Geraniums and camellias symbolize the redemptive qualities that are present even in the most cruel and unsympathetic people. Mayella Ewell, Tom Robinson’s accuser, is in a variety of ways a pitiful and unsavory character—and yet, like Miss Maudie, she grows bright red geraniums in jars for her enjoyment and for the enjoyment of everyone who passes her family’s home. Mrs. Dubose similarly is very proud of her camellias, despite also being an extremely unpleasant, rude, and racist individual. Because of this, the flowers that both women grow come to symbolize their respective humanity, which challenges Scout’s notion that people are all good or all bad. This supports the novel’s assertion that even individuals who seem, at first glance, to be horrible people who do and say unspeakable things aren’t entirely evil.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Geraniums and Camellias appears in To Kill a Mockingbird. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...don’t meet Atticus that evening. When Atticus arrives home with the broken baton and a camellia, Jem confesses, and Atticus icily sends him to apologize to Mrs. Dubose. Scout is terrified—she... (full context)