To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapters 1-5 #1. Our narrator is Scout, a girl who will grow from age 6 to almost 9 during the story. What do you suppose we, as the readers, should be aware of as we listen to Scout tell her story? Is a child a reliable or unreliable narrator? Defend your answer. Since Scout is a child, we should remember that shell have a limited view/understanding of the world around her. In some ways, children are more open and honest than adults. In other ways, though, they are not able to fully make sense of the troubling things they see and are more likely than adults to accept someones words without thinking critically

about those words. A childs view of the world is delightful and we will be charmed by Scout. We will, though, need to read between the lines in this book at times as Scout struggles to understand things that the more mature reader will already understand. Scout is an unreliable narrator, so the reader will need to do some work to determine that is and isnt true. Jems exaggeration of Boo Radleys appearance is a good example of this. Scout believes her older brother; we, however, should be more skeptical. Chapter 1 #2. Jem and Scout call their father by his first name, Atticus, instead of calling him Dad or Daddy. What does this tell you about their relationship?

The childrens mom has died and Atticus is a single father. Students will probably guess that Atticus is a straight-forward or even stern man. They might guess that the relationship between the children and their father is more business-like and less warm/fuzzy Chapter 1 #3. We know that the setting of this story will be Maycomb, Alabama, a sleepy Southern town thats a little rough around the edges. What is the time period of this story? Give evidence to support your conclusion about the time period of this novel. The novel is set in the early-to-mid 1930s, during the Great

Depression. Theres several pieces of evidence that students might cite, including the reference to F.D.R.s famous line, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, from his 1933 first inaugural address. Scout says, Maycomb County has recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself. Later, well know in ch. 21 that the trial of Tom Robinson takes place in 1935, when Scout is a little older than she is now. Chapter 1 #4. Dill, the childrens neighbor during the summer, is described as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies. What

does this mean? Dill is tiny for his age, hence the pocket. Hes so small you could tuck him in your pocket. Hes a Merlin, which is an allusion to the famous wizard/magician. Dill has a wonderful, inventive imagination. He loves stories and adventures. Its because of Dills personality and ideas that Jem and Scout will be pulled into the Boo Radley mystery part of this story. If it hadnt been for Dill, these events would not have unfolded in this way. Chapter 1 #5. Who are the Radleys? Describe their house and yard.

The Radleys are a family that live on the same block as Jem and Scout. The family is shrouded in mystery involving rumors about Arthur Boo Radley, the familys son who is hardly ever seen. The familys house was once white, but now is gray with age and neglect. The yard is unkempt. This is the creepy house on the block (seems like every neighborhood has one, no?) and the children fear it. Chapter 1 #6. Who were the Cunningham boys and what happened to them? Whats the irony here? The Cunninghams were rowdy troublemaking teens who were

arrested, along with Arthur Boo Radley. Boo was taken home and locked away from the world by his father. The Cunninghams, however, were sentenced to attend the states industrial school, sort of a juvenile hall of the 1930s. The irony is that the state school gave the boys an excellent education and one of them even went on to college to become an engineer. Boo, who wasnt even one of the ringleaders of the teen crew, was denied access to everything and still rots in that sad, broken house. Chapter 1 #7. According to Jem, how do you get a turtle to come out of its shell? In

what way might this idea be an apt parallel to get people to do what they dont want to do? Give an real-world example to support your answer. Jem says that if you light a match under a turtle, the creature will come out of its shell as it tries to move away from the flame. In life, people are sometimes fearful, but need a motivation to get moving. Examples from your students will vary. One example is of an obese man receiving an alarming medical report indicating that hes cutting his life short with his poor diet/inactivity. That doctors visit (and the fear it creates) might be the flame that gets the man moving. In a similar way, the government will make laws and impose taxes to create a pain point to motivate citizens to move onto a better path. High cigarette taxes, for example, might motivate some smokers to give up the habit.

Chapter 1 #8. Find a simile from this chapter and write down the sentence in which it appears. Yes, I want you to write down the full sentence. This one is my favorite: Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-oclock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum. Chapter 1 #1. Why does Scouts ability to read and write annoy her teacher, Miss Caroline?

