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What do Mayella's geraniums symbolize in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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calisoccer | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 30, 2008 at 4:33 AM via web

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What do Mayella's geraniums symbolize in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 30, 2008 at 5:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Mayella endures a harsh, lonely life as Bob Ewell's daughter. As the oldest girl, she becomes responsible for the other children. The geraniums seem to represent her own need for some beauty in her miserable life and her desire to brighten the lives of her siblings as well as her nurturing capacity.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 30, 2008 at 11:21 AM (Answer #2)

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Mayella's life is anything but glamorous, or even normal.  She is the eldest daughter, the substitute mother to all of her siblings, and the mistress to her own father.  She can't be anything but miserable, but that doesn't keep her from hoping--hope is what keeps the human spirit afloat.  The geraniums symbolize her hope for a lovelier future, a future of some normalcy and beauty.  The flowers are the only thing of beauty and color in the yard.  They are the only thing in the yard and home that seem to be meticulously cared for.  They are red, the color of love--heat--passion--hope.

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