We get to learn a lot about the town of Maycomb. What role does the town play in the story? How would you describe its “personality”?
Atticus seems to have a lot of expectations to live up to, give some examples and analyse how these expectations influence him.
The trial is an important part of the novel. How does the trial affect the children and Atticus? What are their thoughts about the verdict?
Explain the title To Kill a Mockingbird. And say something about the real mockingbird in the story.
Scout is a typical tom-boy but others are trying to influence her to become a “proper girl”. Give some examples of this and try to analyse why these people are trying to change her ways.
Scout and Jem try to analyse and understand why people are treated so differently in society. What are their views on this subject?
The author Haper Lee has won the Pulitzer Prize, what is the Pulitzer Prize and why is it so famous?
1. “Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”
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This quote describes not only how the town itself was like but it also says how the people in it were like – Maycomb is a small town, all the people of Maycomb knows what goes on there, and there’s hardly ever any excitement. She describes it as being an aged, moist, tired and relaxed town where everyone knows each other’s business.
Some of the people in Maycomb seemed to be really mean ones, like Bob Ewells, he forced his oldest girl to testify in court against Tom Robinson. All Tom did was trying to help Mayella but I guess her father didn’t care about that.
Anyway, not everyone in Maycomb was like that, some people tried to defend Tom and some did the opposite. But I guess that they would’ve changed their minds if he wouldn’t have been convicted. I wouldn’t say that this town play any huge role in the story because this could’ve happened anywhere, however, the people in the story – that’s what matter’s really. Because the people makes the story – not the town. As I said before, this story could have been set up anywhere around the world, only if it had the same narrators.
2. Atticus Finch has indeed a lot of expectations to live up to, not only that his wife died when his youngest child (Jean Louise “Scout”) was about only a couple of years old (meaning that he’s the only parent in the family so he must do all the “family”-things alone), but he’s also acting as Macomb’s leading attorney. The main theme in the book is about a black man (Tom Robinson) who’s accused of raping a 20-year old white woman (Mayella). Atticus teaches his children and the community of Maycomb how to stand up for one’s beliefs by defending Tom Robinson in the court. Despite all the criticism that he gets from his neighbours, he devotes himself to his children. By criticism I mean all the things their neighbours were nagging on, for example scout’s and jem’s lack of discipline and how the way they were growing up. Atticus’ sister, Aunt Alexandra, later on moved into their house to help Atticus with his children, mostly trying to teach scout how to act like a grown-up woman, which she didn’t find quite handy at the age of 10 or so. I think all of the Maycomb society believes that Atticus’s having a hard job trying to defend people in the court and at the same time raising his children.
In my opinion, raising one’s children (without anyone else to help you – alone) and acting as a lawyer at the same time may sometimes not be as easy as scrambling an egg. I don’t know if any of these expectations influences how he acts when he’s at work or when he’s home. Atticus just seems to be the same “morally up-right” man every day.
“Miss Jean Louise?’
I looked around. They were all standing. All around us, and in the balcony on the opposite wall, the Negroes were getting to their feet. Reverend Sykes’s voice was as distant as Judge Taylor’s:
‘Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin’. “Page 211
I think this explains how deeply the people in the court respects Atticus due to how much he went into the case and how well he defended Tom overall. Atticus really wanted the truth to be known. At line 4, when Reverend asks Scout to stand up, she understands how much her father’s work means to not only Reverend but to all the others in the courtroom as well.
During the trial, the children are truly disappointed when the jury, which was made up of regular Maycomb-people, convicts the clearly innocent Tom Robinson basically because he is black and the complainant is a white woman. Tom begins to realise that there is true evil within the society of Maycomb, and this really shakes him to the core. Both Jem and Scout believed that all people were good, but after the trial they had to revaluate their understandings of human nature. This is about where both Jem and Scout realises how much the town of Maycomb is made out of pure racism. I would even say the main-theme of the book is racism. Even though Atticus lost the trial, he still believes that everyone in the courthouse has equal rights, and he knows that racism can be neutralized in court.
When the trial was over, Bob Ewell tried to kill Jem and Scout but Boo Radley saved them from getting shot.
4. In chapter 10, page 94 it says: “‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but makes music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’ “
On page 98 it says: “when he gave us our air-rifles, Atticus wouldn’t teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he said Atticus wasn’t interested in guns. Atticus said to Jem, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays if you want, if you can hit them, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. “
That was the only time I ever hear Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
“You’re father’s right, ” She said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.”
What the author wants to say is it’s a sin to harm innocent people, but it’s ok to harm people who are harming other people. The mockingbird in this book is obviously Tom Robinson, just because he was convicted of raping a white woman. At the trial Atticus really makes one understand that Tom Robinson wasn’t guilty at all. Still, he was convicted of raping a white woman.
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Atticus objected the sentence so Tom had to wait for another trial. The other trial never happened because Tom was killed by the guards in prison, they said he was trying to escape, but I’m sure they just killed because they were sure that he was guilty of raping that girl, and they didn’t want a rapist set lose in the streets a month after.
5. Mostly Aunt Alexandra is trying to make a woman out of Scout; she finds her acting more like a boy rather than a girl. Aunty Alexandra moved into their house because Scout had lost her mother, and Atticus had lost his wife, what aunty tried to do was to raise Scout like a girl rather than a boy, which she thought Atticus, was doing. An example of this is in the beginning of the book you get to know that Scout was pretty much of a fighter. She fought her classmate when he told her that her father (Atticus) was a nigger-lover because he was protecting a black man in court. She learned from her father and her neighbours that doing what is right isn’t always rewarded, but it’s the right thing to do and that protecting innocence is a large part of that.
Maudie Atkinson was also trying to help Atticus raising his children; she tried to help the children gain perspective on the proceedings surrounding the trial. Perhaps she did this because she wanted the children to learn what kind of town Maycomb was; white people hating black people – black people loving Atticus for what he did to Tom Robinson.
6. in the beginning of the novel Scout and Jem believes that all people are treated the same and that every single living body is good-hearted. Sadly, they were wrong. And then they realised that during Tom Robinson’s trial, as I’ve written in the previous questions; Tom wasn’t treated decently because he was black. Even though he was innocent he was sentenced to prison.
Scout understands how the society is like, but she doesn’t understand why it is so. She believes that everyone should have the same rights and be treated equally, no matter what family they are from, how rich they are or how poor they are, or what skin colour they are bound to. Somewhere in the book I think I read that Scout wanted to spend more time with Walther Cunningham, but Aunty decides that she can’t because a Finch shouldn’t hang out with a Cunningham, and of course Scout gets frustrated by this simply because she wants to be able to pick her own friends based on her description of what makes you a good human being (also known as morality).
At the end of the book, Scout and Jim are faced with true evil, as Bob Ewell tries to murder them. True righteousness, embodied in Boo Radley, rescues them. In this ending conflict among these opposing forces, righteousness wins.
7. The Pulitzer Price is an award made for journalists and writers. The Pulitzer price is so famous because it’s the largest literature price in the U.S. Each winner receives a certificate and a $10,000 cash award.
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