What literary devices do the author use to bring out the theme of moral education?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The author highlights moral education in a variety of ways.

Harper Lee uses mood/tone often. When the mad dog is going down the street, the children are recovering from an apathetic attitude about how boring and worthless their father is. Fortunately, Atticus is the only man capable of saving the town from the dog and he takes care of it right in front of his children and goes directly back to work. This establishes through example the moral virtue of humility. He could have bragged to his children about being 'Ole One Shot, but he never did.

This same scene could be foreshadowing, ironic and symbolic. Atticus will later try to take out the town's waste in Bob Ewell. He may not be as successful, but Ewell is indeed mad, and the only one able to deal with this problem is Atticus.

The most important theme in the book is not hurting the innocent. The mockingbird a harmless animal who only does good is a symbol for Tom Robinson, Boo Radley, and many others.

Finally, Atticus' talk with the children about courage after they have spent a month reading to Mrs. Dubose also includes irony. Atticus is about to be that man who works to do the right thing but knows he's defeated before it happens.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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