How is the flower symbolic in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of flowers that appear in this classic text, but one of the ones you might like to think about are the camellias that belong to Mrs Dubose. After destroying them, Jem has to look after Mrs. Dubose's camellias and tend to them in a way that demonstrates his courage and ability to put up with the criticism that others offer about his family. Just as he was obliged to take care of the camellias, so he had to live with the big questions about adults and how they interact and his rage at the comments made about his father.

Just as the camelias seem to symbolise courage for Jem, they definitely do so for Mrs Dubose. The way in which camellias are her flower helps us to see her courage in breaking herself free from her morphine addiction before dying. It is highly significant therefore that she ensured Jem received a waxy camellia she had prepared especially for him, the "Snow-on-the-Mountain." This camellia will not wither, indicating the way in which courage, when you have it, is a trait that will never leave you. This symbolises the courage that Jem has already displayed therefore.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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