1 How Has Harper Lee Used Symbolism And/Or Narrative Perspective To Contribute To Your Understanding Of The Main Ideas In “To Kill A Mockingbird”?

901 words - 4 pages

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel written by Harper Lee. Harper Lee uses symbolism to portray some of the main themes and ideas in To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel's main ideas are negative effects of racial and social segregation and the attitudes and influence of society on people at the time of the novel. The symbol of a flower represents different female characters in the novel and show their attitude towards society, the influence that society has on them and how this shows racial and social segregation. This symbol is repeated throughout the novel to remind the reader about the key theme of the novel. Miss Maudie and her azalea flowers represent her understanding but critical personality, Miss Maudie is critical towards those who are 'snobs' in society. We often see Scout say "Miss Maudie and her azaleas" whenever she thinks of Miss Maudie. Azalea flowers are a common and hardy flower, they can grow in any kind of soil and can grow in the shade. Miss Maudie is a tolerant person, she remains very positive when her house burns down, she is also tolerant towards the 'foot-washers' when "they pointed to Miss Maudie Attikson's yard, ablaze with summer flowers" (Page 175) and criticize her garden. Azaleas are beautiful on the outside but they usually grow in acidic soil. This relates to Miss Maudie because she appears like a nice lady on the outside and generally acts nice to whoever she thinks is a good person, however she is 'acidic' or toxic towards people she does not like such as the gossip Mrs Merryweather and the 'foot-washers'. When the foot-washers come by her house she comes out onto on her porch to confront them, Scout says "We knew she wore a grin of the uttermost wickedness" (Page 175) which describes her behavior towards people she does not believe are good. Miss Maudie respects the good in society, people like Atticus, while she scorns the bad in society. The white camellia flower, 'Snow-on-the-Mountain', represents Mrs Dubose's cold heartedness, her high status and the prejudice within the society. The white camellias are a cold flower and represent Mrs Dubose's cold heartedness towards everyone in society, Mrs Dubose is quite high in the social hierarchy of Maycomb and people at the uppermost of society are generally more stubborn when it comes to their beliefs and traditions. The camellia flower is a white flower with a black stem, this can be seen as racism showing that white people are higher up and more 'beautiful' than black people. Camellias are also only destroyed by pulling out their roots, this represents the 'deep rooted'...

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