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TOPIC: Comparison of symbolism and themes in To Kill a Mockingbird and
Mississippi Burning
THESIS (specific point you are trying to prove): The film Mississippi-Burning and
the no2lto Kill a Mc5ingbird are similar in their use of symboim of animals,
flowers, and aggressors to convey the themes of innocea, pusityv and
corryptitn, respectively.
4qAIN BODY PARAGRAPH #1 TOPIC (link back to thesis): Theme, comparing the
from To Kill a Mockingbird and the mule from Mississippi Burning
Evidence #1 from Ta Kill a Mockingbird (PoinuProofiAna)ysis):
The shooting of a mockingbird is symbolic of destroying innocence and
killing things that possess internal beauty that bringifo harm into the world
The mockingbird is ugly on the otI&ide, but beautiful within, creating lovely
music for everyone, unjike the irritating blue jays who only possess
superficial, visual beauty
Reveals the theme that it is wr6ig to punish good-natured people, such as
many humans who are black, as a soletê&ilt of white prejudice
Proof: “Hp4f1ed Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by
huntefr (323)
Tom Robinson was an innocent man, who was killed as a result of the
racism and hatred thatjjarãcterized society in Maycomb
He was accused of being guilty of raping a white woman named Mayella
Ewell; although this was unt2.most of the population of Maycomb
assumed Robinson wasiiar due to their racial prejudice
The life of this kind, innocent, good-natured man was lost due to the racism
of Maycomb
Evidence #1 from Movie (PoinUProoflAnalysis)
When Rupert Anderson was a young boy, a black man who lived down the
street bought a mule
His dad couldn’t afford7mule, and was so full of hatred and envy that he
poisoned the muIe’$Qater
The mule symbolizes lower status of black people, and the idea that
something or some39.ini,ocent will have to pay the price to keep it that
Reveals the theme thalpcism means keeping people oppressed, and in
order to keep for th&tppression to prevail, innocent people and things will
have to pay a price
Proof: In an explanation of why he killed the mule, Rupert’s father told Rupert: “If
you ain’t better than a n*****, who are you better than?”
The black man anIIe mule, both innocent creatures who represented the
concept that a black man could be wealthy and get ahead in life, were
punished becaust6uuIie racism in Mississippi
Shows that raciyn-leads to slaughter and hatred, and the concept that
black people’-6n never be above white people or else there will be
MAIN BODY PARAGRAPH #2 TOPIC: Theme, comparing the camellia flower from
To Kill a Mockingbird and the trumpet pitcb6f from Mississippi Burning
Evidence #2 from To Kill a Mockingbird (PoinUProoflComment):
The white camellia given to Jem by Mrs. Dubose was a symbol of respect,
and a way of telling Jem thate forgave him
The flower symbolizes cowage and purity, qualities that Mrs. Dubose is
passing on to Jem through the camellia
The flower symbolizes purity beptlse Mrs. Dubose was trying to free
herself from her morphine addktion before she died, and wanted to
become and pure and righteous being; she wanted Jem to grow up with the
same desire to bp
corrupt, true to himself, and free from the
contamination ot’society
Reveals the theme that b3in a pure human means remaining true to
oneself and not goinplong with the pessimistic views of society, such as
the racism in Maycomb
Proof: “He picked up the cam, and when I went off to bed I saw him fingering
the wide petals” (149).
As Jem blossoifis into manhood, he begins to understand the difference
between right and wrong
Jem spending so much time thinkiug-about and holding the flower shows
how much he is thinking about Mrs. Dubose’s message
He is starting to unde2tand that to be a good person, he must rebel
against racism
Evidence #2 from Movie (PointlProoflComment):
3aimpet pitchers are flowers that are beautiful and white on the outside,
tZbut are secretly deadly and carnivorous, killing any insects that land on
These flowers are fhbolic of many white people of Mississippi; they
appeatso-calle&lSOaUtifUlöh the outside, bJita?ë ècretl malevolent and
evil (the killing of th%nsects could even represent the white people who
literally kill black 3eople)
Flowers are a twist on the usual concept of beauty, and reveal the theme
people who seems pure, graceful, and beautiful on the outside are
horrible creatures within
Proof: Mrs. Pell’s father calls trumpet pitchers “ladies-from-hell”. In a
conversation between Mrs. Pell and Rupert Anderson, they state: “That pretty
colour’s the bait. Insects just home in there and wham, they’re dead...even before
they got their shoes off.”
