Monday, May 30, 2011

Chapter 27 Free Response: Why might Bob Ewell feel better by bring fear to the people involved with T-Rob's court case?

In Chapter 27 Harper Lee illustrates the humiliation of Bob Ewell. After the court case, Bob Ewell was well aware that few people had believed in his argument during the T-Rob case. In his anger and frustration he attack everyone who he thought supported Tom Robson during the court case to feel superior. Bob Ewell shows his shame on page 332,"Thereafter he resumed his regular weekly appearances at the welfare office...Ruth Jones said Mr. Ewell openly accused Atticus of getting his job." Bob Ewell also shows his shame and longing for superiority by trying to ruin the little success Helen Robson has over him. Ewell tries to harass her into quiting her job on page 333, "She had to walk nearly a mile out of her way to avoid the Ewells, who, accorded to Helen, "chunked at her" the first time she tried to use the public road."

In Chapter 27 Harper Lee further shows Bob Ewell's anger and how he tries to handle it. During the T-Rob case, Harper Lee shows the reader that Bob Ewell tried to escape the shame in the truth of his daughter's crime by framing Tom in hopes of his death sentence. Now Bob Ewell's tries to escape the shame he has quired in the T-Rob case by attacking Judge Taylor. Atticus tells Aunt Alexandra the origin of his attack on page 335, "I proved him a liar but John made him look like a fool." Mr Ewell felt inferior to Judge Taylor during the case so Bob tried escape the shame by raiding Mr. Taylor's house making him look like the fool.

Do you think any of Bob Ewell's attempt of harassment succeeded?

Do you think this the last of Bobs Ewell's attacks?

Do you think these attacks helped Bob in any way?

29. Free Responce: How does Harper Lee use Boo's character in this chapter? What is the significance?

In Chapter 28 and 29 Harper Lee introduces the reader to Boo Radley for the first time. It all starts with Jem and Scout walking home from the Maycomb pageant and they start to hear noises behind them. "Our company shuffled and dragged his feet, as if wearing heavy shoes. Whoever it was wore thick cotton pants;" (p. 350) Then they get attacked. Scout's costume saves her from the worst of the fight, but Jem breaks his arm. Their assailant is Mr. Ewell, but they suddenly realize that there is someone else there with them, helping them. When they get home Mr. Heck comes in and let's them know that Mr. Ewell is dead. Scout then realizes that the figure in the corner who helped them in the fight is: the one and only.... Mr. Arthur [Boo] Radley.

Harper Lee finally shows us who Boo Radley is. In the beginning of the book he is a scary figure. Someone for them (Scout and Jem) to be afraid of. As the novel progressed he became more of a victim of rumors to their eyes. Then, someone to pity. But in the end of the novel he is introduced in the flesh and he is their savior. Harper Lee uses Boo to show how such a caring individual is literally shut out of the world of Maycomb, how it doesn't really matter what your characteristics are like, it is the town that puts you into groups. She uses him to finalize her point, that all of the before mentioned stereotypes of Boo are false. These chapters characterize the REAL Boo Radley. How, even though he is weak physically, "They were white hands, sickly white hands that had never seen the sun, so white they stood out garishly against the dull cream wall in the dim light of Jem's room... His cheeks were thin to hollowness; his mouth was wide; there were shallow, almost delicate indentations at his temples, and his gray eyes were so colorless I thought he was blind." he can and he will stand up for who he cares about.


  1. Compare and Contrast Boo and Tom Robinson. How are they similar physically? How do they differ? Etc...

  2. Was it surprising that Boo was there?

  3. Why [ultimately] do you think Boo was in his house? Was he allowed out?

Chapter 27: What are the different ways Bob Ewell continues to be a problem in Maycomb? Why do you think this is important?

In chapter 27 of Harper Lee's extraordinary novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird", Bob Ewell continues to be a problem for the small town of Maycomb. During the trial of Tom Robinson, Ewell was made a fool even though he technically got his way. Ewell wanted to take revenge on the people that made him look like a fool. Therefore, he committed three crimes. The first was accusing Atticus of stealing his job. As it says on page 332, “Mr Ewell found himself as forgotten as Tom Robison.” After he was fired from the WPA for “laziness”, Mr. Ewell was forgotten untill he stroke again. Ewell’s second crime was the murder of Judge Taylor. One night when Judge Taylor’s wife was at church, he was sitting in his bedroom reading. The next thing you know, when Mrs. Taylor comes home, she finds him dead from being shot. It can be assumed that Bob Ewell murdered Judge Taylor because Judge Taylor was a likeable guy and the only person that would want to kill him would be Ewell for obvious reasons. The third crime Bob Ewell committed was the assault of Helen Robinson. Whenever Helen walked by, on her way to work, Ewell would threaten her and say mean things or follow her. On page 335, Aunt Alexandra says about Ewell’s crimes, “That man seems connected with that case. I know how that kind are about paying off grudges, but I don’t understand why he should harbor one - he had his way in court, didn’t he?” Harper Lee includes this information about Bob Ewell to represent the fact that the case is not forgotten and will never be.

Do you think Bob Ewell was the one to commit the murder of Judge Taylor? Why or why not?

Is this the end of the trial, or will Boo Radley have anything to do with it in the end of the novel? (if you haven’t already read the rest of the book)

Will these crimes scare Scout and Jem more about the safety of their own family?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chapter 24: Was Tom Robinson Doomed?

In Chapter twenty-four of Harper Lee's novel, To Kill A Mocking Bird, Atticus Finch informs his cook Calpurnia that Tom Robinson, an important Character in the Novel, is dead. He was recently sent to prison on a guilty conviction of raping Mayella Ewell, a white girl. It was there where he was waiting sentencing. Apparently after the trial, Tom seemed to have given up all hope. On page 314, Calpurnia was telling the group of ladies in the fiches house about he said Atticus, "Good-bye, Mr. Finch, there ain't nothin' you can do now, so there ain't no use in trying." Tom Believes that there is no use in helping him anymore. He is already on his way to prison, and he apparently raped a White girl, a case he lost from the start of the trial. Now he faces years in prison, or execution.

