What are some literary devices used in Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird? I just need a few examples to help me through this. Literary devices that can be used are the following:•a stylistic...

What are some literary devices used in Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

I just need a few examples to help me through this.

Literary devices that can be used are the following:

•a stylistic choice of words or expression – for tone, mood or poetic effect;
•an explanation of a significant symbol or metaphor
•the exploration of an important theme or aspect of characterization
•links to important elements of the narrative elsewhere in the novel

OR there can be background information on aspects of
•historical or cultural setting
•biographical interest from the author’s life
•relevant links to other novels, films or ‘real life’


Expert Answers
shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 16 starts with Atticus and the  family at the breakfast table after a difficult night of trying to protect Tom from an angry white mob at the Maycomb jail.

At one point, Atticus says

"That proves something--that a gang of wild animals can be stopped. Simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children . . . you children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute."

This quotation uses the literary device of figurative language, in this case the metaphor. The first metaphor is the line "a gang of wild animals." Atticus is not referring to actual animals here, but rather the mob of citizens who have come to lynch Tom Robinson. He makes the metaphor to emphasize that, as a mob, they are unthinking, irrational, and fully in control of their own behavior.

He also says that his children (who, in a sense, rescued Atticus from the mob the night before) "made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes." This is also a metaphor. The point of the metaphor is that Cunningham was made to look at things from Atticus' point of view (hence, "stand in my shoes"). This line also reminds the reader of something that Atticus said earlier in the story "You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes." This sort of repetition of key metaphors helps develop the story and keep it all tied together thematically.

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A simile occurs in Chapter Sixteen when Scout and Jem arrive at the courthouse for Tom Robinson's trial. Once they are seated, Scout looks around her, stating:

Judge Taylor was on the bench, looking like a sleepy old shark, his pilot fish writing rapidly below in front of him.

Scout is using a simile (a phrase containing "like" or "as") to compare judge Taylor to a predatory creature of the sea. This gives us an important and very clear illustration of Judge Taylor's attitude at the beginning of the trial and his informal and yet authoritative presence over the courthouse he is in charge of. As Scout later clarifies, "He was a man learned in the law, and although he seemed to take his job casually, in reality he kept a firm grip on any proceedings that came before him." This is significant because it sets the tone for the trial that is about to occur and provides further insight into the politics of why Taylor would appoint Atticus to Robinson's case. In alignment with his image as a "sleepy shark," Taylor's decision to appoint Atticus may have seemed casual, but in reality was a very pointed effort to ensure that a fair trial was held.



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To Kill a Mockingbird

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