What was the effect and the insight gained from the allusion of Shadrach in Chapter 12?Why did the author use it and was it effective?

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The humorous allusion to Shadrach in Chapter 12 of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird refers to the Biblical story of "The Three Young Men and the Fiery Furnace." In the novel, Scout recalls the story of her bored Sunday school class tying Eunice Ann Simpson to a chair in the furnace room during a sermon.

"...We forgot her... when a dreadful banging issued from the radiator pipes... brought forth Eunice Ann saying she didn't want to play Shadrach any more--Jem Finch said she wouldn't get burned if she had enough faith, but it was hot down there."

In the Bible story, The Three Young Men--Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego--are captives of King Nebuchadnezzar. When they refuse to bow down to the king's golden statue, Nebuchadnezzar orders the three boys thrown into a fiery furnace. The three boys emerge unscathed, and Nebuchadnezzar forgives the three.

Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Jem and Scout are left by Atticus in a proverbial hot place--to attend Calpurnia's church as the only white faces in the crowd. And like the Three Young Men, they, too, would emerge alive and well and with new insight to the black townspeople of Maycomb.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question