What is an example of allusion in To Kill a Mockingbird in Chapters 4-8?

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 4: Indian Heads. These are pennies that Boo Radley leaves for the Finch children in the knot of a tree. Before the introduction of the Lincoln penny, one-cent coins had the face of a Native American on them.

Chapter 5: "Foot-washing Baptist." This is a derogatory term for a particularly devout Baptist. Jesus washed his disciples' feet and encouraged them to do likewise with each other. Many denominations have followed this practice ever since.

Chapter 6: Franklin stoves. Named after Benjamin Franklin, who invented them, these were old-fashioned metal stoves that had narrow funnels that made them look a little like a modern chimney.

Also, in this chapter there's an allusion to "Little Three-Eyes," a story about a little girl with three eyes who pretends to be asleep but actually sees everything. This is the name given to Scout by Jem as he thinks she's spying on him to stop him sneaking back out to the Radley residence.

Chapter 7: "He declared Egyptians walked that way." If you've ever seen an Egyptian hieroglyphic, you'll have noticed that people are depicted as walking in a strange way with their arms at right angles. That's how Jem walks for a time. He admires the ancient Egyptians for supposedly inventing toilet paper and perpetual embalming.

Chapter 8: Bellingrath Gardens. Historical botanical gardens located outside Mobile in Alabama. Miss Maudie refers to them after her house has been destroyed by fire:

Those Bellingraths’ll look plain puny when I get started!

What she means is that once she's finished building a new, smaller house, she'll be able to have a much larger garden, one even better than the Bellingrath.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, a place, event, literary work, myth, or work of art, either directly or by implication. There are many found in the text of To Kill a Mockingbird, and I have provided several examples from Chapters 4-8.

  • CHAPTER 4.  There is an allusion to the Rover Boys, a series of books for young readers of the 1930s; Hot Steams, a type of ghostly apparition; and the L&N Railroad.
  • CHAPTER 5.  The World War I Battle of the Marne is mentioned as is Confederate cavalry commander General Joe Wheeler.
  • CHAPTER 8.  The ancient Rosetta Stone is referenced in relation to Mr. Avery; the Civil War surrender site of Appomattox is mentioned; and another book series, Tom Swift, serves as an allusion.
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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