Appomattox was mentioned in the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Why did the author mention it and how does it contribute to the book?How effective was the allusion?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Like the South's surrender at Appomattox, Maycomb's sudden autumn snow in Chapter 12 of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird was considered a catastrophe to some townspeople. And like the aftermath of the surrender, the snowstorm had further repercussions in the near future.

Mr. Avery blamed Jem and Scout on the snowstorm.

"See what you've done?" he said. "Hasn't snowed in Maycomb since Appomattox. It's bad children like you make the seasons change."

Naturally, Mr. Avery was wrong about both the snow (it had snowed since Appomattox) and the placing of the blame (it was an old adage that children's bad behavior caused an unexpected change of weather), but his insinuation was that the early snowfall--a sure killer of plants and unharvested crops--would be as terrible an event as General Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in 1865. Lee's surrender brought an end to the Civil War and to the short-lived history of the Confederacy, of which Alabama was a part.

Indeed, the snow did kill Miss Maudie's azaleas and probably other crops that were essential to feeding the town during the days of the Depression. Additionally, like the fortunes of the South after Appomattox, things got worse after the snow. Miss Maudie's house burned that same night, probably from the fireplace used unexpectedly and unseasonably because of the snow. 

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