Harper Lee’s ability to capture a variety of dialects and Southern colloquial expressions adds realism and authenticity to the novel. One of many examples of a general Southern colloquialism is “buying cotton” a polite way of saying that a person does nothing.
Varieties of speech are often used to make a social comment about a character. The words that Scout applies, in particular, are very colorful, usually including beautiful figurative language to describe other characters. Scout is very imaginative in her descriptions. For instance, in Chapter 9 when she is explaining how boring her cousin Francis is, she says: “Talking to Francis gave me the sensation of settling slowly to the bottom of the ocean” (p. 87). The author is skilled in capturing children’s language. Bob Ewell uses a crude and harsh language at the trial to refer to Mayella being raped “screamin like a stuck hog” (Chapter 17). This is a distasteful simile, and it shows what little love and respect he has for his daughter even though that’s why there’s a trial in the first place.
Atticus is a man who leads by example. The beliefs and values which he communicates to his children at home are the same that he practices when he is on the street or in his work. I don’t think that I’m overstating that Atticus really is the book. Atticus is a character who personifies all that is good and just in people. Maycomb is a town in the South during the 1930’s. Bigotry, intolerance and basic ignorance are the norms in this town. When Tom Robinson, who is obviously an innocent man, is put on trial for rape, Atticus takes the job of defending him. Despite overwhelming disgust from the town Atticus being a great lower appeal to their hearts and minds; he can stir their conscience and sense of justice. In the end, even though the people’s bigotry ends up getting the better of them, they all know the truth. Scout and Jem are developing a similar sense of justice and honor as their father which makes the readers think that there is hope for humanity yet. One of Atticus’s more famous quotes sums up why he was a humanitarian so ahead of his time, “You 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.” (Atticus Finch).
The title of To Kill a Mockingbird has very little literal connection to the plot, but it carries a great deal of symbolic weight in the book. In this story of innocents destroyed by evil, the ‘Mockingbird’ comes to represent the idea of innocence, so to kill a Mockingbird is to destroy innocence. The most obvious mockingbirds are Boo/Arthur Radley and Tom Robinson. Arthur Radley has been punished his whole life for I bit of mischief as a teen, he is now innocent and is being wrongly punished as a full grown man. Tom Robinson is the main mockingbird of the book as he is clearly an innocent man, but is sentenced to death, literally killing the Mockingbird. The other mockingbirds in this story and probably the most important; They are the kid Jem and Scout. They are young children who have their innocents destroyed by the racism of there seemingly nice community in Tom’s trial and at the end of the book Bob’s attack them.