Simran Gaglani English honors Period 1, Mrs. Grexton November 18 2011 There are many significant symbols used to represent the different themes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Throughout the book Harper Lee transmits a message to the reader using examples and symbols to get her point across. Some of these symbols include the dresses, Tim Johnson, and dependencies. The symbol that best represents the theme of growing up would be clothing. Throughout the book, clothing has been more than just a choice of style; it had been a sign of maturity.
Another instance would be when Miss Maudie asks Scout, “‘Where are your britches today? ’” Scout answers back, “Under my dress. ” (Lee 309) This shows that Scout has finally learned to accept the inevitable and allow herself into becoming maturely feminine by wearing her breeches under a flowing dress; a sign of growth. “You’re also growing out of your pants a little. ” (Lee 105) This quote by uncle Jack shows the physical change that is altering Scout over time. When Alexandra told Scout, “‘It won’t be many years, Jean louis, before you become interested in clothes and boys. ” She thought to herself, “…ill never be interested in clothes…” (Lee 107) This example points out where Scout started before her journey into a lady. But none the less in all of these examples, clothes have been the symbol of growth both physical and mental. Just like clothes, Tim Johnson is a perfect symbol to reference racism and prejudice. The fatality of racism is both deadly and contagious, almost like a disease. ‘”Don’t go near him, he’s just as dangerous dead as alive. ”’ (Lee 128) This example portrays the fact that racism and Tim Johnson are very alike.
Just like rabies, racism can be deadly while existing and even when its dead because one touch is all it takes to infect your mind with hate and prejudice. Its contagious, just like rabies. ‘”Take him Mr. Finch. ” (Lee 126) This example references to how Atticus had been chosen to take down the case of Tom Robinson. Just like how Atticus is the only one that can shoot the dog down, he’s te only one that will defend Tom in a justifying manner. ‘”He’s far from dead, Jem, he hasn’t gotten started yet. ”’ Racism has a funny way of popping back up once you think its done and over with.
Just when you think its about to die out, there is still more out there. Aside from clothes and Tim, deceptive appearance is also an important theme symbolized by people’s different dependencies. Although the weakness may look like one thing, it might actually mean another. For example: ‘“secretly Miss Finch, I’m not much of a drinker, but you see they could never, never understand that I live the way I do because that’s the way I want to live. ”’ (Lee 268) Dolphus Raymond’s “apparent” weakness/dependency seem to be an addiction to spirits.
But as we take a closer look he reveals to us that his so called addiction is only a cover up so people would spare the time to try and figure out his motives. “His left arm was fully 12 inches shorter than his right, and hung dead at his side. ”’ (Lee 248) Tom’s state implies that he committed the crime and looks as if he is guilty, but his dependency being his left arm proves that he couldn’t have done the crime. “Mrs Dubose was a morphine addict, she took pain-killers for years…she was going to leave this world holden to nothing and nobody. ”’ Hearing this from Atticus jem realizes, “You mean that’s what her fits were? (Lee 147 and 148) Jem has always seen Mrs. Dubose as a horrible old lady with a bitter tongue. But as he looks past the deceptive surface, he sees that her addiction and dependency towards morphine was making her like that. In conclusion, the symbols including clothes, Tim Johnson, and dependencies all are significant themes used in the book. Harper Lee used these symbols because she wanted to paint a better picture in our head of the idea. Using different figurative language and substituting an object to represent a theme was only to give the reader a deeper understanding of the book.