How does Harper Lee use literary techniques to communicate ideas about conflict in 'To Kill A Mockingbird'?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, when Cal and the kids are confronted by Lula for bringing them to the First Purchase African M. E. Church, Scout narrates that "the roses on her hat trembled indignantly." Scout (Lee) uses personification here to show how Cal and even her roses are being indignant (expressing defiance).

In Chapter 19, Scout uses a simile saying Mayella is as "sad as a mixed child." Scout continues by saying that a mixed child is refused by both blacks and whites and therefore has nowhere to turn but her own family. And in Mayella's case, her own family consists of her abusive father and her siblings which she must take care of. She has no friends. Mayella's conflict in the novel is showcased in the court scenes but her main conflict in life is with her father and the fact that she has no one else to turn to, no friends. This is why she befriends Tom Robinson in the first place.

In Chapter 23, and in other places, we get the metaphor of "standing in another person's shoes." This has to do with challenging yourself to see the world from another person's perspective. In the beginning, the children don't really try to stand in Boo Radley's shoes. This is something Scout learns in the end. In Chapter 23, Atticus asks Jem to stand in Bob Ewell's shoes to help Jem understand why he let Bob get away with spitting on him:

I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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