In To Kill a Mockingbird, what do the mockingbird, the chiffarobe and Atticus's glasses symbolize?How does Harper Lee use them to develop her purpose for her novel?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A mockingbird is an innocent creature that is victimized by society.  Atticus tells his children that mockingbirds only create beautiful music, and do not harm anyone, so it is a sin to kill one.  There are at least two mockingbirds in the book.  The first is Boo Radley, who is discriminated against because he is different.  The second is Tom Robinson, who is discriminated against by society because of the color of his skin.

The chiffarobe is a big bulky piece of furniture that has outlived its usefulness.  It represents society’s prejudices and discriminations.  Mayella asks Tom to chop it up, as if eliminating society’s restrictions were that easy.  Unfortunately, racism is not destroyed that easily.

Atticus’s glasses represent the wisdom that comes with age.  The tale is first and foremost a coming of age story.  As the children grow, they learn how the world works.  Atticus already knows, but he harbors hope that he can reverse the trend.  As glasses can come off, Atticus tries to remember that he believes people are good and society can change.

 

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