Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird - Gun & Light Symbolism

Essay by omniromHigh School, 10th gradeA, January 2005

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Chapter 15

There are several patterns present in the text that greatly affect the entirety of the novel by providing inspiring themes and concepts to the plot. The one predominant theme shown in this chapter depicts Atticus's uneasiness to use a gun, a symbol of mankind's tyranny and unfairness. Just as in the scene of Atticus with his gun standing against the rabid dog, Atticus's stance at the door of the jail is symbolic of his attitude towards discrimination and injustice. At the jail, Atticus doesn't hold a gun, for he dislikes handling a gun because of the unfair advantages that it poses towards others. Atticus also disliked handling a gun in the rabid dog scene, for it makes him feel like he has an unfair advantage over all living things. Nature is fair in the sense that it has given all beings things that are entitled to them, and using a tool like a gun to kill allows them special privileges which nature never intended for them to use.

Atticus doesn't like the unfairness that mankind has taken over the blacks, for they have taken unfair advantage over the black's past situations. Nature seems to have its own law which states that humans should not take advantage of their knowledge to harm others. In the name of public safety, however, Atticus was willing to put this moral aside in the name of a higher goal - the protection of human life. Similarly, in the jail scene, Atticus was again willing to have a firearm present. Mr. Underwood, who was probably present by Atticus's orders for protection, shows that Atticus will set aside his morals in order to protect human life. Again, this shows how law, such as nature's law, or even a personal law such as Atticus's avoidance of...