Tom Robinson's death my be surprising to some, however, it is not surprising to me. Tom Robinson had lost everything; his life, his children, his wife, and function in his arm. He is being sent to prison, with the possibility of being executed. On page 315, the reader is informed that Tom Robinson was shot multiple times after trying to escape. The pressure, stress, depression, etc. seemed to have taken its final toll on Tom to the point where he was willing to take his own chances. Atticus describes this as, "I guess Tom was tired of white men's chances and preferred to take his own." Throughout the trial, Tom Robinson has always been in the hands of white men. Everything that has happened to him in the story has been because of white men and women. Now, he has been convicted by white men and his life is gone either way; he will remain in prison for the majority of his life, or he will die by electric chair. Either way he loses. Tom must have realized this. All these factors lead to Tom being driven to the point of insanity, figuring he had nothing to lose, which is why Tom tried to escape and was shot dead.

Was Tom Robinson's death surprising to you? What do you think would have happened if he did not try to escape? Do you think he really had a chance?

Chapt. 24-25

Free Response:

What is the foundation for “being a lady?” Why does Aunt Alexandra behave like she does (around Scout)? Is Alexandra’s attitude her fault?

Chapter 24 in To Kill A Mockingbird is all about Aunt Alexandra. The trial is over and lost, and the book is almost over with only Ewell’s threat to be resolved. In the midst of it all Alexandra’s Missionary Society comes over for tea and have a whole chapter is devoted to them.

The Missionary Society is composed of “ladies,” ignorant people who have never worked a day in their lives, gossip nonsense, and pride themselves on it. Scout gets stuck in the middle of it all. Their gossip is, frankly, too annoying to quote. After bothering Scout about her dress, asking where her trousers are, and getting the response of “under my dress,” (pg 307) the ladies move on to talk about their misgivings of the black community and black folks in general. After Mrs. Merriweather is extremely rude in commenting on her black maid as she says, “It’s never entered that wool of hers that the only reason I keep her is because this depression’s on and she needs her dollar and quarter every week she can get it,” (pg 312) Miss Maudie retorts,” His food doesn’t stick going down does it?” (Pg 312) Harper Lee then stresses Miss Maudie’s anger through describing her facial expressions. Although Miss Maudie’s reference isn’t all that clear, the reader gets the sense that all is not running smoothly between the ladies, and that they are under tremendous pressure from each other. It appears that Miss Maudie, who we know is quite clever, could no longer stand Mrs. Merriweather’s ignorance. The following two statements stress this: “Maudie, I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” and then, ‘“I’m sure you do,” Miss Maudie said shortly… Something had made her deeply angry.’ (Pg 312) Aunt Alexandra then uses her distribution of refreshments to escape and then gives Miss Maudie a look of “pure gratitude.” (Pg 312) This causes Scout to reflect on her views of ladies and what they say.

It is made quite clear in this chapter that Alexandra is, at heart, a kind and fair person. All the gossip between the ladies- it is all peer pressure. Alexandra may have been a Scout when she was younger, but was made to change. That is the heart of Maycomb: each family stays the same for each generation, ladies are ladies, Cunninghams are Cunninghams, and Ewells are Ewells. Tradition is key in Maycomb. Alexandra is a victim of tradition. This is further stressed in her later talk with Miss Maudie,” I can’t say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he’s my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end... It tears him to pieces. He doesn’t show it much, but it tears him to pieces.” (Pg 316)

Alexandra, annoying as she sometimes is, has become that way through no fault of her own and acts for what she thinks is best. How does this relate to how Atticus treats her? Do you think Scout will ever understand? Why is this important?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Is Revenge Always Sweet?: How will Mr. Ewell get Atticus back, as planned?

In Chapter 22 in the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tom Robinson's verdict has been delivered, and Jem Scout is realizing that the world isn't as he imagined it to be. On page 284, it reads:
It was Jem's turn to cry. His face was streaked with angry tears as we made our way through the cheerful crowd. "It ain't right," he muttered... "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No son, it's not right."
The chapter continues to show that the Finches proceed home only to found a mountain of food given to them by Atticus' supporters. Although Atticus is grateful, it reads on page 286 that they, "Must never do this again. (said Atticus). Times are too hard..." The chapter goes on as Jem, Scout, and Dill all go to Miss Maudie's for some cakes after hearing Miss Stephanie Crawford gossiping about the trial and asking the children about how they felt. At Miss Maudie's, Jem confesses that Maycomb County isn't as good as he thought it was. Page 288 reads:
"I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like." After the visit with Miss Maudie, the chapter progresses slowly but ends with a bang. The last paragraph in Chapter 22 ends with,
...this morning, Mr. Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post office corner, spat in his face, and told him he'd get him if it took the rest of his life.
My questions to you are these: 1) Do you think Mr. Ewell means this, or is it just an empty threat? 2) If Mr. Ewell does mean to carry out with this threat, what do you think he'll do?
3) Who do you think is more worried about this: the kids (Jem and Scout), or Atticus? 4) How do you think Atticus will respond to these threats if they are carried out?

Chapters 22 and 23: What do we learn has happened to Atticus and how do we find this out? Are you surprised by his reaction?

In chapter twenty-two in To Kill A Mockingbird, the reader learns about what happened to Atticus. Near the end of the chapter and in the beginning of chapter twenty-three, Scout and Jem talk to Miss Stephanie on the sidewalk. "According to Miss Stephanie Crawford, however, Atticus was leaving the post office when Mr. Ewell approached him, cursed him, spat on him, and threatened to kill him (Page 291)." After reading through the courtroom scene in To Kill A Mockingbird, it is not surprising that Bob Ewell would do such a thing as in spitting at Atticus.

