Scout, remembers the summer that her brother Jem broke his arm,
and she looks back over the years to provide information for the reader on how
past experiences. Scout describes the town of Maycomb Alabama and how life runs
throughout the town, including her widowed father Atticus Finch, attorney and
state legislator; Calpurnia, their African American cook and housekeeper.
Throughout the chapter it blindly describes how the town is racist, and
everyone has their role.
In chapter two it starts of in the beginning of September just as
dill leaves the town of Maycomb on where he returns to Meridian. In which scout
has to know prepare for the next week to start school for her first time
seeming very anxious to start. At school she is introduced to a new character
named Walter Cunningham who comes from a deprived family, in which he shows
traits of shyness. Walter and his family are so un-wealthy that they eat raw
animals. For example for lunch Walter had bait worms in which he had showed up
with no shoes that day also. Therefore the teacher Mrs. Caroline gives him a
quarter and says he can pay her back sometime, but is unable to pick up on his
situation. Therefore Scout tries to explain but Mrs. Caroline doesn’t seem to
understand so she slaps scouts hand with a ruler
After being punished for trying to stick up for Walter, Scout
retaliates at lunch by shoving his nose into the dirt as Jem happens to come
across them and intervenes and goes on to invite Walter Cunningham to their
home to have lunch with them. At the table Walter portrays himself to be a very
proper gentleman in which he discusses his views on another girl who seems to
be even less wealthier than himself in
which he goes on to explain the incident that had occurred when she had made
Mrs. Caroline come to tears. Atticus shared his views on how different people
are treated differently and less is expected from them and the children are yet
this chapter it starts of to Scout walking home from school and stumbling upon
a knothole in one of the Radley’s Oak tree’s which she finds two pieces of gum.
Jem about it. In fear of his sister’s
health he forces her to spit it out. On the last day of school, they find two
old pennies hidden in the same knothole where Scout found the gum and decide to keep them. As summer
comes Dill returns and Jem and Scout can now return to their games that they
had begun last summer.
With the return of summer
also comes Dill’s return. Just like the summers before the three children act
out scenes from their favorite child stories. Bored with stories, they decide to
roll each other down the street in old tires. Once it is Scout’s turn she
crashes into the Radley yard. After panicking, Scout returns safely to her own
home. However, this accident leads to the beginning for their next game. Dill suggests
they play “Boo Radley,” acting out Boo’s life like some sort of drama.
Atticus catches them at one point and, when asked, Jem tells Atticus the game
has nothing to do with Boo Radley.
The summer continues on. When
Scout begins to feel left out by Jem and Dill, she starts to spend considerable
time with a neighbor, Miss Maudie Atkinson. Scout asks Miss Maudie about Boo.
Miss Maudie tells her that Boo was always a friendly child, but that he grew up
with a harsh father. However, Miss Maudie asserts that most of the rumors about
Boo are untrue, although she thinks he might have gone crazy from being trapped
in that house.
The next school year starts for Jem and Scout. Curiously
enough, Jem tells his sister that, when he went back for the pants the night
they tried to spy on Boo, they were neatly hanging over the fence and the hole
in them had been mended. Scout continues to be unfocused with school, but
Jem promises her that it will get better every year. Later in the school year,
Jem and Scout find another oddity in the knothole of the oak tree. They are two
figurines carved out of soap who looking suspiciously like Jem and Scout.
Several other items appear in the tree over the next few days, including more
chewing gum, a spelling bee metal, and an old watch. Eventually, however, Jem
and Scout find one day that the knothole has been filled with cement. Nathan
Radley explains to Jem and Scout that he filled it because the tree was dying.
Both Jem and Scout are upset by this.
Maycomb receives some unexpected snowfall. It leaves the town
questioned because the area typically does not receive snow. Scout and Jem
decide to make a snowman. That night, Atticus wakes up Scout because Miss
Maudie’s house is on fire. Atticus takes Scout and Jem outside. Some of the
neighbors help carry out some of her belongings out of the house as it burns.
Fire trucks arrive after that; unfortunately, they are unable to stop her house
from burning down, but they do prevent other houses nearby from catching fire
Scout almost beats up a classmate-Cecil Jacobs’- who tells
her that her father “defends niggers.” This term is used throughout
the novel to show what historical era scout and Jem lived in. When Scout hears
Cecil’s remarks, she is infuriated, probably more at the implication that
Atticus is somehow inferior than actually anything race-related. In fact, when
Scout tells Atticus about what happened, he makes a point to tell her not to
use the word nigger.
