How does Harper Lee create mood and atmosphere in chapter 10 of To Kill A Mocking Bird?
Specifically, begin with the part in which Scout and Jem spot Tim Johnson, the rabid dog, and ending shortly after Calpurnia alerts the neighboorhood.
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As the rabid dog continues down the empty street, the author creates a sense of suspense and surprise:
Harper Lee uses the element of surprise in Chapter 10.
Jem and Scout have no idea what a sharp shooter their father is. Although there is expectancy, the reader is not sure what to expect when Atticus picks up the rifle to shoot the rabid dog:
The feeling evoked in the reader is expectancy, not unlike that the viewer of a western movie feels when the showdown on the main street of town is imminent.
When Atticus shoots and kills the dog with one shot, the reader is relieved and Jem and Scout are in admiration of their father. Earlier, Scout felt Atticus was old and not very exciting as a father. After he kills the dog, Scout is in awe of her father. She is quite proud.
The scene ends with the dead dog and Scout in total awe of her sharp shooting father. There is a sense of accomplishment for the the reader and characters. The street is safe again thanks to Atticus and his skillful shooting.
'Nothing is more deserted than a deserted, waiting street. The trees were still, the mockingbirds were silent, the carpenters at Miss Maudie's house has vanished.' Pg. 105
In this quote, the author Harper Lee compares silence with something extremely deadly. Furthermore, Harper Lee utilises the technique of shutting off one sense [hearing, silence] and heightening the other senses. The author also almost personifies the street by referring to it as 'waiting'.
Silence is also juxtaposed with a crack: ' In the silence, i heard a crack'. This increases the tension and the reader is drawn into the novel even more.
Similes are also used to create vivid imagery: 'We could see him shiver like a horse shedding flies', 'his jaw opened and shut', 'he was a-list but he was gradually being pulled towards us.
In chapter 10, Jem and Scout rush to tell Calpurnia about the mad dog and you can comment on how her language(speech) changes by commenting on the punctuation.
The mad dog also symbolises Boo Radley because the mad dog is acting different to otheres and the conseqeunces of that is that Atticus had to shoot him. That relates to Boo Radley as he is different to the people in the Maycomb county so they all treat him differently and discriminate him from the society.
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