During the courtroom scene, it is very clear that Tom Robinson was guilty, and the Ewells were lying. Atticus does an excellent job revealing the flaws in their alibis. It is also assumed that Bob Ewell was the one who beat Mayella Ewell up with the evidence that Atticus has. In the end, Atticus has his last speech, and says, "The state has not produced one rota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with over took place. It is relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is (Page 271)." In this part, Atticus is pointing out that Bob Ewell is guilty, and blaming him for the crime. It is not a surprise that Bob Ewell would be enraged for Atticus' comment. It should also be noted that Atticus is defending a black man, Tom Robinson. This makes Bob Ewell angry too, because he believes that black people are inferior to him. This would also make other townsmen mad, such as the mob and etc.

In chapter twenty-three, Scout, Jem, and Dill are worried for Atticus because of the death threats from Bob Ewell. When having a talk with Atticus, Atticus explains why he isn't worried about Bob Ewell's threats. He says, "'Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell's shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand? (Page 293)'" This passage shows how unconcerned Atticus is about Bob Ewell. This also shows that Atticus wasn't very surprised with the event that happened before. When Atticus isn't surprised, this makes the reader not worry as much, which makes it less surprising.
Here are my questions to all of you:
1. Does this scene reveal anything else about Atticus? If so, what?

2. What is the point of Miss Stephanie telling it to the kids instead of Atticus?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chapters 20 and 21, Free Response: Why does Harper Lee introduce Mr. Dolphus Raymond during the court trial?

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee takes a break from the court trial to introduce the reader to Mr. Dolphus Raymond. Scout looks at Mr. Dolphus Raymond as a sad sole who is addicted to alcohol and is accepted by nobody. However, when she and Dill talk to him outside the courthouse, her views are greatly changed. "'Dill, you watch out, now,' I warned. Dill released the straws and grinned. 'Scout, it's nothing but Coca-Cola.' Mr. Raymond sat up against the tree-trunk. He had been lying on the grass. 'You little folks won't tell on me now, will you? It'd ruin my reputation if you did.' 'You mean all you drink in that sack's Coca-Cola?' 'Yes ma'am,' Mr. Raymond nodded." (pg 267) Scout has tried to learn from Boo Radley that you can't always believe the town rumors. Yet when Jem tells Scout what he knows of Mr. Raymond, she believes every word. Meeting Mr. Raymond is a reality check for Scout in that unless you talk to the source itself, you can't be sure of anything you hear. Harper Lee has taken a break from Boo Radley for the past few chapters, but when the reader meets Mr. Raymond, it's like meeting a more publicized version of Boo. Mr. Raymond is a victim of rumors in the small town that is Maycomb just as Boo is. Yet since Scout can actually talk to Mr. Raymond and he can simply deny all rumors of himself, she can easily and quickly have a change in heart about him. However, Scout cannot talk face to face with Boo Radley, as of now, so any rumors she hears, she can't exactly put to rest. Scout is still learning that what may seem to be evil or "bad" is not always so terrible.

So why did Harper Lee place this meeting with Mr. Raymond in the middle of the court case? Scout is skeptical about Jem's views of the trial, and thinks he is getting ahead of himself. However, Jem had always been somewhat of an idol to Scout, someone she looks up to. So it is natural for her to go along with Jem and think that Atticus is a sure win. However Atticus does not win, Tom Robinson is to be killed and Jem is in tears. The Jury obviously did not believe the truth of what they heard from Atticus and Tom. The Jury was oblivious to the honesty and openness of how obvious Tom's innocence was. Scout is shocked at the decision of the trial and looks upon it all as a dream. She can't believe, and shouldn't believe that Tom was guilty. Tom was also an extreme example of Maycomb County resident becoming a victim of rumors. Or rather the extreme of a rumor, a straight up lie. This decision is not completely related to Scout and her narrative in the novel. This trial is almost how she and Jem treat Boo Radley and used to treat Mr. Raymond. They treat these people as if they have done some great wrong, when really, they know nothing of the truth about them. They conform to the society regulations of what to believe. Scout is slowly coming out of that tiny bubble and Harper Lee uses the meeting of Mr. Raymond to show this true start.


How do Jem and Scout's views of the trial's outcome dictate how different they are?

Why is it important that Scout is the one to meet Mr. Raymond outside the Courthouse rather than Jem?

Will meeting Mr. Raymond and realizing that he is not whom he seemed to be effect Scout and her views of Boo Radley before she (if she does..) meets him?

Free Response: Chapter 21: Why do all the Negroes rise as Atticus leaves the courtroom?

In Chapter 21 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson is found guilty of raping Mayella Ewell. Therefore, Atticus did not defend Tom Robinson successfully. As he is walking out of the courtroom, however, all of the negroes around him stand up.
To all of the negroes in Maycomb county, Atticus is a hero. Atticus did what no other man would do, and that is defend Tom Robinson. Atticus did not judge Robinson by the color of his skin, but by the "content of his character." The passage that describes this moment is as followed.
" I looked around. They were standing. All around us and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Syke's voice was as distant as Judge Taylor's:
"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'."
All of the negroes in the courthouse stood up for Attticus as a sign of respect. They all knew the job of defending Tom Robinson was impossible, but they obviously thought that Atticus did one heck of a job. When Sykes says, "Miss Jean Louis, stand up. Your father's passin'," Sykes is making Atticus out to be a celebrated figure that people should stand up for, and in this case, they should.
Atticus defied the racial boundaries within Maycomb by defending Tom Robinson. He didn't care what the color of Robinson's skin was. He knew Robinson was innocent. Everyone else probably knew too. The negroes standing up for Atticus was a message to Atticus saying that he did a fantastic job.
My questions to all of you are:
1. Do you think that this case has softened any of the racial boundaries in Maycomb?
2. Do you think that people will respect Atticus more after this trial, or the other way around?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chapter 18-19:Contrast Tom Robinson’s treatment by Atticus and then by Gilmer.

In Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, many of the differences between the characters Atticus and Mr. Gilmer are shown when they question Tom Robinson in the court house. Much of Maycomb County gathers to see the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Atticus is defending Tom while Mr. Gilmer is trying to prove him guilty. After questioning Mayella, Atticus has the opportunity to question Tom Robinson so he can tell his side of the events on November 21st. “’Tom did you rape Mayella Ewell?’ ‘I did not, suh.’ ‘Did you harm her in any way?’ ‘I did not, suh.’ ‘ Did you resist her advances?’ ‘ Mr. Finch, I tried.’ (page 260)” In this dialogue, Atticus calls him by his first name, Tom. He adresses him in a very similar manner to the way he addresses Mayella, and his politeness shows how much he respects him, almost as a friend. In addition, he asks the same type of question many times, which shows that he isn’t jumping to any conclusions, he just wants Tom’s side of the story. Atticus is polite to him, and does not treat him differently even though he is a different race. However, Mr. Gilmer’s treatment of Tom Robinson is very different.

Mr. Gilmer questions him directly after Atticus and a clear difference in tone is set from the beginning of the questioning. “’Robinson, you’re pretty good at busting up a chiffarobes and kindling with one hand aren’t you?’ ‘Yes, suh, I reckon so.’ ‘strong enough to choke the breath out of a woman and sling her to the floor?’ (page 263)” Mr. Gilmer addresses Tom by his last name which automatically sends the message of casualness and in this case disrespect. He refers to Mayella as Miss. Ewell through out the interview but does not give Tom that little bit of courtesy from the beginning. In addition, right after Tom answers a fact based question he jumps to the worst possible conclusion. The passes shows Mr. Gilmer speaking to Tom in a manner that is obviously confusing and very overbearing. Mr. Gilmer and Atticus have two very different ways of addressing Tom Robinson, that have to do not only with the fact they are on different sides of the trial, but also with the fact he is not white.

How big a role does race play in Mr. Gilmer and Atticus' treatment of Tom Robbinson?

How do you think Tom feels about Mayella? Look for examples to back up your ideas in the text.

What does Tom Robinson suggest happened the day of the rape? Do you think the jury will believe his version of events? Explain why you think this.

In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Atticus only chooses one witness take the stand in Tom Robinson's defense, that being Tom Robinson. When he goes to the stand he tells the story of how for around a year he had been doing odd chores for Mayella in return for nothing, but out of the goodness of his heart. He says that on the night when he supposedly raped Mayella that she said she had something to do for him in the house. According to Tom Robinson he said that when he went on a chair that she grabbed him by the waist and tried to have sex with him. He says that he attempted to run away without hitting her or harming her. I believe that the jury will not believe his version of the events due to the fact that he is black and that even though Mr. Ewell is considered trash, blacks are even more trashy.. Through out the book there is evidence of the towns deep seeded racism and evidence that they will not believe him is on page 216 when Jem says "but around here once you have a drop of negro blood, that makes you all black." This is what is an issue with the town of Maycomb. No matter what, if your black, peoples view on you changes, and the fact that a drop of black blood chagnes who you are is evidence. When he says that makes you all black, it means that if your black then you are viewed different.

While Robinson is completely innocent, he is not taken seriously, because his actions are not that of an innocent man, but an innocent black man. Whites in the town of Maycomb can't see some logic because they can't see the same bias blacks see. If, say, Atticus was found at the same scene he would have his story heard to be told. Atticus also would have pushed or shoved Mayella off of him because thats not considered such a crime. evidence of the fact that Robinson was put in an impossible situation is on pages 260-261. "He would not have dared strike a white woman under any circumstances and expect to live long, so he took the first opportunity to run-a sure sign of guilt." This shows how whites are unable to see through the eyes of a black man or woman. He refused to fight back because he realized the result of what would happen there, but Scout doesn't understand that if he had stayed he would have been tried in the same way because no black man can trust the courts. I don't believe that the jury will believe Tom Robinson because you can see that Scout, as a white, as a non-racist white, can't see the view point of Robinson, so how could a racist grown up see his point that if he didn't run he would be screwed the same way, or worse.

So I leave the question that if a white man, such as Mr. Underwood, was in the same situation that happened with Mayella, how would the result be different at this point, or differ at all?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

chapter 16-17: What evidence of stereo types was found in the chapters? How does it relate to the court case?

In the book To Kill A Mockingbird Heather Lee uses the concept of stereo-types to show how the small town of Maycomb groups its citizens based on race, gender, and class. She proves how the rumors that go around the town can turn into snap judgments as well as incorrect assumptions. Instead of telling the reader the towns distinct views on race she shows it by giving us examples of townsmen and the way Scout preserves them. The way that Scout describes the Ewells’ and Mr. Dolphus Raymond give us background information on how the town will react to the Tom Robinson court case.

Scout describes the Ewells’ and their home as diseased and like the house of an insane child. “The Ewells lived as guests of the country in prosperity as well as in the depths of the depression. No truant officers could keep their numerous offspring in school; no public health officer could free them from congenital defects, various worms, and the diseased indigenous of filthy surroundings.”(page 227) She is making this family out to be a poor, illiterate, filthy, southern family. The Ewells don’t care about others opinions of them and they seem not to care about the economic and physical safety of their many children. This family represents the lower class in the south. The family who doesn’t care about protection and community. It says in the book that they live behind the town garbage dump in what was once a black cabin. The Ewells don’t care how their “contribution” to the town of Maycomb affects others. In the case Mr. Ewells skills of deduction and reasoning are very limited and when asked if he was ambidextrous he answers “absolutely not I can use one hand as good as the other” (page 238) which leads to the conclusion that he has lied about being literate, giving Atticus and advantage in the court case.

Mr. Dolphus Raymond represents the man of the town who goes against the grain. He is told out to be a drunken man who fools around with black woman. In one sense you could say he is unifying the town by bringing the two races together into one family. Jem talks about his mixed race children and how you have to know who they are in order to tell that they are half white and half black. This type of family is out of the ordinary for this town and leads to many miss-heard rumors. Jem also says that having one drop of black blood is all it takes to be considered black. It shows how even at a young age the children are open to this idea of racism even if their own father does enforce it. After Mr. Dolphus marriage falls through because of his fooling around his status in the town is changed immediately. It shows how quick the town is to judge.

