By Amy Watkin, Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
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Extra info for Bloom's How to Write about Harper Lee
Are both of them reliable? How can we tell? How we answer these questions can dictate how we internalize the rest of the book. Symbolism in To Kill a Mockingbird is evident from the title. This is not a book about murdering birds, and we may realize that even before 42 Bloom’s How to Write about Harper Lee Lee demonstrates this in the novel’s dialogue. ) But what does the mockingbird represent? Boo Radley? Tom Robinson? Both? All African Americans? Likewise, we might ask what Jem and Scout’s snowman represents.
She has largely shunned the fame that comes with this literary popularity. Her aspirations, while lofty, did not include fame and fortune: I want to do the best I can with the talent God gave me. I hope to goodness that every novel I do gets better and better, not worse and worse. indd 35 9/22/11 10:12 AM 36 Bloom’s How to Write about Harper Lee it because it’s such a personal thing. I would like to leave some record of the kind of life that existed in a very small world. I hope to do this in several novels—to chronicle something that seems to be very quickly going down the drain.
Whose courage is more important, or pervasive, or relevant to today’s readers? The character who seems most obviously courageous is Atticus, and yet when he speaks to Jem of courage, he is talking about Mrs. Dubose: “â†œ‘I wanted you to see something about her—I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what’â†œ” (Lee 128).