The Symbolism of the Dog Being Shot in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" explores many situations in which good and evil are expressed through the actions of people in a small town in the South. The central character, Atticus Finch, is a freethinker and is heroic in his ability to defy popular opinion and stand up for what is right. Atticus understands that people have the potential for both good and evil.
1 Good vs. Evil
In the fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, a series of odd events occur in 1933. One incident involved a rabid dog that was near and dear to the community members. Out of necessity, Atticus shoots the dog, putting him out of his misery and saving the town from the threat of rabies contagion. This act represents Atticus saving the town from a deadly disease, while the town continues to suffer from the social disease of racism. Atticus saves the people from rabies, and later he shows them that racism is evil to its core. Killing the dog symbolizes killing racism.