Literary element analysis By: Maddie Nance
Symbolism • The mockingbird represented Arthur (Boo) Radley. • "Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." • Boo thought of Jem and Scout as his own children. He never harmed them in any way. He only protected them when they were in danger – when Bob Ewell attacked them one night. Boo never hurt anyone by sitting in his house his whole life. It would have been wrong to turn Boo in for killing Mr. Ewell since he never harmed, just helped. Just as it would be wrong to kill a mockingbird.
Imagery • “The fire was well into the second floor and had eaten its way to the roof: window frames were black against a vivid orange center.” (Miss Maudie’s house caught on fire) • This example of imagery causes the reader to feel worried and scared. The description paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and the reader feels like they are on the street with the rest of the characters watching the fire.
Setting • To Kill A Mockingbird takes place in Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s. This was during the Great Depression when times were tough for everyone. • The author uses this setting so the reader can understand the mindsets of the people in the novel. For example, the way people thought about people of other races back then is completely different than today. The Tom Robinson trial might have gone differently if the idea of colored people being lower than whites was not around.
Theme • It is wrong, a sin, to kill or harm something that never harms anyone or anything. • Atticus said to Jem one day, "I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.“ • The author uses this as one of his themes to help the reader realize that even though Boo Radley seemed “up to no good” staying inside all day, he never actually harmed anyone. He saved Scout and Jem when Bob Ewell tried to attack them. If they had turned Boo in, it would have been a sin. He never hurt anything, he only helped others.
Foreshadowing • In the beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout mentioned Jem’s broken arm. The last scene of the book was also about Jem’s broken arm. The whole novel was the events that led up to the time where Jem’s arm was broken. • The author included this example of foreshadowing so the book had a point. The entire plot was leading up to when Jem actually broke his arm. Foreshadowing gave explanation for why the events throughout the story were told. It also keeps the reader wondering how he broke his arm.
Characterization • Scout matured throughout To Kill A Mockingbird. The events her family went though were tough and seemed real. • At the beginning of the book, she said foolish thing only little kids would say. By the end of the book she matured enough to help out Boo. Instead of leading him back to his house by holding his hand, she grabbed his arm, it seemed as if he was escorting Scout, so others would think highly of Boo. • The author used this element to show the reader how after the time and events Scout went through, she began to understand more and became more mature.