Uncle Jack teaches
Jem and Scout to shoot their air rifles. Atticus tells Jem that he should never shoot mockingbirds because “it is a sin to shoot a
mockingbird,” saying that they are innocent birds who only sing and never
hurt anyone. I believe this is where the title is based and related to, and it
is a metaphor for never harming a person or thing that is innocent. Maybe
referring to Boo Radley as the mocking bird.
In this section, Jem and Scout receive insults about Atticus
from a grumpy woman-Mrs. Dubose- whose house they pass every day. In retaliation,
Jem destroys the camellia bushes outside Mrs. Dubose’ house. As punishment, Jem
has to go to Mrs. Dubose’s house every afternoon and read to her. A few weeks
after Jem’s punishment ends, Mrs. Dubose passes away. Atticus says that Mrs.
Dubose was addicted to morphine, but that she wanted to die on her own terms.
With the help of the children, she was able to give up her addiction before her
Jem has turned twelve years old, and he continues to grow
farther apart from Scout. He continually tells Scout to act like a girl, which,
only offends her. Scout begins to look forward to Dill’s return that summer;
however, she is disappointed when she receives a letter from him saying that
his mother has remarried and he will be staying with his family in Meridian
that summer instead. Instead they spend their days with Calpurnia who takes
them to church with her. Introducing the kids to the black side of Maycomb.
Scout and Jem begin to notice that where they go about town,
people seem to be whispering about them, Curious about the trial. Scout asks if
she can go with Calpurnia again to church, and Aunt Alexandra is outraged. That
night, Alexandra tries to talk Atticus into firing Calpurnia, but does not faze
his decision. Scout is angry at him for not taking her side and fights him.
They were all sent to their room and when scout goes into her room sees
something under her bed, to find out it was Dill who was unhappy with his new
Several days after
Dill’s appearance, a group of men shows up at Atticus’ house-including the
sheriff- with news that Tom Robinson is being transferred to another jail. They
are worried that a group of people intent on lynching Tom Robinson may
intercept his transfer. Following that they arrive to the jail to find Atticus
outside reading a paper.
A group of unknown cars show up, it happens to be the lynch Mob. One of the men tells
Atticus that he needs to make his children leave, and he obviously means this
as a threat. After this, they hear a voice nearby and Mr. Underwood, the
owner of the newspaper, appears with a shotgun, telling Atticus that he had his
back. Atticus then takes Scout and the other children home. Atticus goes to
jail for with the intention of protecting Tom Robison from the mob, leaving the
children puzzled and concerned for Atticus.
Opens with the start of Tom Robinson’s trial. Almost
everyone in the town seems to have shown up to see it. After a lunch break,
Jem, Scout, and Dill attempt to sneak into the courtroom. Scout overhears
someone saying that Atticus was actually appointed as Tom Robinson’s lawyer,
and she wonders why Atticus hadn’t told her this.
This Chapter starts of the trial and the people who spoke on
their behalf of the case. The first person to take the stand is Heck Tate, the
town sheriff. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor, questions him first. Guided by Mr.
Gilmer’s questions, Tate recalls how Bob Ewell came to him on November 21st and
asked him to come to his home. Upon arriving at the Ewell home, he found that
Bob Ewell’s daughter Mayella Ewell-had been badly beaten. Heck Tate asked who
beat her, and Mayella asserted that it was Tom Robinson. She claimed, also,
that he raped her. Tate retrieved Tom Robinson, brought him to Mayella, and she
The trial continues, and Mayella Ewell is called to the
stand. Scout notes that, for a Ewell, she is a relatively clean and well-kempt
individual. However, she does look terrified, she is the oldest of eight
children. In this chapter they each give their take on what occurred and how
they were affected.
As the trial progresses, it seems that Atticus has an
airtight defense for Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson himself is a likeable and
trustworthy character. Despite the fact that Mayella has doomed him a likely
terrible sentence, he does not criticize her.
At the beginning of this chapter, Scout and Dill talk to Mr.
Dolphus Raymond, whom they have bumped into outside the courtroom. Mr. Raymond
has been drinking something out of a paper sack, and he offers some to Dill.
