Explain the use of the allusions and the insight the reader gains from the author's use of the allusions in To Kill a Mockingbird. Consider why the writer chose this particular allusion and...

Explain the use of the allusions and the insight the reader gains from the author's use of the allusions in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Consider why the writer chose this particular allusion and whether or not it was effective. If you didnt know the allusion, how does knowing source and context increase ur understanding?

“Although Maycomb was ignored during the War Between the States, Reconstruction rule and economic ruin forced the town to grow.” (Lee 174).

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An allusion is a short reference to something or someone in history or literature. The reference is meant to bring additional understanding to the story at hand; however, it usually has no immediate specific relationship. By comparing two apparently unrelated experiences, it allows the reader to formulate a deeper understanding and intellectual response.

The example above from the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, refers to Maycomb's place in Alabama socioeconomic history. "Although Maycomb was ignored during the War Between the States" implies that the town avoided direct military action during the Civil War; there were probably no nearby battles, and the town was spared the torch that came to so many other Southern towns (particularly those in the path of Union Gen. William T. Sherman, who ordered many towns burned to the ground). The second half of the statement--"... Reconstruction rule and economic ruin forced the town to grow"--suggests that the town suffered after the war during the period of Reconstruction, in which the Southern states were on probation (and generally harshly treated) by the U. S. government which fought for and demanded their return to the Union. Maycomb probably suffered from extreme poverty in the years after the war. The outcome of these bad times was that Maycomb had to either survive and grow or die.

The allusion to Maycomb and its place in Civil War history helps to explain not only some of the background of the town, but to also imply that Civil War-era thinking (for example, slavery and race relations) was still alive and kicking.

 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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