In To Kill a Mockingbird, what could Lee be foreshadowing with the unusual weather?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Maycomb experiences its first snow, it foreshadows the enveloping change that is about to overcome the town.

Snow is so unusual in Maycomb that Scout has never seen it.  It has not snowed since 1885.   Her reaction to the snow foreshadows the life-changing events of the trial.

"The world's endin', Atticus! Please do something-!" I dragged him to the window and pointed.

"No it's not," he said. "It's snowing." (ch 8, p. 45)

The snow covers the town just enough.  The paradox of the snow foreshadows the paradox of the trial.

"Jem, it's hot!"

"No it ain't, it's so cold it burns. (ch 8, p. 45)

The snow is so cold it’s hot, and the trial is so divisive it actually brings the town together.Scout and Jem’s first reaction is to gather as much as they can, make a snowman shape out of mud, and cover it with snow. 

Interestingly enough, the snowman becomes symbolic of the treatment of the blacks in the town, and the snowman is really black and only covered with a thin layer to make it white.  Atticus even tells Jem to make it look less like a neighbor, but Jem explains why he can't reshape it.

Jem explained that if he did, the snowman would become muddy and cease to be a snowman. (ch 8, p. 48)

The snow occurs at a pivotal point in the book.  Directly after the snowstorm is the fire.  It is another transition, this time between the youthful exuberance of building a snowman and the serious nature of the house fire.  It also demonstrates how quickly things can go from good to bad in life.

ethandpilot | Student

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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