The teacher is young and expected that she would be the one to teach the children in the proper way to read and write. She finds Scout annoying because the girls literacy has made her plans/methods useless. This is a brand-new teacher who is overwhelmed and upset when the class doesnt run the way she expected. Chapter 2 #2. Atticus says that country people, like the Cunninghams, were hit the hardest by the crash. To what is he referring? Why would country people be the ones to suffer the most? Hes referring to the 1929 Stock Market Crash. The poorest families

suffered the most at this time because they didnt have much to begin with; middle class families wouldve had a small cushion of savings to help weather the lean times. People like the Cunninghams would not have any cushion. Chapter 2 #3. Atticus says that country people, like the Cunninghams, were hit the hardest by the crash. To what is he referring? Atticus says that country people, like the Cunninghams, were hit the hardest by the crash. To what is he referring? Chapter 2

#4. Why does Jem not want Scout to acknowledge him at school? Is his behavior typical of an older brother? Jem is older and doesnt want his baby sister tagging along with him at school, cramping his style. Yes, this is a very typical of older siblings and his comment here makes the reader feel the siblings relationship is authentic? Chapter 2 #5. An entailment is an unusual legality that prohibits a piece of land from being sold. It was designed to protect a familys interest in a piece of land because it could only be passed down to a member of the same

family, never sold for profit. Jem describes an entailment as a condition of having your tail in a crack, and Atticus later says that Jems description is surprisingly accurate. How is this an apt description for the Cunningham family? This family has been on the same plot of land for generations, yet the land is unable to support the family any longer. The Cunninghams are stuck because they are so poor, yet their land cannot be sold to help the family survive. Cunninghams also dont borrow anything or accept handouts, so times during the Great Depression are especially lean for this particular family. They are stuck and in pain. Chapter 2

#6. What do you think of Miss Caroline Fisher as a teacher? Answers vary. Some of you will be just as irritated with her as Scout is, while others will feel sympathy for this young teacher who is clearly in over her head. Chapter 2 #1. Why does Walter Cunningham drench his lunch in molasses/syrup? Hes dirt poor and probably rarely, if ever, actually gets to eat any sweet syrup. Hes so excited to be in a house that has syrup available that he covers all of his food with the treat.

Chapter 3 #2 When Scout criticizes Walter Cunninghams eating habits, Calpurnia scolds Scout, smacks her on the bottom as she sends the girl out of the room, and then lectures her on proper manners, saying, Yo folks might be bettern the Cunninghams but it dont count for nothin the way youre disgracin em. What does Calpurnia mean here? Is she right? Scouts family has more money and belongs to the professional class, but those things dont show real class. The way we treat each other determines the real quality of people. Students answers will vary a bit on the second question, but Calpurnia is right. The richest family could be the trashiest, depending on how the family members behave. Real Housewives of

Anywhere, perhaps? Ones bank account doesnt show who he/she is as a person. Chapter 3 #3. In the tiff between Scout and Calpurnia, Atticus takes Calpurnias side. What does this show us? First, it shows us that Atticus does the right thing in supporting the right person. Hes a good dad and models the best way to treat people. Second, this shows us that Atticus, whose wife has died before the beginning of the novel, is dependent on Calpurnias domestic help. Without her, he wouldnt be able to raise his children well

Chapter 3 #4. Describe the way that Atticus treats Walter. What do you think of this? Atticus talks to Walter like hes a young man, not a little kid. He directs the conversation toward things that Walter knows/cares about; this shows that Atticus is kind and thinks about the other persons perspective. Walter might feel ill at ease coming to have a free lunch with Jem and Scout, but Atticus makes sure that he feels comfortable at the Finch table. We, of course, like this about Atticus. He models proper behavior for Scout, who still needs to learn the right way to treat a guest even if, of especially if, that person is from a different social class.

Chapter 3 #5. Atticus tells Scout that you never really understand a person until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. What does this mean? Give an example from your world to illustrate this idea. He means that we must look at a problem/issue from the other persons perspective to get a better idea of whats really happening and to find a solution. This ability to see something through the other persons eyes is a marker of maturity. Students answers to the second question will vary, but they usually talk about resolving conflicts with siblings, parents, or teachers once they view the problem from the other persons

perspective Chapter 3 #6. What is the compromise which Atticus suggests at the end of the chapter? He will keep reading with Scout in the evenings (itll be their secret) if she agrees to continue to go to school. Its not really a negotiation, but Atticus makes Scout feel like shes worked a good deal for herself. Chapter 3

#7. Who are the Ewells? How are they the same as the Cunninghams? How are they different? The Ewells are a large, poor family and a disgrace to the town. One of the Ewell children, Burris, arrives for school covered in filth and hosting head lice. This family is broke and has no class; young Burris even calls the new teacher a slut before he storms out of the classroom. The Ewells are similar to the Cunninghams in that none of them has much money. The Ewells, however, are different than the Cunninghams because they dont have any pride, either. The Ewell mother is dead and the father is a drunk. The children attend school only on the first day of the school year to appease the court officials, but then they essentially drop out of school for the rest of the year. In Maycombs social strata, the Ewells are far below the

Cunninghams in terms of respectibility. Chapter 3 #8. Why do Maycomb officials bend the rules for the Ewells? Is this the right thing to do? Atticus explains that some people cannot be changed, and Bob Ewell is one of those kinds of people. Hell always be a drunk and a neglectful parent. Its not worth the fight to keep the Ewell children in school, and Bob Ewell is allowed to illegally hunt because his children would starve otherwise. Atticus knows that sometimes the right thing is not the legal thing; he also understands the necessity of compromise.

