To Kill A Mockingbird

By: Mia Dodson, Elgin Meadors, and Lindsay Nellis

Literary Criticism:

1. Throughout the novel, Harper Lee identifies and describes people by social class and uses the caste system between blacks and whites to give an identity to the Southern town of Maycomb and contribute to the conflict of the novel.


2. Another detail that goes unnoticed by readers is the fact that the mockingbird is really a symbol of the African-American population as a whole, as opposed to other suggestions, in which it is clearly seen in this quote in chapter 10: 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'


3. Lastly, the novel's main theme, which many people do not figure out, is tolerance, as portrayed throughout the novel in Boo Radley and Atticus Finch and at the end by Scout.

Character Foil

Character Foil: Tom Robinson and Boo Radley- One lives with his wife and kids and one is cooped up in his own house, but as the book goes on, they start to have more in common. They are both disabled in some way (Tom’s crippled arm and Boo’s shyness), both are innocents with a bad reputation and are both looked down upon, and both are compared to a Mockingbird.

Symbolism/Motifs: Mockingbirds- Besides making a really cool title to the book, the mockingbird is an important symbol throughout the story. It symbolizes how black people were treated and later on, it symbolizes how they should be treated instead.

Irony/Sarcasm:

Verbal Irony- Bob Ewell threatened to kill Atticus over and over before and after the trial so many times that everybody who knew Atticus were worried that he would actually do it. Instead Ewell targeted Scout and Jem. Nobody was expecting this to happen because Ewell did not say he was going to attack the children; he was going to attack Atticus.

Narrator:

The narrator flashes back to childhood by speaking in a way a child would talk and have a child’s playful thoughts. The child’s point of view would not have the knowledge of an adult because they would be still growing and have not experienced the world the adult has. In chapter 1 Scout spoke to Jem as an adult to figure out “the events leading” to Jem’s broken arm “when enough years have gone by,” meaning Scout is older than when she was in the flashback. (Pg.7) Once Scout goes to school, she starts narrating the flashback of how she viewed it as something she “never looked forward [to] more than anything“ else as a child. Scout then moves back into an adult perspective when Scout realizes how easy it was for her to read and “was compelled to think about it” now that she was old enough to reflect on it.

Thematic Topic:

Maycomb traps its citizens in a cycle of former mistakes never changed or learned. (Lee, Ch. 19 Pg. 201-202)

Citations:

Literary Criticism:

Erisman, Fred. "The Romantic Regionalism of Harper Lee." The Alabama Review 26.2 (Apr. 1973): 122-136. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz and Cathy Falk. Vol. 60. Detroit: Gale, 1990. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 June 2015.


Saney, Isaac. "The Case against To Kill a Mockingbird." Race & Class 45.1 (July-Sept. 2003): 99-110. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 194. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 June 2015.


Character Foil:

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Foil in To Kill a Mockingbird." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 28 May 2015.


Characterization:

Shmoop Editorial Team. "To Kill a Mockingbird Characters." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 01 June 2015


Allusion: YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 01 June 2015

"Allusions." Allusions. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 June 2015


Symbolism/Motifs:

"To Kill A Mockingbird: SYMBOLISM / SYMBOLS / CONTRASTS IN MAYCOMB SOCIETY by Harper Lee." To Kill A Mockingbird: SYMBOLISM / SYMBOLS / CONTRASTS IN MAYCOMB SOCIETY by Harper Lee. Web. 31 May 2015.


Irony/Sarcasm: "What Are Some Verbal Ironies in Chapters 1-3 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? - Homework Help - ENotes.com." Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 01 June 2015


Narrator:


"What Are Some Verbal Ironies in Chapters 1-3 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird? - Homework Help - ENotes.com." Enotes.com. Enotes.com, n.d. Web. 01 June 2015


Thematic Topic:

Shmoop Editorial Team. "To Kill a Mockingbird Themes." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 June 2015.