The Theme of Racism in To Kill a Mockingbird Essay Example
Maycomb’s disease is only contagious to weak people; as the mad dog’s appearance is equivalent to what Atticus has to face during his time in the case, he uses his gun to protect the kids and try and save the town from this ‘madness.’ In the text, the arguments are supported by the themes of racism, prejudice, and symbolism and will be further explained.
The mad dog is symbolized in chapter 10 of the novel and explores different themes and values. As a scout grows and starts understanding what Maycomb truly is and what society has shaped her mind to be, which is equivalent to the mad dog, the mad dog explores and exposes what society is through symbolism.
The mad dog is diagnosed with rabies, a ‘contagious’ and ‘deadly’ disease. Atticus says he doesn’t want his kids to catch Maycomb’s usual disease. This is shown when Atticus says, “I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness and most of all without catching Maycomb’s usual ‘disease’ this quote includes the metaphor as a literary device explaining that Maycomb’s usual disease which symbolizes the racism and fatal prejudice that is going through the town.
The dog, in this case, represents Tom Robinson and the Tom Robinson case. The dog has rabies, which is what harper lee is expressing to be how racism affects the town. Racism and prejudice have caused the entire town to go crazy over this case because Tom is African-American. Atticus, who is white, is taking his case knowing he will lose it, like killing this dog with rabies won’t eliminate the disease in its body.
Instead, it will get rid of the dog as a whole, which they see as the problem, in contrast to getting rid of Tom Robinson instead of actually doing something about the racism that is destroying the town and knowing that Atticus is the only one who can at least make the town think twice and as miss Maudie states “And I thought to myself well, were making a step, it’s just a baby step, but it’s a step,” which is true like when he shoots the dog, it’s not going to remove every dog with rabies but will give the town one more miniature dog corresponding with the fact that Atticus will leave the courtroom with one less person who is prejudice and racist.
Calpurnia knows that calling Atticus is the best thing to do because she knows that he has the best aim in town and has the best shot at getting rid of the dog and keeping the neighborhood safe. Atticus comes and asks the sheriff heck, Tate, for a gun. Tate knows well enough that Atticus is an expert in the field, so Tate hands it over.
This situation affects Atticus the most because he never shoots. He only shoots when he feels like he has to. At that moment, he did, in contrast to how he has to face something he feels like he has to because he has a job, a job to protect people. If it has come to a conclusion where he has to do that to a dog with rabies, then he believes he can certainly try his best to protect tom and his case and prove that he is innocent. Atticus has to go through the pressure of releasing the trigger on the dog. In this case, he is willing to shoot the town’s disease and weaken to make a difference and prove them wrong in the town’s decision.
Therefore, Atticus Is the power in the novel to try and stop Maycomb’s disease from spreading as fast as rabies and preventing it from becoming as fatal as it was to the dog. He is the only one who can ideally aim the gun, so he might as well release the trigger on something that really needs to stop, like the town’s fatal prejudice and vulgar racism.