I have a literary analysis paper and my topic is the loss of innocence from the book To Kill A Mockingbird. I need some examples of metaphors that support losing innocence.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 22, Jem speaks with Miss Maudie about the outcome of the trial. He is distraught that Tom Robinson was found guilty and convicted. At the beginning of the chapter, he is crying and telling Atticus that it "ain't right." This is shocking for Jem who, prior to the trial, held the assumption that the world (namely the adult world) generally made sense and was fair. With the incorrect decision of the biased jurors, Jem learns that the world is not always fair. Speaking with Miss Maudie, he uses an analogy of a caterpillar to describe how he'd once felt safe and warm in his innocent perspective of things and now he feels exposed to the truth: 

"It’s like bein‘ a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is,” he said. “Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place. I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that’s what they seemed like." 

In Chapter 15, Scout, Jem, and Dill awkwardly but effectively get the mob to leave Atticus alone. Atticus was at the Maycomb jail making sure no harm would come to Tom Robinson. In the next chapter, Jem notes that he is convinced Walter and his mob would have killed Atticus. Scout responds, saying she will beat up Walter Cunningham Jr. the next chance she gets. Atticus makes her promise not to touch him. Here, Scout and Jem are taught to avoid violence after learning that, in the adult world, Walter and his mob had been expected to threaten violence. Atticus says that Walter Sr. has "blind spots." 

"Mr. Cunningham’s basically a good man,” he said, “he just has his blind spots along with the rest of us." 

This is Atticus' metaphorical way of saying that Walter is uneducated and ignorant in some ways. The children learn that these "blind spots" can turn a friend into an enemy. Racism can be a blind spot in this metaphorical sense. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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