How can I give a metaphorical representation of a character from To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A character you can represent symbolically is Atticus, who can be represented by a gun.

Atticus is a loaded gun.  He is targeted, precise, and strong.

There are two specific examples that make the gun a good symbol for Atticus.  First of all, he is Maycomb’s weapon against racism.   When he shoots the mad dog, it is a metaphor for his defending Tom Robinson.  Atticus is defending the town from the dog’s disease, but he is also defending the town from the disease of racism.  He is able to shoot the dog in one shot, which not even the sheriff can do.

Second, Atticus also uses a gun to introduce another of the book’s metaphors: killing a mockingbird.  The mockingbird is the symbol of innocence.  Atticus reminds his children not to target it.

"I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (ch 10)

Atticus is telling his children that just because you have strength does not mean you should abuse it.   Though he is strong and wise, he uses his powers for good and not evil.  He tries to set a good example.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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