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Figurative Language in To Kill a Mockingbird

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Title: Figurative Language in To Kill a Mockingbird


1
Figurative Language in To Kill a Mockingbird
2
Quick Quiz
  • 1. Number from 1 to 5 on a sheet of paper.
  • 2. Identify which of the sentences with the
    accompanying picture is either an idiom,
    personification, hyperbole, a metaphor, or a
    simile?

3
  • 1. The lunch line reached from the beginning
    2. The fog curled over the
  • to the end of the Great Wall of China.
    tombstones like locks of hair.
  • Idiom?
  • Personification?
  • Hyperbole?
  • Metaphor?
  • Simile?
  • 3. We need a home run to win keep your
    finger's crossed.
  • 4. My binder is an overflowing sea of papers.

4
  • 1. The lunch line reached from the beginning
    2. The fog curled over the
  • to the end of the Great Wall of China.
    tombstones like locks of hair.
  • Hyperbole

    Simile
  • 3. We need a home run to win keep your
    finger's crossed. Idiom
  • 4. My binder is an overflowing sea of papers.
  • Metaphor

5
Simile
  • Ladies bathed before noon, after their
    three-oclock naps, and by nightfall were like
    soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet
    talcum (Lee 6).
  • pages numbers 50th Anniversary Edition
    paperback

6
Simile
  • Ladies bathed before noon, after their
    three-oclock naps, and by nightfall were like
    soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet
    talcum (Lee 6).
  • The women of Maycomb are described as sweet but
    covered with beads of water and visible powder.
  • pages numbers 50th Anniversary Edition
    paperback

7
Simile
  • The Radley place fascinated Dill. In spite of
    our warnings it drew him as the moon draws
    water (Lee 8).

8
Simile
  • The Radley place fascinated Dill. In spite of
    our warnings it drew him as the moon draws
    water (Lee 8).
  • The house captured the boys attention with a
    power similar to the moons affect on tidal
    action.

9
Personification
  • The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the
    front yard (Lee 10).
  • The misery of the house began many years before
    Jem and I were born (LEE 11).
  • Mr. Radleys older son lived in Pensacola he
    came home at Christmas, and he was one of the few
    people we ever saw enter or leave the place. From
    the day Mr. Radley took Arthur home, people say
    the house died (Lee 14-15).
  • The house was the same, droopy and sick, but as
    we stared down the street we thought we saw an
    inside shutter move. Flick. A tiny, almost
    invisible movement and the house was still (Lee
    19).

10
Personification
  • The remains of a picket drunkenly guarded the
    front yard (Lee 10).
  • The misery of the house began many years before
    Jem and I were born (LEE 11).
  • Mr. Radleys older son lived in Pensacola he
    came home at Christmas, and he was one of the few
    people we ever saw enter or leave the place. From
    the day Mr. Radley took Arthur home, people say
    the house died (Lee 14-15).
  • The house was the same, droopy and sick, but as
    we stared down the street we thought we saw an
    inside shutter move. Flick. A tiny, almost
    invisible movement and the house was still (Lee
    19).
  • What is left of the fence around the Radley house
    stands like someone who has had too much to
    drink.
  • The sadness of the place has a history.
  • Giving the house human characteristics sheds
    additional light on the authors characterization
    of the people who live in the house.

11
Allusions/idiom
  • Dill had seen Dracula, a revelation that moved
    Jem to eye him with the beginning of respect
    (Lee 9).
  • Our first raid came to pass only because Dill
    bet Jem The Gray Ghost against two Tom Swifts
    that Jem wouldnt get any farther than the Radley
    gate (Lee 16).

12
Allusions/idiom
  • Dill had seen Dracula, a revelation that moved
    Jem to eye him with the beginning of respect
    (Lee 9).
  • Our first raid came to pass only because Dill
    bet Jem The Gray Ghost against two Tom Swifts
    that Jem wouldnt get any farther than the Radley
    gate (Lee 16).
  • This is a reference to the 1931 movie, Dracula,
    starring Bela Lugosi.
  • to eye him in this ocntext means to judge
    someone with a new perspective.
  • The Gray Ghost by Robert F. Schulkers included
    Seckatary Hawkins, a fictional character in a
    series of 11 children's novels published between
    1921 and 1932.
  • Tom Swift was the central character in five
    series of books by Edward Stratemeyer, first
    appearing in 1910.

