, over the course of three years as she begins to grow, and in the process, bears witness to the trial of Tom Robinsona black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman.
Throughout To Kill a MockingbirdScout witnesses many different types of prejudice—and even promotes these attitudes herself—including classism, sexism, and racism. In particular, having Scout, whom the reader meets at age six, narrate…. However, the novel makes it abundantly clear that this understanding of courage is immature at best and is possibly wrong altogether. Maycomb is a small town with all the stereotypical characteristics of small-town life.
Throughout the first part of the novel, these qualities cause Scout and Jem to believe that Maycomb is nothing more than an insular, safe, intimate community.
To Kill a Mockingbird Themes
Which guides should we add? Request one! Plot Summary. Henry Lafayette Dubose Mr. Underwood Mr. Gilmer Mrs. Grace Merriweather Link Deas. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts.
The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Sign In Sign Up. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Download this LitChart! Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Themes All Themes. Symbols All Symbols. Theme Wheel.The American dream is to live free and racism stops that for African Americans.
Three main themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee are prejudice and tolerance, knowledge and ignorance, and courage and cowardice. In To Kill a Mockingbird, prejudice and tolerance is a prime theme. In the s, African Americans is forced to sit in the back of the bus, is.
In To Kill a Mockingbird, author Harper Lee uses the point of view of Scout Finch, to learn about her father Atticus Finch, an attorney who hopelessly strives to prove the innocence of a black man that was unjustly accused of rape in the southern United States in the s. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout's personality greatly changes as she matures and learns more about life.
This novel takes place in the 's in a typical southern society. Once Atticus chooses to defend Tom Robinson, a black man, Scout faces many challenges and she discovers numerous facts about life. Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird Scout grows up and learns that one should not be prejudiced toward others, the true meaning of courage, and that it is wrong.
In this paper it will start with an introduction of a short summary about the book, given the three lesson that Atticus reached his kids. Given why one of the three lessons one is the most important. At last a given conclusion by summarizing the overall points of the essay.
Revered as one of the greatest works of all time, To Kill A Mockingbird was awarded the prize in It is no surprise, then, that it is taught in schools all around the country. In fact, most people have some knowledge of the novel. Its popularity centers around its connection to everyday life. Specifically, in To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses Maycomb and its inhabitants to establish the importance of morals and express how they are.
Certain people who act out of ignorance fear change while others sacrifice to make a difference in the world. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, a miniscule town in the state of Alabama named Maycomb faces a dilemma of utmost importance during the era of the Great Depression—discrimination. Many destructive forces in Maycomb County cause discrimination. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee To be educated is to obtain or develop a certain knowledge or skill by a learning process.
There are many distinct learning processes, some more explicit than others. Both inside and outside of the classroom, Scout continually gains experience through education from both her brother, Jem, or by her wise and tolerant father.
In fact, when one really understands the society in which he lives he is no longer a child. Although Jem, being a child at the beginning of the novel, is immature and unaware of the society in which he lives, he matures mentally to the point where he sees the evil.General Education. To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee that was published in It tells the story of events that take place in Maycomb, Alabama, in the s.
'To Kill a Mockingbird' Themes, Symbols, and Literary Devices
The narrator is Scout Finch, a six-year-old girl whose father, Atticus, is a prominent lawyer in the town. Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, which makes the Finch family social pariahs. The book follows Scout for three years as she and her brother, Jem, learn to navigate the racism in their community.
Mockingbirds are common in the American South and are famous for mimicking the calls of other birds We now introduce to you 18 of the most important To Kill a Mockingbird quotes you should know. In this section, you'll find an array of thought-provoking quotes, from To Kill a Mockingbird racism quotes that discuss one of the novel's central themes, to Atticus Finch quotes and more.
This first quote on our list of critical TKAM quotes provides the book with its title, so we know it's important. Whenever you encounter a quote like this and want to analyze it, you should first ask yourself what the author is trying to tell you.
On the one hand, these lines show that Scout is learning the community shares a set of values. Ultimately, the mockingbird is a symbol of goodness and hope, so this passage teaches readers about the difference between good and evil.
The mockingbird and what it represents is "good," and killing it—or, rather, destroying innocence—is evil. As Scout learns these values, she grows out of her childhood and into the shared society of Maycomb, her town. The technical name for this type of story is a bildungsromanwhich is German for "education novel," but usually we just call them coming-of-age stories. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view To Kill a Mockingbird explores why racism exists and how we can counteract it.
Throughout the book, we watch Scout take this lesson to heart as she tries to empathize with the perspectives of a diverse set of people in her community. You know, she was a great lady. His face was scarlet. She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe I wanted you to see something about her—I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.
You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew. Initially she is racist and harsh, which terrifies Scout and Jem, but Atticus admires her because she lived "according to her views. Atticus tries throughout the book to give Jem an alternative way of being courageous—and, consequently, an alternative way of being a good man.
Atticus tries to show Jem that he can be brave simply by pursuing what he believes is right, even though he might ultimately fail. This quote teaches us that being a moral person can be courageous in itself.TKAM - Essay Building Blocks: Prejudice & Racism [To Kill a Mockingbird] - Harper Lee
What makes Atticus such a moral character is his tendency to follow his own instincts regarding what is right or wrong, rather than following the customs of his community. Because he is a very visible political figure in town, this characteristic sometimes makes him unpopular. The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. Whereas many of the townspeople believe that white people are superior to black people, Atticus believes all people should have equal representation in a court of law.
In other words, Atticus takes a bold stance against racism.
Furthermore, he states that a white man who uses his privilege to cheat a black man is, in fact, inferior to that black man. One of the most appealing aspects of To Kill a Mockingbird is that it gives us insight into what it means to be a family.Themes in a work of literature range from the very subtle to the obvious. The multiple themes of a text interact with and comment upon one another. Theme is developed through setting, character, plot and dialogue.
Pay close attention to the related ideas and concepts you detect and see whether you can trace the development of a theme over the course of a text. When writing about themes, it is always a good idea to consider your final thoughts as you reach the end of the text. Do these match the ideas you held when you began reading? Have your ideas changed? If so, try to pinpoint when and where your views on a key theme began to change. By engaging with the key themes, readers are engaging with the author.
Ideally, issues raised in the text will prompt readers to interrogate their own beliefs or ways of looking at the world. You may well disagree strongly with other readers, your classmates, or even your teacher. Your response to a text will be deeply personal, which is inevitable when you bring your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences into consideration of the text. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with themes of community, prejudice, race, class, courage, gender expectations, education and ignorance and justice.
These themes are interrelated. Each of these issues affects individual characters differently. Many of the themes are seemingly straightforward. Who, after all, would argue for the segregation of the s American South? You've had your free 15 questions for today. Interested in playing more? You'll need to subscribe. To comply with the new e-Privacy directive, we need to ask for your consent - I agree - No thanks - Find out more.
Join Us Login. The reader often sees Atticus standing alone. Read the questions below and test your knowledge of the themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. Why does Atticus make Jem read to Mrs Dubose?
To Kill a Mockingbird Themes
He wants Jem to make compensation for destroying Mrs Dubose's flowers. He feels sorry for Mrs Dubose, who is dying. He wishes to teach Jem about true courage. All of the above. Atticus has many reasons for making Jem read to Mrs Dubose. He especially wishes his children to see that courage can be found in the most unlikely places and the most unlikely people. Racial and class prejudice. Scout has been raised to expect justice, to believe that innocence will not be punished and that people in authority will seek for the truth above all.
What does Scout eventually learn about being a "lady" from Aunt Alexandra? Sometimes being a lady means hiding deep feelings behind a mask of politeness.