Mr. Dolphus Raymond’s children are said to not fit in anywhere, to be outcasts. Do you agree with this or do you think that they better fit in with a specific group in Maycomb?

What are other examples of stereo types and how are they perceived in the town?

Chapters 16-17: What does the courthouse and the people in it symbolize?

In Chapter 16 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem, Dill and Scout wish to watch Atticus’ court case, so they sneak into the courthouse with the white crowd. Harper Lee describes Maycomb’s courthouse as “a faintly reminiscent of Arlington in one respect…. A view indicating a people determined to preserve every physical scrap of the past.” (217) The courthouse’s appearance clashes with a few different styles, like how the court cases held inside are two opposing sides against each other. The pillars and the clock show how the town is still clinging to the past and traditions, and Atticus supporting Tom Robinson is the early Victorian and Greek constructions that collide with the town. The courthouse is one of the places where almost everyone in town goes to; it’s one of the roots to the community and brings the people to one place. Its appearance is like the different opinions that collide during court cases, all mixed together to create one society.

The people working in the courthouse seem foreign to Scout, who says they’re “cool dim hutches that smelled of decaying record books….. they seemed untouched by wind or sun.” (217) The courthouse presents an entire new setting for Scout and shows that she doesn’t understand much of the adult world. The workers in the courthouse symbolize the monotonous day to day life of an adult, and how being an adult deprives them from adventures children can have. The carefree life of a child is completely abandoned when an adult, and the employees show how stressful and laborious an adult’s life is. However, adults experience some happiness in their lives or else they’d burn out quickly. The men Scout saw at the courthouse showed her a specific group of people who are confined to an office all day; so long that they’re in a different, isolated world apart from hers. This is one of the most powerful images Scout is exposed to so far that brings her closer to the adult world and to that of reality.

Question: How does the courthouse and Boo Radley’s house compare/contrast?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chapter 14-15: What does Dill reveal about the way that a child's relationship with their parents should be like?

In chapter fourteen Dill reveals the way that a child's relationship should be like with their parents. He explains how his life with his parents in Meridian is not the way that he wanted it to be. In this chapter Dill runs away from his family in Meridian. He travels a long journey back to Maycomb and ends up in the Finch's house. Dill explains his reasons for leaving his family and says "... they do get on a lot better without me, I can't help them any. They ain't mean. They buy me everything I want but its now-you've-got-it-go-play-with-it. You've got a roomfull of things. I-got-you-that-book-so-go-read-it (page 191)."
This passage explains Dill's thoughts about a childs relationship with their parents. Dill explains that his parents aren't particularly mean to him but that he doesn't feel that they need him. In Dill's mind it is important that his parents "need" him as much as he needs them. He doesn't feel the love and compassion that he expects from his family, therefore he leaves them.
In this part of the book Harper Lee makes a connection with Dill's parents to Scout and Jem's parents. By showing the lack of compassion that Dill feels with his parents, it reveals the love that Atticus has with Scout and Jem even though he is different from the ideal father figure. Looking at the bigger picture, Harper Lee shows that to be a good parent it is nescessary to show your love for your child through your interest and longing for them, not by giving them the physical things they may want.

1. How does Atticus show his love for his children?
2. How is Atticus different from the ideal father figure?
3. Was it right for Dill to leave his family?

Chapter 14 and 15: What is it that caused a mob to form? To disperse? Why do people do things while part of a mob they would not do on their own?

A mob forms when there is a common goal among people to rally against. Mobs are usually violent and opposing authority. Meaning, that they are doing something against the law, or something that is usually frowned upon. A mob disperses when the common goal has been accomplished or when the group does not agree on something. Also as seen in To Kill A Mockingbird, when somebody shows another side to the story and they change their minds. When people are part of a mob they do things that they would not normally do alone. This is because, they are not alone, they are supported by others and pressured to do what they think everyone is going to do. Also usually a mob has a leader and they call the shots, so if the leader tells someone to do something, usually they will "go with the flow" and follow through. They do this because they are afraid that if they do not then the mob's "wrath" will be brought against them.
In To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee introduces a mob into the world of Maycomb. This is unprecedented and unthinkable. When Jem and Scout stumble across it on a quest to find Atticus they are confused. Scout tries to talk to the men not realizing their full intention. At first there was no response. "Mr. Cunningham displayed no interest in his son," (205) later, however Scout gets through, '"I'll tell him you say hey, little lady" he said. Then he straightened up and waved a big paw. "Let's clear out," he called, "let's get going boys."'(206). The mob was formed because of a common goal, Tom Robinson. Their goal was to kill Tom because they thought he raped the Ewell's daughter, or they didn't want the 'truth exposed.' Usually no one would do a thing like that but the mob was overwhelmed with people so they decided they would. The mob was dispersed because of Scout, and what she said.


  1. What did Scout say exactly that changed the mob's mind? Why did it?

  2. If Scout had not said anything what do you think would have happened?

  3. Why was Atticus so taken aback at what Scout said?

  4. Why did Atticus ruffle Jem's hair at the end?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chapter 10: Did Atticus Have Good Intentions?

In Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mocking Bird, the father of the two protagonists, Atticus Finch, is introduced as a quiet lawyer who does not do much of anything. Until chapter ten, we only knew that Atticus was a lawyer, read a lot, was civilized, and was very honorable and respectable. We did not know, however, that Atticus was an expert marksman, a fact that he also tried to hide from his children, Jem and Scout. After he had just killed a mad dog with one shot to the head, Miss Maudie, one of the Finch’s neighbors, was telling Jem and Scout this detail concerning their father that they were not aware of. “If your father’s anything, he’s civilized in his heart. Marksmanship’s a gift from God, a talent.... I think maybe he put his gun down when he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most living things. I guess he decided he wouldn’t shoot till he had to, and he had to today.” (ch.10, 130)

Throughout this novel, Atticus has shown values with which to raise his children with, such values as not cursing, not joining the methodists, and being respectful to other people. He bought his kids air rifles because they most likely wanted them, considering hunting was big in this town. He did not mention to Scout or Jem that he was an expert marksman, because wanted them to be independent. Atticus did not want his children to grow up shooting everything that moves, wanting be what they imagine was like their father. He wanted them to grow up as civilized people and make their own choices. Atticus chose not to tell Jem and Scout about his marksman skills, because he was trying to form his children into civilized people- he was being a father.