13
  • Idiom or implied metaphor or both?
  • Boo wasnt crazy, he was high strung (Lee
    14-15).
  • But there came a day when Atticus told us hed
    wear us out if we made any noise in the yard
    (Lee 15).
  • I hope youve got it through your head that
    hell kill us each and every one, Dill Harris,
    said Jem (Lee 17).
  • I contented my self with asking Jem if hed lost
    his mind (Lee 24)

14
  • Idiom or implied metaphor or both?
  • Boo wasnt crazy, he was high strung (Lee
    14-15).
  • But there came a day when Atticus told us hed
    wear us out if we made any noise in the yard
    (Lee 15).
  • I hope youve got it through your head that
    hell kill us each and every one, Dill Harris,
    said Jem (Lee 17).
  • I contented my self with asking Jem if hed lost
    his mind (Lee 24)
  • high strung nervous or easy agitated (like a
    violin?)
  • wear us out to punish by beating or whipping
    (worn out rear end of a pair of pants?)
  • got it through your head to have processed
    information and understood (in one ear?)
  • lost his mind to become unable to understand
    (thoughts wandering in the woods?)

15
Idiom
  • Miss Caroline was no more than twenty-one.
    She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks, and wore
    crimson fingernail polish. She also wore
    high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white-striped
    dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint
    drop. She boarded across the street one door down
    from us in Miss nervous Atkinson's upstairs front
    room, and when Miss Maudie introduced us to her,
    Jem was in a haze for days (Lee 21).

16
simile/idiom
  • Miss Caroline was no more than twenty-one.
    She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks, and wore
    crimson fingernail polish. She also wore
    high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white-striped
    dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint
    drop. She boarded across the street one door
    down from us in Miss nervous Atkinson's upstairs
    front room, and when Miss Maudie introduced us to
    her, Jem was in a haze for days (Lee 21).
  • Effective characterization of Miss Caroline using
    a simile.
  • To be in a haze means to be in a state of
    confusion or under the influence of a particular
    thought.

17
Simile
  • It must have been two oclock. The moon was
    setting and the lattice-work shadows were fading
    into fuzzy nothingness. Jems white shirt-tail
    dipped and bobbed like a small ghost dancing away
    to escape the coming morning (Lee 57).

18
Simile
  • It must have been two oclock. The moon was
    setting and the lattice-work shadows were fading
    into fuzzy nothingness. Jems white shirt-tail
    dipped and bobbed like a small ghost dancing away
    to escape the coming morning (Lee 57).
  • As Jem returns to the house in the dark, his
    flying clothing offers a deathly image.

19
Idiom
  • but then Uncle Jack was strange. He said he
    was trying to get Miss Maudie's goat, that he had
    been trying unsuccessfully for forty years....
    (Lee 58).

20
Idiom
  • but then Uncle Jack was strange. He said he
    was trying to get Miss Maudie's goat, that he had
    been trying unsuccessfully for forty years....
    (Lee 58).
  • To get one's goat is to make a person disgusted
    or angry (Did anyone look through pages to see if
    Miss Maudie had a literal goat?)
  • Who is told later not to let em get your goat?
    (Lee 101)

21
Hyperbole
  • The world's endin', Atticus! Please do
    something-! I dragged him to the window and
    pointed (Lee 86)
  • "Well how'd you feel if you'd been shut up for a
    hundred years with nothin' but cats to eat? I bet
    he's got a beard down to here-".(Lee 62).

22
Hyperbole
  • The world's endin', Atticus! Please do
    something-! I dragged him to the window and
    pointed (Lee 86)
  • "Well how'd you feel if you'd been shut up for a
    hundred years with nothin' but cats to eat? I bet
    he's got a beard down to here-".(Lee 62).
  • Scouts surprise at seeing snow made her think
    the impossible had occurred.
  • Dills imagination offered an unrealistic passage
    of time, demands of an appetite, and growth of
    facial hair!

23
  • Metaphor/Personification/Personification
  • insects splashing against the screen were Boo
    Radleys insane fingers picking the wire to
    pieces the chinaberry trees were malignant,
    hovering, alive (Lee 74).
  • When I went back to get my breechesthey were
    folded across the fencelike they were expectin
    me(Lee 78).

