Symbolism and Allegory in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay

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Symbolism and Allegory in To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee uses symbolism extensively throughout To Kill a Mockingbird,, and much of it refers to the problems of racism in the South during the early twentieth century. Harper Lee's effective use of racial symbolism and allegory can be seen by studying various examples from the book, namely the actions of the children, of the racist whites, and of Atticus Finch.

One of the more effective allegories in the novel is the building of a snowman by Jem and Scout. There was not enough snow to make a snowman entirely out of snow, so Jem made a foundation out of dirt and then covered it with what snow they had. If the snowman was made completely out of snow, Jem's action would not be so
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Thus, the idea evoked to the reader is that people who carry healthy beliefs and reject racism and prejudice, like Jem, will most likely succeed in their lives.

An additional way of looking at the symbolism of the snowman is that it signifies miscegenation; marriage or sexual relations between people of different races. People at Maycomb county, both black and white, were very prejudiced against the idea of miscegenation and those who committed it and would immediately marginalise anyone who disregarded the general 'rule' and had sexual intercourse with a person of another race. The fear of marginalisation led Mayella Ewell to lie in court about the incident with Tom Robinson and this fear was also the reason her father beat her when he saw her making advances to a negro. Bob Ewell could never accept the fact that his daughter was thinking of giving herself to a black man and punished her severely for that. The best example of how everybody behaved towards mixed people is the case of Dolphus Raymont's children who were "half white, half coloured" (167). Jem uses the word 'sad' (167) when he refers to them because "they don't belong anywhere. Coloured folks won't have'em because they're half white; white folks won't have'em 'cause they're coloured, so they're just in betweens, don't belong anywhere" (167). On the contrary, Jem's

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