What literary devices are found in chapters 23& 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird?I need specifics. like personifications. ect. not just like "humor" i really have trouble with this, and i've been...

What literary devices are found in chapters 23& 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

I need specifics.
like personifications. ect.
not just like "humor"
i really have trouble with this, and i've been tryng for days to find some.

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird presents a flashback (actually a flashback within a flashback) in which Stephanie Crawford narrates the spitting incident involving Bob Ewell and Atticus.
  • Another device is metaphor (or analogy) in which Bob is compared to a soldier, while Atticus is described for his peaceful ways:

Mr. Ewell was a veteran of an obscure war

  • Other metaphorical language includes:

Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute

  • There is also much color imagery in Chapter 23 (black, white, rainbow):

The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it— whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash...

There's also symbolism (pocket watch symbolizes "time"):

Atticus’s fingers went to his watchpocket. “No it didn’t,” he said, more to himself than to us. “That was the one thing that made me think, well, this may be the shadow of a beginning. That jury took a few hours. An inevitable verdict, maybe, but usually it takes ‘em just a few minutes. This time—”

Chapter 24 contains much verbal irony.  Here's a classic case of understatement (pointing out the obvious for comic effect):

“Where are your britches today?”

“Under my dress.”

There's a simile:

Mrs. Merriweather played her voice like an organ

And situational irony (the unexpected happens):

I’d let Tom Robinson go so quick the Missionary Society wouldn’t have time to catch its breath.

Tom's dead.




Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 23 starts with a typical wry comment from Atticus, which is an example of understatement: "I wish Bob Ewell wouldn't chew tobacco," is all Atticus says after Bob Ewell has spit in his face in an insulting and disgusting gesture of scorn and hatred. Atticus could say something to express his own emotional reaction to Bob's horrid behavior, but he chooses instead to ignore the message behind Bob's spitting on him, focusing on a detail that doesn't really matter at all. By doing this, Atticus shows his ability to rise above Bob Ewell and his ignorance.

Irony is in play later in Chapter 23 when Scout describes Atticus's explanations of "the facts of life" to Jem and to herself: "Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears." Scout's use of the word "crashes" contrasts directly with the quietness of Atticus's manner, which reveals to the reader that the power of Atticus's expressions exists in the strength of his message, not in the volume of his voice. Atticus predicts in this moment that "one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it," that soon, white people will have to deal with the consequences of treating black people poorly, and the truth and horror of these words are so shocking, they "crash" over Jem and Scout, an unexpected experience when Atticus is speaking in such a low voice.

In Chapter 24, when Scout helps Calpurnia with the ladies' tea, she wears a "pink Sunday dress, shoes, and a petticoat," all of which operate as symbols of Scout's increasing maturity. Scout does not describe having to be forced to wear the dress, which pleases Aunt Alexandra, and she offers to help Calpurnia without being asked, which shows a greater level of awareness. The Scout at the start of the novel would have fought hard against the injustice of wearing such an outfit, but by this point, Scout has more important things to worry about, which also reflects a growing maturity.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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