Do you think Atticus was right to do this? Did he have good intentions? Also, do you think this will influence Jem in Scout?

Chapters 10 and 11:

1.) Why do you think Atticus never let on that he was an expert marksman?

2.) Explain Atticus's definition of courage at the end of Chapter 11

(Both questions answered by the same analysis.)

Harper Lee takes a break from constant reminders of Boo and begins to flow through quick phases of Scout and Jem’s lives. Chapter 10 begins with a phase of Scout and Jem’s disappointment at having a father who they perceive as “feeble, “old” (pg. 118), not courageous, and less capable than the other fathers. To end this phase, Lee brings Tim Johnson into the picture. Tim is an old dog who goes mad with rabies and begins to wander up the street. Knowing the danger that Tim poses, the sheriff is called. Instead of shooting the dog himself though, the sheriff hands the gun over to Atticus. “It’s a one shot job,” (pg. 126) and with one shot Atticus reveals himself as the most capable and humble of all the fathers. As Miss Maudie later explains, “People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”(Pg. 130) Chapter eleven begins a new phase, one essential in the maturing of both children. Every day both children pass Mrs. Dubose (should be called Mrs. Verbose), one of the most ugly and infirm old women in the town. She does a brilliant job of insulting them and their father, so brilliant that Jem destroys her flowers in his anger. Atticus then makes Jem repay her by reading to her for a month. After Jem’s long hours of reading aloud everyday, she dies. Through Atticus and his experiences he learns the real meaning of courage.

“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. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety- eight pound of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.” (Pg 149) Atticus has no need to conform to society’s standards of bravery and courage. He knows that courage is not skill with a gun, or reckless pursuit of danger. Atticus sees that courage is persistence for one’s beliefs, especially if “you know you’re licked.” This is likely the precise reason he is following through the Tom Robinson case. Jem’s situation basically serves as a small foreshadow to Robinson and Atticus in court. It is also the same reason he has no pride in being able to shoot: it says nothing courageous about him, nothing about his identity except his ability to kill. In this circumstance just because it’s advantageous in school to have a dad who can shoot, doesn’t mean that it’s good for the kids. Atticus knows that, and wants to educate his children to act on just principles and follow through. To be courageous these principles don’t even have to be his. He told Jem that Mrs. Dubose “was the bravest person I ever knew” because “according to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. ” (Pg 149) Atticus defines courage as persistence to uphold your principles and hides his shooting abilities from his children because they are of no use in developing his children as courageous young people. But after all this don’t you guys think that Atticus seems too good to be true?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chapter 9: Where do Atticus' Views Come From?

Chapter 9 in "To Kill A Mockingbird," is started off with a potential fight between Jean Louise "Scout" Finch and Cecil Jacobs. The controversy that starts the fight is, "Is Scout's father (Atticus) a negro-defending lawyer or not?" Scout denies the fact quickly, but later that evening Atticus tells her that, "Of course (he) does." He then reprimands Scout for using the slang word for negro. After discovering that her father in fact does defend Negroes, Scout goes to school the next day and after a brief, heated argument with Cecil Jacobs, she walks away from what could have been a fist-fight. On page 102, it says, Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him.
These few pages can cause a lot of questions to arise, but one of the most interesting parts of this chapter (if not the book) is Atticus. Atticus is defending a black man in a deeply-southern state. It is clear that he knows that he doesn't have much chance because of this; on page 101, when Scout asks if Atticus will win the case he simply answers 'no'. Although his chances of winning the case are grim, Atticus is still going to defend him (Tom Robinson) "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win." (Page 101) There are many questions that can be drawn from this statement alone, but the following questions are the ones that I think require the most amount of thought.
1: Besides Atticus' statement on page 101, what other reasons do you think he has as motivation to defend Tom Robinson?
2: How will this case impact Scout's life? Your reasoning?
3: (Probably the deepest question) Atticus is a typical white male who lives in the south. The majority of people is gender and race have the same views of black people, but he doesn't. (It is clear whenever he chides scout for using the n***** word instead of 'Negro', page 100.) Since Atticus has probably grown up in the South his whole life, where do you think he gets his views from? How does he have such bright insight into the world that they are living in? Do you think that Atticus is trying to make his views seen as right with this case? Although he knows that he probably won't win the case, do you think this will stop him from trying his hardest to win anyways?
P.S I'm sorry I posted so late! ~Dominique Norgaisse

Chapters 8 and 9: How does Scout end up with a blanket across her shoulders? Why would Harper Lee include this moment in the book?

In chapter eight in To Kill A Mockingbird, there is a fire at Miss Maudie's house, and they all go and look to see what is happening. Atticus then tells Scout and Jem to wait near the Radley's house while he helps take out the furniture. When they get back home, Scout realizes that she is holding a blanket, and Atticus tells her that Boo Radley put it on her back. Harper Lee uses the blanket and other examples as a way to show glimpses of Boo Radley's true character and break the rumors that surround him.
The reader finds out who put the blanket over Scout's shoulders after Scout and Jem go home for some hot chocolate. Atticus is the one who notices, and says, "'Yes ma'am, blanket. It isn't ours.' I looked down and found myself clutching a brown woolen blanket I was wearing around my shoulders, squaw-fashion (pg. 95)." On the next page the reader discovers that Boo Radley was the one who put it on, when Atticus says, "'Thank who?' I asked. 'Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket around you.'' (pg. 96). This is different from the stereotypes that the people placed on Boo. It shows that Boo is actually a kind person, and is willing to look over the kids and take care of them. Before this incident, everyone else believed that Boo Radley crept around at night and looked in people's windows, attacked his parents, and etc. They also believed that everything around his house was deadly. Now, those beliefs are being changed, since the reader sees more of Boo Radley. This breaks the rumors that were placed on Boo Radley. It can be assumed that the reader also saw this kind side of Boo Radley when he sewed up the jeans for Jem in a previous chapter.
Harper Lee also included this moment so that the reader could see that Boo Radley had gotten out of the house for once in the story. Throughout the whole story it is believed that he goes out at night, but it is seen in chapter eight that he comes out of the house.
My questions for everyone are how do you think stereotypes are created? And adding on to that, how do you think the rumors for Boo Radley were created? Also, Do you think Scout and Jem are going to encounter Boo Radley again? If so, what do you think she would do?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chapters 6 and 7: Explain Jem's statement: "When I went back they were folded across the they were expectin' me."