24
  • Metaphor/Personification/Personification
  • insects splashing against the screen were Boo
    Radleys insane fingers picking the wire to
    pieces the chinaberry trees were malignant,
    hovering, alive (Lee 74).
  • When I went back to get my breechesthey were
    folded across the fencelike they were expectin
    me(Lee 78).
  • Bugs hitting the screen become Boos fingers.
  • Trees are intent on harm.
  • Jems pants want him to come back for them.

25
Metaphor
  • Less than two weeks later we found a whole
    package of chewing gum, which we enjoyed the
    fact that everything on the Radley Place was
    poison having slipped Jems memory (Lee 80 -
    81).

26
Metaphor
  • Less than two weeks later we found a whole
    package of chewing gum, which we enjoyed the
    fact that everything on the Radley Place was
    poison having slipped Jems memory (Lee 80 -
    81).
  • Both Scout and Jem bought into the urban/local
    legend that concluded that any touching or taking
    any item on the Radley property might result in
    death.

27
Simile/personification
  • He walked quickly, but I thought he moved like
    an underwater swimmer time had slowed to a
    nauseating crawl. (Lee 127).

28
Simile/personification
  • He walked quickly, but I thought he moved like
    an underwater swimmer time had slowed to a
    nauseating crawl. (Lee 127).
  • Atticus seemed to walked very slowly toward the
    mad dog, Tim Johnson. (Why was the dog called
    Tim Johnson?)
  • Individual minutes determined their on speed so
    slowly that watching the action was sickening or
    caused an unpleasant physical reaction.

29
Which figures of speech are used here?
  • Aunt Alexandras vision of my deportment
    involved I should be a ray of sunshine in my
    fathers lonely life. I suggested that one could
    be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but
    Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam,
    that I was born good but had grown progressively
    worse every year (Lee 108).
  • Is there indirect characterization here?

30
What two figures of speech Harper Lee use here?
  • The varmints had a lean time of it, for the
    Ewells gave the dump a thorough gleaning every
    day, and the fruits of their industry (those that
    were not eaten) made the plot of ground around
    the cabin look like the playhouse of an insane
    child (Lee 228).
  • gleaning gathering after harvest (typically
    describing animals that go after what is left in
    a field after the harvest does the use of that
    verb/gerund add to the characterization of the
    Ewells?)

31
What figurative language is used here?
  • Mrs. Merriweather played her voice like an
    organ every word she said received its full
    measure (Lee 309).
  • How is the idea extended? What effective word is
    used to extended the characterization of her
    voice?
  • When Miss Maudie was angry, her brevity was icy.
    Something had made her deeply angry, and her gray
    eyes were as cold as her voice (Lee 312).
  • Again the description is extended what does the
    characterization suggest?

32
  • If you were randomly give a group of words,
    could you quickly create figures of speech?

Secret
Tiger
Frown
Thunder
Games
33
  • If you were randomly give a group of words,
    could you quickly create figures of speech?

Secret
Tiger
Frown
Thunder
Games
The tiger secretly frowned as the games
thundered on.
34
Natural images of mockingbirds
Unnatural image of a mockingbird
35
  • Chapter 10
  • When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus wouldn't
    teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in
    the rudiments thereof he said Atticus wasn't
    interested in guns.Atticus said to Jem one day,
    'I'd rather you shoot at tin cans in the back
    yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all
    the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but
    remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
  • That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say
    it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss
    Maudie about it.
  • Your father's right, she said. 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. (Lee 119)
  • Chapter 30
  • Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I
    ran to him and hugged him and
  • kissed him with all my might.
  • Yes sir, I understand, I reassured him. 'Mr.
    Tate was right.
  • Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me,
    'What do you mean?'
  • Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a
    mockingbird, wouldn't it? (Lee 370)
  • A motif is a recurring feature in a work of
    fiction (simple examples a name, an image,
  • or a phrase) a conspicuous recurring element
    (complex examples a type of incident, a
  • literary device, an allusion, or verbal formula,
    which appears a number of times in the text.
  • For instance, the ugly girl who turns out to be a
    beautiful princess is a common motif in folklore,
  • and the man fatally bewitched by a fairy lady is
    another folkloric motif. The mockingbird
  • imagery in To Kill a Mockingbird acts as a motif.
    Light and dark imagery in Romeo and Juliet
  • functioned as a motif. Juliet is described as the
    sun capable of banishing the envious
  • moon and transforming the night into day
    (2.1.46) Their troubles are captured in the

Motif
36
  • Suppose you had an essay assignment to pick a
    specific complex issue from the text and explain
    that issue in detail.
  • What kinds of research would you do?
  • Where would you start?
  • How thorough would you have to be?

