What is the symbolism in Miss Caroline Fisher's name? Tom Robinson?Please give at least 1 or 2 examples per question.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Miss Caroline's last name, Fisher, is indicative of her position on the first day of school:  She fishes around for the appropriate way to deal with the members of Scout's first grade class. 

  1. For instance, with Scout she runs into obstacles since the child has already learned to read, and her learning has not followed the paradigm that Miss Caroline requires. 
  2. In addition, she flounders (pun intended!) when she  insists that Walter Cunningham take the quarter she offers for lunch.  For, she does not understand that the reason Walter refuses the loan is the fact that he cannot repay it.

Tom Robinson's name contain two symbolic meanings. 

  1.  As the quiet, submissive Negroe, Robinson is the typical "Uncle Tom."  When he is on the witness stand and Atticus Finch asks him why he ran, when Tom Ewell appears and sees his daughter talking to him, Robinson replies, "Mr. Finch, if you was a n-- like me, you'd be scared, too."
  2. His last name, Robinson, suggests that Tom is symbolically a bird, the mockingbird, which Atticus declares is a sin to kill because they hurt no one.  Of such a kind heart, Tom becomes the tragic victim of the racial basis that is entrenched in Maycomb.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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