Satanée Gand-Mère


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Anthony Horowitz

Symbols in the story are characters, figures, objects, colors, or other items that can be used to represent concepts and ideas on an abstract level.

The Mockingbird – The most significant symbol in the story is the mockingbird. The book's title is not actually tied to the plot in a concrete way, like some books. The symbolic weight of the title, however, is much greater. Overall, the story is about innocence, and how easily it can be damaged and even destroyed by the evil in the world. The mockingbird represents innocence, so the idea of killing a mockingbird means destroying a person's innocence about the world and his or her place in it. There are many mockingbirds in the book, including Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, Dill, Jem, and even Mr. Raymond. They are innocents, but their contact with the evil of society and the world around them has injured them. In some cases, it has completely destroyed them. There are several times in the novel where the connection between mockingbirds and innocence is made explicitly, helping to further enforce the book's message. Even Jem and Scout having "Finch" as a last name is a reminder of the fragility of innocence and how that is often damaged.

Boo Radley – The attitude that Jem and Scout have about Boo Radley changes throughout the novel. That is a very important symbol, because the way they develop and age shows the innocence of childhood and how it morphs into something closer to a moral perspective that would be seen in an adult. Early in the book, Boo is not a real person to the children. He is just a "ghost" of sorts, built out of gossip, ideas, and superstition. He starts to become more real as he leaves gifts in the knothole of the tree and fixes the pants that Jem leaves behind when he crawls under the fence. They are more intrigued by him in that way, but he is still not completely a real person. He only becomes completely real to Scout at the very end of the story, when he saves the children from an attack by Bob Ewell.

The way that Scout changes throughout the novel shows how understanding and sympathetic she has become as a human being. Boo shows how much good can exist, even within a person who has not been treated well and who would have every reason and excuse to be jaded and angry about what life has dealt him or her. Because Boo has had many things go wrong in his life, one would expect him to be unkind to others, but the only thing he shows in any of his interactions with the Finch children is a kind heart. As the most significant symbol of good in the book, Boo is a very important character.

There are several themes seen in the novel. Themes are generally universal ideas that are both fundamental to and explored in a work of literature.

Social Classes Matter

There are various social classes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Social status is explored throughout the novel quite extensively, mostly as it relates to the hierarchy in the town of Maycomb. The children are often confused by the classes and the different issues with status, because they do not know how to processes the reasons behind why some people are so much "better" than others – or why that should ever be the case. In the hierarchy of Maycomb, the Finches are close to the top. The townspeople come next, and then the farmers such as the Cunninghams. Below them are the Ewells, and the black community is considered to be even lower. That is unfortunate, because many of the black people in and around Maycomb are kinder and nicer than the Ewells. They will do more for others without being asked, but yet they are still looked down upon and seen as "less than."

This is one of the ways in which Bob Ewell makes himself feel better about his lot in life, by finding a way to persecute a black man. In his mind, that elevates his status and makes him more valuable to the town. The social divisions make up the world for a lot of people, especially in the time period in which the book was written. There is a high degree of prejudice in the interaction between people in Maycomb, and the children do not understand why it exists. They do not see it until they get older, because they mostly like or do not like people for who they are, and they are unconcerned with the social classes of those people.

Good and Evil Coexist Everywhere

Among the most important themes seen in To Kill a Mockingbird is the way that good and evil coexist with one another in the town – and even within the same people. Are people, overall, evil? Are they good? Good and evil is a line that generally runs down the middle of every person, and which side is shown to the world (or which side others choose to see) can be shaped both by the person presenting themselves and the people who see and interact with that person. The way the story addresses the issue of good and evil is through Jem and Scout. They begin the novel as very young children, so they are basically untouched by any kind of evil. They are innocent, and they see mostly well in everyone and everything around them. As they grow and mature throughout the course of the novel, they realize that they have to confront evil. It has to become a part of their understanding when they look at the world, but they do not need to allow it to overshadow the good that also still exists.

The way that evil overshadows good, but yet good still triumphs, is a significant theme that is seen all through the novel. Boo Radley and Tom Robinson were not at all prepared for the evil that they found in life. One can see throughout the novel what that evil has done to them. Jem is hurt by evil, as well, but he recovers because of the lessons he has been taught. It takes time, but he is able to adjust his worldview and see the bigger picture in time, instead of being angry because the innocence he had in the past has been taken from him and has forever changed him. Scout also matures, but she is better able to hold onto her faith in the goodness of the people around her. By doing that, she brings her justice and humanity, along with hope and goodwill, with her as she grows toward adulthood.

Atticus Finch is unique, because he has kept his faith in humanity. He still sees all the goodness in life, despite the fact that he has also seen evil and has been exposed to the worst of humankind. He realizes that there is both evil and good in every person he meets. What he does is enjoy the good and appreciate the qualities that people have that make them valuable to others and to society. He tries to overlook the bad. Sometimes that is very difficult to do, but he does his best. Atticus also tries to see life from the perspective of other people; because it can help him appreciate them and respect them more than he would be able to if he simply did not understand why they acted a particular way. He works to transfer that information and understanding to his children, so that they can carry those lessons with them as they grow and develop into adults.

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