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Scout, Jem and Dill go on an "adventure" into the Radley's yard on the last night Dill is with them. Their simple plan to peek into a window and see Boo quickly turns into a living nightmare for all of them. Mr. Radley, not Boo, sees them and as they sprint away a shot is fired towards Scout. Jem had a hard time getting under the fence into the yard and is forced to remove his pants in order to get out. When Jem goes back to retrieve his trousers from under the fence that same night, he tells Scout that "'When I went back they were folded across the they were expectin' me." From what Harper Lee shows us of Mr. Nathan Radley through the children's eyes, he is a somewhat preserved fellow who does not like to talk much. Since "Mr. Nathan Radley was standing inside his gate, a shotgun broken across his arm." (Pg. 72), one can assume that Mr. Nathan Radley was the one who shot at Scout and the others during their escape. From all these aspects one can characterize Mr. Nathan Radley as someone who would probably not be sewing an intruders pants back up and leaving them folded on the fence.

Since Mr. Nathan Radley was the only one who saw movement out in his collard patch, he is the only one who might know about Jem's trousers. No one else in Maycomb saw the three young children, and no one would dare go behind the Radley's place to investigate. So if Mr. Nathan Radley is not the one who is out there sewing up trousers, someone else in the Radley place had to have noticed them under the fence. The only other Radley resident living in that house is Boo Radley. So far in the novel we get the sense that Boo Radley is a man living in solitude, someone who act like a monster, creeping around town eating small animals. We can now assume that Boo Radley was a possible person to have sewn Jem's trousers together and leave them neatly on the fence. To Jem and Scout this is a very scary and creepy sounding thing to them. Possibly to Boo Radley he may be worried about Jem and Scout and doesn't want them to get in trouble. That's why Jem's trousers seemed to be "expectin' him."

Although Boo may just be trying to help, you can easily tell Jem is not too happy to think that someone over at the Radley place could be reading his mind. The leaving of the trousers may also remind one of the little trinkets left in the tree near the Radley place. If these trinkets are looked at in the same sense as the trousers, one might be able to assume Boo has also been leaving them for Scout and Jem. After all, we get the sense Boo doesn't have many friends to interact with, so he is probably excited to have this anonymous interaction with anyone.

Here are my questions for you: Who do you think left Jem's trousers and Why? Do you think Jem should listen to Scout, and stop any thinking about the Radley's? If he does stop "interaction" with possibly Boo, will it only affect Jem and Scout?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chapter 6: What Does Scout Mean By, "it was then that Jem and I first began to part company?"

In Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout and Jems relationship is a rocky one at best. There are times when they are the best of friends, and other times when they are butting heads. Scout is a spunky young girl, while Jem is a more centered, focused male teen. The way the two interact varies greatly.

When Scout says, "It was then that Jem and I first began to part company," she is referencing the difference in philosophies between the two. As was said, Scout and Jem are very different people, and their differences show throughout the chapters. On page sixty nine, when Jem says to Scout, "Scout, I'm telling you or the last time, shut your trap or go home - I declare to the Lord that you're gettin' more like a girl every day," it really shows to the reader Scout and Jem growing farther apart. When Jem says to Scout that she is becoming a girl more and more every day, it's showing that Scout is becoming more like a girl, and Jem is becoming more like a boy. They're growing apart constantly.

The age difference between Scout and Jem is another prime reason for their growing apart. Scout is younger then Jem, so their outlooks on life are different. Jem is seeing things through a more adult set of eyes, while Scout is still seeing things through the eyes of a kid. They see things differently, and that causes major clashes.

Scout is finally realizing that she and her brother are growing apart for numerous reasons. Here are my questions for all of you:
Do you agree that Scout and Jem are growing farther apart?
Is this Jem's fault, Scout's, or is growing apart just inevitable for the two of them?
Do you think that Scout is becoming more like a girl? If so, give examples of it.
Do you see clashes between Scout and Jem because of the age difference?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chapter Four: What is Scout's relationship with Calpurnia. Can we trust Scout's perspective on this issue?

In To Kill a Mockingbird the relationship between Scout and Calpurnia is a moody and consistently changing one. Scout's opinion of Calpurnia changes depending on what type of "mother" she is being to her. In this case, Calpurnia is a mother figure to her. When she lays down the law and punishes her, Scout hates her and thinks that Calpurnia likes Jem better. When she is making crackling bread and serving lemonade, Scout wouldn't have anyone else in the entire world. An example of her being mad is when Scout thinks to herself after Calpurnia makes her eat in the kitchen alone. "I told Calpurnia to just wait, I'd fix her: one of these days when she wasn't looking I'd go off and drown myself in Barker's Eddy and then she'd be sorry" (page 33). This is when Scout hates her. On page 38, when Calpurnia makes Crackling bread. "Both of us at school today had been and easy one for her. She knew I loved cracklnig bread." This shows that in any case the two know each other so well. At this point Scout sees how Calpurnia cares about her and how she cares about her.