Chapter 3 #1. What does Scout think of her schools new style of education? What does this failing show us about adults? She, of course, greatly dislikes the new methods and doesnt understand why they cant just learn the way Atticus learned. The Dewey Decimal System, which Jem has incorrectly named, is not effective. This shows us that adults dont always know what theyre doing. Sometimes, kids have a better grasp on how things should run. Later in the novel, Scout will view a similar brokeness in the adult justice system as we watch the unjust trial of Tom Robinson unfold.

Chapter 4 #2. Whats the first thing Scout finds in the knothole of the tree on the edge of the Radley property? Whats the second thing she finds? How many of each item was there? Significance of this? Who, do you suppose, put the items in the tree hole? First, she finds two sticks of Wrigleys Double-Mint gum. Later, she and Jem find a small jewelry box with two shiny pennies inside. Since there are two of each item (interesting, Scout chewed both the pieces of gum herself), it seems logical to the reader that one of each item was intended for Scout, the other for Jem. They are the only children who walk by the Radley property each day. Students usually understand that one of the

Radleys, perhaps Arthur/Boo, has left these gifts for the Finch children. Chapter 4 #3. Scout has two reasons for wanting to quit Jem and Dills Radley game. What are they? First, she knows that her father wont like them playing this game and theyll get in trouble. Second, she heard laughter coming from the house on the day that she accidentally rolled onto the Radley property when she was stuck inside the tire. She knows that the Radleys are aware of the children.

Chapter 4 #1. Describe Miss Maudie Atkinson. How typical is she of Maycombs women? What do the children think of her? Miss Maudie is one of Atticus neighbors and about 10 years younger than him (shes about the same age as Jack). She loves gardening and allows the children to run around her yard and eat her grapes, as long as they dont damage her flowers. When she bakes, she also makes three small cakes for Scout, Jem, and Dill. She is a Southern lady, but her ways are a bit contrary to the typical women of Maycomb. Miss Maudie would rather be outside in her garden than inside reading her Bible, and she is criticized by some for this. The children like Miss Maudie, but dont really spend much time with her. In this summer, though, Scout isnt invited

along with Jem and Dill all the time, so she starts spending part of her evening with Miss Maudie on her porch, watching the sun set. She says that Miss Maudie is the best lady I know. Chapter 5 #2. Miss Maudie says, sometimes the Bible in the hands of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand ofoh, of your father. Explain what she means. She means that some toxic men, like Boo Radleys father, can use the Bible, a good book, to justify doing terrible things, like locking up an errant son. She compares Mr. Radley to Atticus, a good man who couldnt do much damage even on his worst day.

Some men are good and will always do good, no matter what. Other men are damaged and will cause pain in the world, no matter what. Chapter 5 #3. What does Miss Maudie tell Scout about Boo? How does this compare with what Scout already believes? She explains that Arthur (she uses his real name instead of Boo) is alive and just prefers to stay inside. When Scout asks if Boo is crazy, Miss Maudie says that he might be and the craziness mightve been caused by staying inside for so long. Remember, she loves being outside and this line makes me

think of cabin fever/being stir crazy. Chapter 5 #4. Scout says that Dill Harris could tell the biggest lies she ever heard. Why might Dill have told such lies? Dill must have a troubled home life. He doesnt really know who his father is and his mother has to send him to live with his aunt every summer. To avoid embarrassment, Dill has started to lie about his fathers identity. In part, he does this to appear more interesting to his friends. He also, though, is probably sad that he doesnt have a strong male influence (someone like Atticus) to be his father. The lies help smooth things over for Dill.

Chapter 5 #5. Paraphrase Atticus speech about the Radleys right to privacy. Do you agree with his point of view? Why or why not? He says that a family has a right to keep to themselves and be left alone. He wants the children to stop their games with the Radleys and move on to something else. Some of you may say its all just harmless childhood fun; others may say its not appropriate to mock, even if its unintentional, the trials that a family has endured. Chapter 5

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