Homework Help

To kill a mockingbirdWhat is the significance of the ham suit that scout was wearing,...

user profile pic

aldh2 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 9, 2012 at 10:08 PM via web

dislike 0 like
To kill a mockingbird

What is the significance of the ham suit that scout was wearing, in detail?

8 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted June 10, 2012 at 2:12 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I see nothing symbolic about the ham costume Scout wears for the Halloween pageant. It is meant to be a humorous outfit, and one would expect Scout to "ham it up" while wearing it, but instead she falls asleep and is late making her entrance for her cue of "Pork!" It is an inadvertently funny moment, and Judge Taylor is forced to leave the auditorium, "slapping his knees." The chicken wire costume covered with brown cloth in the shape of a "cured ham" eventually saves her life, protecting her from the knife with which Bob Ewell tried to stab her.

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 10, 2012 at 2:10 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

I, too, have never thought that there was any significance behind the ham suit Scout wears at the end of the novel. The only thing the suit does, as stated by bullgatortail, is protect Scout from being hurt by Bob Ewell. Outside of that, after racking my brain if I ever missed something about the suit, I cannot think of any image or symbolism that the suit represents.

user profile pic

mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 10, 2012 at 9:26 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like


The ham suit does make it difficult for Scout to move around and clearly see what's going on, but I suppose that couldn've been done with many other types of costumes.

I think it's really just a comment on the sillyness of life that we see sometimes. After all of the ugliness of racism and hatred it's a moment to chuckle before we get the final act of violence. Scout has learned a lot and had to endure a lot, but for a moment we remember that she's really just a little kid. The ham suit emphasizes her youth.

user profile pic

rebnjoe | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 13, 2012 at 4:52 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

i Didnt find any sybolism, i think it was added just to be humorous and mak the reading brighten up a bit. after reading the book three times i cant find symbolism, but perhaps after three more times. 

user profile pic

luv2shop688 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 6, 2012 at 4:09 PM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

to kill a mockingbird is a great novel and it is strongly recommended. 

user profile pic

karamvir934 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

The ham suit is probably a buffer that Lee wanted to put in. She probably wanted to save Scouts life, without actually creating a physical buffer.

user profile pic

scarletblood15 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 15, 2012 at 6:41 PM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like

Some say that the ham symbolises how insular Maycomb is and that Maycomb celebrates the agriculture of Maycomb. But I believe it is just humorous and makes the evenst that are to happen even more dramatic.

user profile pic

e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:19 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

The ham suit seems a bit ironic, at least. Scout is asked to be in the play and expressly told that she will have an important role. Her role, however, is just a ham that walks on stage at the very end of the pageant. There is some irony and humor in that.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes