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This line is spoken by Scout, describing Helen Robinson's reaction when Atticus has to tell Helen about what has happened to Tom. The quote begins with Scout describing that upon hearing the news, Helen just dropped to the ground and it was like a big boot just came along and squashed her. The obvious metaphor is that Helen is being crushed by prejudice, not unlike a foot steps on a small, defenseless ant. Don't overlook the fact that ants are also very small, almost invisible...they get stepped on all the time in the story...This should lead you to an understanding of the significance of the quote.
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