This is symbolic of the supposedly good and virtuous white people in
consuming the blac5,pople whole before they even get a
chance to try anything to makVa difference in their lives
Shows the levels of impurity anfl4ack of empathy of many white people in
MAIN BODY PARAGRAPH #3 TOPIC: Theme, comparing the rabid dog from To
Kill a Mackingbird and the Ku Klux Klan from Mississippi Burning
Evidence #3 from Ta Kill a Mockingbird (PoinUProof/Comment):
Atticus shoots a mad dog that is limping through the streets near his
home, while everyone else turns to madness and fear to guide them
The rabid dog symboliz-tfe madness and moral corruption that is taking
place in Maycomb over the Tom Robinson case
Atticus shooting the dog symbolizes that he is the only one who is willing
to stand up to “Maycomh)-dual disease” to fight the racism, chaos, and
Reveals the theme that racism com4ts people, and causes them to lose
their rationality and humanity
Proof: “I hope and pray that I can get Jem and Scout through it withoy(
bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease” (117).
Afticus expresses how)fadly he does not want his children giving into the
horrible prejudice a corruption of the town
Atticus cannot stand the racism of Maycomb’s inhabitants and how they
are not willing to change their stubborn mindset toward black people
He is one of the few people who has not been corrupted and consumed by
racism and hatred
Evidence #3 from Movie (PointlProoflcomment):
The Ku Klux Klan is a racist white supremacy group in the 1960s who
despite all people who are black
The KKK is a literal group, however they also symbolize how powerful
racism and corruption are in the southern states
The KKK as well as many other people in Mississippi can feel no empathy,
and are consumed by their own negative thoughts toward black people
The KKK reveals that theme that racism can become corruptive, addictive,
and vicious, as well as a difficult habit to break%t1
Proof: When a young black boy is standing outside of his church praying, a KKK
member kicks him to the ground, stating, “You already been told once, n*****. We
don’t wanna have to tell you again.”
The madness of the racism hows that there are no limits to the
extensiveness of the violence of the KKK; they would threaten and kill
black children if they wanted
The KKK members are so blinded by hatred that they can’t even open there
eyes to try to understand other people
In spite of being two very different stories, the film Jylississippi Burning and the
novel To kill a Mockingbird are similar in their usrof symbolism of animals,
flowers, and aggressors to convey the themes ofjjjocence, purity, and
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convey the concept of innocence, and the idea that black people are not allowed
to have any advantages over white people. In addition, the white camellia and the
trumpet pitchers reveal what true purity is and why it is so important to stay true
to oneself and stand up for-What is right. Finally, the rabid dog and the Ku Klux
Klan are symbolic of how racism corrupts people and leads to madness.
Mississippi Burning and To Kill a Mockingbird both tell incredibly important
stories of racism, that wil[.nver be forgotten. Mississippi Burning and To kill a
Mockingbird demonstrate how a belief system ingrained by group identity can
unleash the darkest instincts of humanity.
otut Lou
Thesis: The film Braveheart and the short story “Just Lather, That’s
All” are similar with their characters’ integrity, life-threatening
conflict, and themes that one should always fight for freedom.
Sample Paragraph 1: Character (1) Comparing the Barber (from “Just Lather,
That’s All) and William Wallace (from Bravehead)
William Wallace from “Braveheart’ and The Barber from ‘Just Lather, That’s All” were both
revolutionaries, fighting against a tyrannical power to find inner peace. Wallace grew up in a
Scotland that was ruled by England and experienced the deception of the English forces as they
lured his father and friends into a trap, so he refused to conform (become a slave) to such an
oppressive system. ‘Slaves are made in such ways. The last time Longshanks spoke of
peace I was a boy. And many Scottish nobles, who would not be slaves, were lured
bThim under a flag of truce to a barn, where he had them hanged. I was very
young, but I remember Longshanks’ notion of peace’ (Braveheart). Wallace mistrusted
the English’s false promises and manipulation of the Scottish, so he devoted his life to resisting
this system to find his own peace. Similarly, the Barber was a rebel who opposed Torres’
butcherous role enforcing the dictatorial South American government: “The day he ordered the
whole town to file into the patio of the school to see the four rebels hanging there, I came face to
face with him for an instant’ (14). Despite fear of life-threatening consequences, the Barber
chooses rebellion, as he envisions a better life for his country’s citizens. Also, Wallace was a
man of integrity, fighting for love and freedom in the face of grave danger: insert quotation here.
then analysis. The Barber was also a man of integrity: his dignity was rooted in his professional
commitment to his clients: “I perform my work honourably. .1 don’t want blood on my hands.
Just lather, that’s all” He decided that he was a barber, not a murderer, and refused to lower
himself to the despicable level of tyrannical Torres.