Significance of quotes in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?I need to know the significance of each of these quotes: 1) Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to...

Significance of quotes in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

I need to know the significance of each of these quotes:

1) Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.


2) I wanted you to see something about her - I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

3) Jem was twelve. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody.

4)...and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty.

5) Atticus turned the book over. "Something of Jem's. Called the Grey Ghost."

Asked on by nadia-i

2 Answers | Add Yours

englishteacher72's profile pic

englishteacher72 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

1) Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.

This quote further shows the conflict between Scout and Aunt Alexandra.  Aunt Alexandra is desperately trying to make Scout into a Southern lady, just like herself.  Scout has no interest in being a lady at all.  It also shows the role of a woman during that time period: a woman was supposed to do nothing but look pretty.


2) I wanted you to see something about her - I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
I think this quote really exemplifies one of the major themes of the novel, the importance of morals.  Even though you know you're going to lose, you have to do the right thing, no matter what the outcome.  This is the most important lesson Atticus teaches his children.
3) Jem was twelve. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody. This is great insight into the mind and personality of a boy going through puberty.  It is also the way Scout looked at her older brother: impossible to live with! 

4)...and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rigle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty. This references an earlier scene in the novel when Atticus had to kill the rabid dog.  Scout was so proud and in awe of her father.  She is yet again as she watches him fight for Tom Robinson's life and freedom in court, even though they all knew he would never win.

5) Atticus turned the book over. "Something of Jem's. Called the Grey Ghost."
I think the Grey Ghost is a symbol of Boo Radley.  He is described as being pale and white-faced.  This coupled with the fact that he is never really seen in the novel leads me to believe this.
kkosach's profile pic

kkosach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

These quotations are different types of characterization.  What Alexandra says about Scout in #1 shows Alexandra's ideas about being a southern lady, and that Scout does not fit that ideal.  In #2, we see Atticus' character and the values he wants to instill in his children in terms of character.  #3 Is a very direct, albeit biased view of Jem.  #4 is a look into Scout's view of her father and that she is recognizing his limitations, specifically in the trial.  The "grey ghost" in #5 is actually a reality, as it represents Boo Radley.  By keeping the comic book around, Jem shows his preoccupation with Boo.

 

We’ve answered 318,926 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question