How does camellia symbolize trust in To Kill A Mockingbird? And what other things does the flower symbolize?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The snow-on-the-mountain camellia flower is given to Jem by Mrs. Dubose.  The flower could mean several things, but at first the reader thinks she is giving it to him to remind him that he ruined her flowers. This is not what she meant to do.  She didn't want him to feel guilt. 

However, after helping her get through her fits of withdrawal by reading to her each day, Jem was a distraction for her and a blessing.  She wanted Jem to know that she appreciated his help.  Even though it was "punishment," he did his duty each day and helped her through some major fits.  She gives that flower to him as either a "thank you" or possibly even a "forgive me" symbol.  She wanted him to know that she wasn't angry or holding a grudge when she was ready to die.  It was a sweet gesture, and Jem is mature enough to understand--as he is seen holding the flower and caressing its petals later on in his room.

camellia-white | Student

okay first of all, the old lady is not all bad.

the readings(jem's punishment) were for old lady's "sucessfull" battle against her addiction.

and altough she represent all the bad thing in maycomb:she is unforgivably racist, raining curses on the children and denigrating Atticus for representing a black man.

the readings helped her slought off her mortal persona, one that is racist and irritable

and who told jem to read to the old lady? yes, atticus finch, his pure soul that is attributed to everyone is represented by the "white" of the flower.(attiucus's "purity" is attributed by his "real courage")

and trust, i think it represents trust bc jem doesnt know what "true courage is"  (atticus knows what it is, and he attributes it to the old lady, by the chosen punishment)  and even jem doesnt accept the flower, because he's not thinking how "u" are right now, he still maturing, he's got  no glue; and the flower has no meaning for him. but the old lady trust's in him to be "brave" and "determined" to accept thier is good and bad within everyone even in the old lady(Mrs. Dubose).

oh and the fact that it is a flower from her soposedly"detroyed bush" means nothing can detroy what it represents.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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