In To Kill a Mockingbird, what does racism have to do with the mad dog?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Racism and the mad dog could seem unrelated, but as with most circumstances in To Kill a Mockingbird, it is all a matter of perspective.

The mad dog could function as a symbol of racism. As the mad dog begins to come up the street, people who know it is coming lock themselves in their homes, only to watch it suffer until death. They are afraid of what it could possibly do. Even after it's death Atticus tells the children to stay away because it is still harmful. Those who find the mad dog make sure to get the appropriate authority there to destroy it.

The white people of the society treated blacks the same way. They were afraid of Negroes. They were afraid of the black influence in their society. They were happy to watch them suffer. Racism also leaves a mark well after it is gone.

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial