What is an example of an interesting objects, character, or name that hints toward a larger meaning in the story To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

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An example of a symbolic object is the gifts Boo Radley gives to Scout and Jem.

A symbolic object is something that has greater meaning than it first appears to have.  It represents a larger idea in the story.  It can be a person or an object.  In this case, the reclusive Boo Radley begins leaving presents for the children in a tree on his property.  The presents are symbolic of friendship.  They demonstrate that he wants to get to know them better, and is reaching out to them.

Soon after Nathan Radley plugs the hole, and Boo can no longer leave gifts there.  Yet we see another gift at the fire, when Boo places a blanket on Scout’s shoulders.  Jem recognizes immediately what it is.  He is worried that Boo will get in trouble if Atticus returns the blanket.  Boo prevented Jem from getting in trouble when he lost his pants, mending and folding them for Jem.

He began pouring out our secrets right and left in total disregard for my safety if not for his own, omitting nothing, knot-hole, pants and all. (ch 8)

The gifts symbolize Boo’s friendship, but on a larger level they demonstrate that people are not always what they seem.  Boo is not a monster.  He is quiet and shy, and his gifts are overtures of friendship.


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