Scout warns him to be careful because she suspects its alcohol but, as it turns
out, it’s only Coca-Cola. He explains as to why he prefers a black woman
and the black community in general. In part, it seems that he is telling Dill
this because he knows the children can sympathize with him.
However, Mr. Raymond’s action here might also might be
considered something of a cop-out. He gets along well with the black
community-even better than he gets along with the white community-but his
actions are passive. To avoid conflict, he takes on a dishonest saying rather
than speaking up or speaking out against injustice. He believes Maycomb is a
town of racism and that there is no escaping it.
Atticus and his family head home, and Jem cries that night
over the loss of the case and the clear injustice shown to Tom Robinson.
However, the next day Atticus tells his children that the case isn’t over yet
because they can still appeal the decision. Meanwhile, the black community rallies
around Atticus, showing their support by sending endless amounts of food to his
Atticus is largely unconcerned about the actions of Bob
Ewell, though Aunt Alexandra is concerned. He tells his children, also, that
Tom Robinson has been transferred to another jail and that he stands a good
chance of being pardoned if his case makes its way through the appeal system.
If the case is not appealed, however, Tom Robinson will likely be sent to the
electric chair. After Atticus explains to the kids that any white man has a
advantage over any black man in the court of law.
This Chapter starts off with Aunt Alexandra invites over the
women from her missionary circle to have tea with her. Scout, bored because Jem
and Dill have gone to swim, so she joins her. Scout actually wears a dress and
helps Calpurnia bring in the tea. The women gossip for a time, talking in
particular about Mayella Ewell and how their black servants have been acting
angry since the trial. Later on in the chapter Atticus comes to home to leak
the news that Tom Robinson tried to
escape from prison and, as a result, was shot seventeen times. Atticus asks
Calpurnia to come with him to break the news to Tom’s wife.
Now September. Sitting on the porch, Scout almost squashes a
roly-poly. Jem stops her at the last minute, telling her to leave it alone
because the bug has never done her any harm. Clearly, this is an echo of
Atticus’s earlier comment about not harming a mockingbird for the same reason.
This is surely a sign of Jem’s increasing maturity. The drama of Tom’s death
did not hold long in the minds of the people of Maycomb.
Soon enough, school
begins once again for Jem and Scout. As usual, each day on their way to school
they pass the Radley house. However, unlike with school years past, they aren’t
afraid of or mystified by the house. Things are not much better for Jem and
Scout at school, however. Scout notices that many of her classmates share the same
racist attitude as their parents.
Bob Ewell reemerges, seeming intent on making trouble for
anyone connected with the trial. He shows up at Judge Taylor’s house, and the
judge sees a shadow creeping away. Bob Ewell also begins following Tom’s wife,
Helen, saying obscenities to her at a distance. Ewell even blames Atticus for a
recently lost job. Atticus doesn’t think that Bob will do any real harm;
however, Aunt Alexandra is concerned about Ewell’s behavior.
Chapter 28 begins with Scout and Jem’s walk to
the pageant at school. On the way, Scout’s classmate, Cecil Jacobs, jumps out
of the darkness and scares them. When they arrive, Scout and Cecil wander the
school, eating snacks and going through the haunted house. Just as the pageant
is about to start, Scout falls asleep in her costume. She wakes up, having
missed her queue to go on stage, so she runs out at the very end of the
pageant. Many people in the crowd laugh, but the teacher in charge of the
pageant accuses Scout of ruining the whole thing. Scout is embarrassed and
Scout tells everyone what happened. They examine her costume
and see a slash mark where Bob had tried to stab her. As she tells her story
and how Jem was carried home, Scout turns to the stranger in the room. She
realizes that this man is Boo Radley.
Scout is shocked to find she is looking at Boo Radley
after all these years of mystery. They all move to the porch to discuss what
happened, and Heck Tate insists that Ewell fell on his own knife. Atticus,
believing that Jem stabbed Ewell, will not allow Tate to cover up what
happened. Heck knows that Boo was the one who killed Bob
because he was trying to protect the children, and he insists on telling
everyone that Bob fell on his knife.
In the final chapter of the novel, Scout takes Boo home, admitting that
she never saw him again after that point. She reflects on Atticus’ earlier
commenting about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and she tries to see
things from Boo’s perspective. She returns home, then, and falls asleep as
Atticus reads to her