Symbolism Essay

254 WordsJan 8, 20132 Pages
Symbolism is indeed used extensively in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The symbolism reveals the prejudice and narrow-mindedness of the citizens of Maycomb County, their fears and the immoral things they did. It also reveals an attempt to purify people from these feelings, by a hero figure, a model to the community, Atticus Finch, as well as his two children, who surely follow in his footsteps. The story ends with the reading of a book by Atticus, The Grey Ghost, another symbol perhaps for Boo Radley whose "face was as white as his hands and his grey eyes were so colourless" (276), a description fitting to one of a ghost. Before she falls asleep Scout describes the story which happens to be about someone falsely accused of doing something he never did, exactly like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley, the two mockingbirds of the story so wrongly treated by others. The closing of the novel with another symbol for the two victims of human malice suggests the power Harper Lee sees in symbolism, which carries the message better than words. At this point she seems to agree with J.B.S. Haldane, a British Scientist, who stated: "In fact, words are well adapted for description and the arousing of emotion, but for many kinds of precise thought other symbols are much better" (Columbia). Perhaps this is the reason Harper Lee chooses to declare her rejection of prejudice and racism through the use of symbols; because they are more effective than

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