In To Kill a Mockingbord you cant not trust how Scout views Calpurnia. While the relationship does show how the two interact, The problem is that while Scout is so moody you can't really get a good view. She never looks non-bias at Calpurnia. Following that is the fact that Scout is young, so she doesn't really understand what is going around her all the time. While she may know that Calpurnia is mad, she doesn't see the reasoning behind her being mad. Scout is opinionated and strong in her opinions, so knowing that she isn't able to see through another
set of eyes.

Does Calpurnia think of Jem better than Scout? Does Scout truly ever love Calpurnia or does she simply and truly not like her? Should Atticus step in and help Calpurnia in building the relationship between Scout and Calpurnia? If so how and why? Should Scout at her age understand what Calpurnia can do for her, or should she be able to simply be oblivious at her age?

Chapter 3: What does it mean that "Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets?"

Atticus Finch has high moral standards and believes in treating all humans with generosity and respect not just his family members. After the first day of school, Scout and Jem bring Walter Cunningham to their house for dinner. Although Atticus did not expect a guest, he welcomes Walter into his home and engages him in a conversation about farming. "Atticus greeted Walter and began a discussion about crops neither Jem nor I could follow. (page 31)”... This passage shows that Atticus is generous because he thinks nothing of serving a meal to a child he knows is not well fed at home. He is also kind and respectful because he talks about something that the child can relate to. Although crops may not be something Atticus is deeply interested in, he knows that the child will feel more comfortable with a relatable conversation topic.

Atticus shows that he believes in being respectful and kind to everyone when Scout comments on the amount of molasses that Walter puts on his food. “He would probably have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing. The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head. Atticus shook his head at me again. (pages 32)" Atticus immediately tells that Walter feels bad and embarrassed. He prevents Walter from feeling bad again by making sure Scout doesn’t say anything more. This shows that he genuinely cares about the way his daughter treats a stranger and wants makes sure nobody feels uncomfortable not just his own children.

Do you think Atticus was right to say something to Scout even though she obviously didn’t mean to make Walter feel bad? If so do you think that Atticus should have done the disciplining himself as opposed to having Cal dicipline to Scout? If you were Atticus and that was the last of your Molasses, and you couldn’t afford more, would you tell Walter to stop?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why does Scout get in trouble with Miss Caroline? What does this reveal about Scout's character? Miss Caroline's?

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, a spunky and tough six year old, gets into a small argument with her new first grade teacher, Miss Caroline. This happens multiple times throughout the school day. In the beginning of chapter two Miss Caroline discovers that Scout can read. Miss Caroline makes the accusation that Scouts father has taught her to read, although Scout claims he did not. “ If he didn’t teach you, who did?” Miss Caroline ask good naturedly. “Somebody did. You weren’t born reading The Mobile Register” (page 22.) Should the innocent six year old be blamed for learning to read? Scout is afraid that she will loose the ability to read by not being able to read in class. IS that a crime, wanting to learn more? It shows that she is persistent. Miss Caroline however is stuck in her old fashion ways. She is trying to teach the children to learn and read in a new way, a way that the children have never heard of.

Later on in the book Scout tries to explain family situations of students to Miss Caroline. Miss Caroline becomes frustrated by Scouts constant outbreaks, although Scout was just trying to help. The punishment that Miss Caroline gives is cruel and shows once again that she is old fashion and believes that children are “to be seen but not heard”. Scout is just trying to help Miss Caroline but in doing this Miss Caroline thinks she is trying to be sassy and sounds smart in front of the other students. Scout also may come off a little harsh, or not the stereo typical girl because of her personality, which may have lead to Miss Caroline making a snap judgment about her. Is it a crime that Scout is trying to help Miss Caroline out on her first day in this closely nit town? If you were in Scouts shoes would you have stood up for yourself in the same way? Is Miss Caroline intolerant just because she isn’t aware of the students’ personal lives yet? Was the problem resolved or will it be a constant issue throughout the novel?

Chapter 3: What solution does Atticus propose for Scout's problems at school? What does this reveal about Atticus's character?

In Chapter 3 of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is unwilling to further attend school because of Ms. Caroline’s request. She orders Scout to cease her reading with Atticus, which Scout finds both unreasonable and impossible due to her love of reading. She confronts Atticus about her reluctance to continue school, but Atticus immediately rejects the idea of dropping out. Instead, he forms a compromise with Scout. “If you’ll concede the necessity of going to school, we’ll go on reading every night just as we always have.” (41) Scout agrees to Atticus’ proposal of continuing school in order to read every night. She’s about to leave, when he adds, “By the way, Scout, you’d better not say anything at school…by the more learned authorities.” (42) This shows that Atticus, a man of the law, is able to sympathize and support his daughter even if it means breaking school rules. It’s shown that he wants the best education obtainable for Scout, and that he will not allow a teacher’s irrational demand interfere with her future. Atticus may not have gone to school himself, but he understands the system well enough to know what should be said and what’s better kept secret. He has his own judgment of morality, and knows that if his conduct with Scout is discovered, it would be “received with considerable disapprobation.” However, he is willing to take a risk for the benefit of Scout’s education.

Before this chapter, Atticus is viewed as a distant but caring father; one who was usually away from home but reads to Jem and Scout as often as he could. He is a lawyer, and living in a town where most of the people farm, he gains a more sophisticated, formal characteristic. He’s also seen as an honest, law-abiding man who disapproves of those that break the law. Conversely, his personality alters when he says, “…you’d better not say anything at school about our agreement.” In this quote, the reader realizes that when Atticus believes something is unjust, he will support his own belief no matter what may oppose him. He develops sense of independence, and because of this he gains a sense of respect. But in making his decision, Atticus is challenging Ms. Caroline’s authority. Furthermore, he and Scout are ignoring her request in secret, which if discovered would be disastrous. Is the risk Atticus and Scout taking worth the benefit, or should they not follow through with their compromise? Is the compromise they made morally correct? Should Atticus be teaching Scout how to bend the rules, or is what he doing poisoning her judgment of right versus wrong? If you were put in this position, would you go through with this compromise as Scout has, or would you not?