To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that talks about growing up, and innocence. This book is told from the point of view of Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout. Scout is a small girl growing up in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. She has a lot to learn in her upcoming years in Maycomb, as she is just a child and is oblivious to the real world. Throughout this book the author Harper Lee uses literary elements such as foreshadowing, metaphors, and allusion to help describe, and develop the theme of coming of age.
Harper Lee uses metaphors to help readers engage in her writing. In the beginning of the novel Scout was having a bad day at school and blamed Walter Cunningham for it because he didn’t have his lunch. Later on, Walter Cunningham comes over for lunch, and Scout scolded him because he wasn’t eating the way she thought was normal. Calpurnia scolds Scout, and says that she can’t think that she’s better than everybody else just because she is a Finch. Atticus tells Scout that you can never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it (Lee, Pg.39). At first Scout does not understand this right away, but as the book goes on, Scout starts to comprehend all these things happening in Maycomb. “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them” (Lee, Pg.374). Towards the end of the novel Scout finally understands what Atticus meant by being in someone else’s shoes. She understands this when she is accompanying Arthur Radley (Boo) back home. She stands on the Radley’s front porch and looks at everything from his point of view. This relates back to the theme of coming of age because it shows that Scout has matured to the point where she can understand, and take Atticus’s lessons to heart.
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Another element that Harper Lee uses is allusion, this helps readers visualize her writing, and hint at things indirectly. A Mockingbird, is one of the main allusions used in this book. “Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird” (Lee, Pg. 119). At first Scout is confused as to why anybody would want to shoot a mockingbird. As discussed in the book, a mockingbird is innocent, as all it does is make music for people to enjoy. Towards the end of the book Scout and Jem get attacked by Bob Ewell, after the attack they find Bob Ewell dead on the ground. Atticus and the sheriff of Maycomb, Heck Tate start to argue about who killed Bob Ewell. Atticus thinks that Jem killed Bob Ewell and that Tate is trying to cover for him, when it really is not like that. After a moment of silence Atticus very discreetly fathoms that it was Arthur Radley (Boo) that killed Bob Ewell. “Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a Mockingbird, wouldn’t it?” (Lee, Pg. 370). During that moment of silence Scout had also come to the conclusion that it was Arthur Radley (Boo) who killed Bob Ewell and saved her and Jem from him. When Scout says this, she shows her understanding of what it means to kill a Mockingbird. This goes with the theme of coming of age because as Scout isstarting to pick up on the littlest things she notices about people, like the way they talk, and behave around others, this shows that Scout is evolving.
Harper Lee uses foreshadowing to gives readers an insight on how the plot is going to unfold. In the beginning of Chapter 9 Scout is resisting the urge to fight Cecil Jacobs, a boy who tells everyone that Atticus is defending a black man. “Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him” (Lee, Pg. 102). Atticus tells Scout to not fight any of her peers on this issue, and she does so until Christmas comes around the corner. She loses it when she hears her cousin Francis call Atticus a derogatory term. “This time, I split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth. My left impaired, I swinged in with my right, but not for long” (Lee, Pg.112). Harper Lee uses foreshadowing to emphasize that Scout would be unable to control her anger and frustration. This relates to the theme of coming of age because Scout is starting to understand the importance of thinking things through before going head first. Although she does have a bit of trouble here and there she tries her best. For example, Atticus told Scout to keep her fists down, it was a tough decision for her but she followed through with it because she didn’t want to disappoint Atticus.
As expressed previously Harper Lee excellently uses metaphors, foreshadowing, and allusion to show the theme of coming of age. Coming of age is something that occurs in everyone’s life whether it be at a young or old age. In this book there are many characters that experience this but the main character that the book focuses on is Scout. It shows her growth from a child to a young adult, or more specifically her personal growth from a tomboy to a sophisticated