Imagery In To Kill A Mockingbird

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In chapter nineteen of To Kill A Mockingbird, there are examples of imagery. From the following quote, the reader can clearly see a picture of Tom Robinson's left arm as being made of rubber due to a childhood injury:

Thomas Robinson reached around, ran his fingers under his left arm and lifted it. He guided his arm to the Bible and his rubber-like left hand sought contact with the black binding. As he raised his right hand, the useless one slipped off the Bible and hit the clerk's table.

This quote is filled with imagery. The reader can visualize Tom Robinson who is lifting his useless arm. The imagery is evident as Tom guides his arm to the Bible to be sworn in under oath. The reader can see a man who has no use of his left arm. The motions are clear as Tom Robinson's arm hangs like rubber from his shoulder. As the arm slips off the Bible and hits the clerks table, the imagery gives the reader a picture of a paralyzed arm.

In response to the trouble Tom was having with his left arm, Judge Taylor loses his patience and "growls" at Tom:

He was trying again when Judge Taylor growled, "That'll do, Tom."

This quote is filled with imagery. The reader can hear Judge Taylor growling in response to the difficulties Tom is having while trying to be sworn in. Judge Taylor "growls" at Tom, indicating that Tom has tried long enough to get his paralyzed left arm on the Bible for swearing in. Judge Taylor desires for Tom to move along and get the trial underway.

Another example of imagery occurs in the following quote which describes Tom Robinson as black man:

Tom was a black-velvet Negro, not shiny, but soft black velvet. The whites of his eyes shone in his face, and when he spoke we saw flashes of his teeth. If he had been whole, he would have been a fine specimen of a man.

Here, the reader can get an exact image of Tom Robinson. The reader can visualize his black-velvet skin. The whites of Tom's eyes shone due to his black-velvet skin, contrasted with his white flashy teeth. The imagery is picture perfect, creating a visual image that the reader can appreciate.


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