37
  • First, you would find all of the evidence in the
    text that discusses the issue.
  • Then, reread and reread those passages until you
    understand what the text offers.
  • Next, use a dictionary (online or otherwise) and
    define any word or term you do not understand.
  • Now, do research outside the text to explore the
    idea.
  • Then, compose the essay.
  • If the research question was What does
    entailment mean, where do you begin?

38
  • Entailment discussions form the text
  • (Ch 2 26 28)
  • After a dreary conversation in our living room
    one night about his entailment, before Mr.
    Cunningham left he said, "Mr. Finch, I don't know
    when I'll ever be able to pay you.
  • When I asked Jem what entailment was, and Jem
    described it as a condition of having your tail
    in a crack, I asked Atticus if Mr. Cunningham
    would ever pay us.
  • Entailment was only a part of Mr. Cunningham's
    vexations. The acres not entailed were mortgaged
    to the hilt, and the little cash he made went to
    interest.
  • Miss Scout, if you give me your attention I'll
    tell you what entailment is. Jem's definitions
    are very nearly accurate sometimes."
  • (Ch 15 204 206)
  • "Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How's your entailment
    gettin' along?"
  • Mr. Cunningham displayed no interest in his son,
    so I tackled his entailment once more in a
    last-ditch effort to make him feel at home.
  • Entailments are bad, I was advising him, when
    I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing
    the entire aggregation.
  • "Well, Atticus, I was just sayin' to Mr.
    Cunningham that entailments are bad an' all that,
    but you said not to worry, it takes a long time
    sometimes . . . that you all'd ride it out
    together . . ." I was slowly drying up, wondering
    what idiocy I had committed. Entailments seemed
    all right enough for living room talk.

39
  • In Chapter 2, Mr. Cunningham and Atticus
    Finch discuss, in a dreary conversation the
    entailment of Mr. Cunninghams property. Scout
    brings this subject up in the narration as she
    muses over how she might explain what a
    Cunningham is to Miss Caroline. What Scout hears
    is that Mr. Cunningham may not be able to pay
    Atticus for his legal services. Scout asks Jem
    what entailment means and he responds with a
    clever idiom a condition of having your tail in
    a crack. Atticus tells Scout later that Jems
    definitions are very nearly accurate sometimes."
    The issue of entailment comes back into play in
    Chapter 15 in the scene before the jail when
    men in the community, including Mr. Cunningham,
    have come to lynch Tom Robinson. Scout diffuses
    the situation by asking Mr. Cunningham, How's
    your entailment gettin' along?" and asking about
    his son. Entailment is never made clear in any
    of the discussions.
  • Entailment is an old-fashioned form of
    bequeathing real property. Entailed land (aka Fee
    Tail) can only be inherited by the owner's issue
    (legitimate children). The law was created as a
    way to keep an estate intact for multiple
    generations. Since the land could not be sold or
    easily borrowed against, some individuals would
    be rich in land but still heavily in debt. Only
    four US States recognize Fee Tails and most
    European nations have done away with them. The
    few nations that still recognize entailed estates
    only recognize existing ones and do not allow new
    ones to be created.

40
  • Entailment or fee tail is the process in which
    a property cannot be sold, changed by a will, or
    otherwise used for monetary gain by the owner.
    The property passes by law to the legal heir of
    the owner upon his death. Entailment was used to
    keep properties in the main line of succession in
    a family. Also, the heir of an entailed property
    could not sell the land or give the property to
    an illegitimate child. So, no matter what the
    owners financial situation might be, that person
    was bound or legally tied to the land.
  • Cunningham had been to Atticus to resolve an
    entailment problem. The land Cunningham had was
    likely entailed, meaning that he might not be the
    clear owner and thus could neither sell nor
    mortgage the property to raise money. Again,
    Harper Lee does not make the actual circumstances
    clear. Another possibility is Cunningham risked
    losing land if he was not a clear heir to the
    original owner (i.e. oldest child or was
    illegitimate). Later on when the lynching party
    gathers outside the jail, Scout mentions that
    entailments are bad even though she does not
    clearly understand what an entailment is.
    Bringing up this complex issue caused the men in
    the lynch mob to think about what they were
    actually doing and their circumstances.
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