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1 Reading guide for To Kill a Mockingbird Chapters Chapter Comment on Jem's and Scout's visit to First Purchase church. This is a different experience to the kids. They see that racism goes both ways when they are accosted by Lula, who hates them because they are white. 2. What new things does Scout learn here about how the black people live? They learn that the church members take care of each other when they see how the preacher won t let them leave until they gather enough money for the Robinson family. The black community is also different because only four members of the church who can read. 3. What does Scout learn from Calpurnia's account of Zeebo's education? Scout learns that Calpurnia was educated at Finch Landing and that Zeebo was taught the same way Scout was taught. 4. Explain why Calpurnia speaks differently in the Finch household, and among her neighbors at church. She is well-educated but doesn t want to seem like she is bragging to her people about it.

2 Chapter Why does Aunt Alexandra come to stay with Atticus and his family? What is she like? She believes that Scout needs a feminine influence and doesn t count Calpurnia as good enough for that. She is very overbearing and likes to have things her way. 6. Read the first two things Alexandra says when she comes to the Finch house. Are these typical of her or not? She picks on Scout and demands that Calpurnia take her bags upstairs. This is typical of her because we know she doesn t like Calpurnia and she is forever trying to better Scout. 7. Alexandra thinks Scout is dull (not clever). Why does she think this, and is she right? Are all adults good at knowing how clever young people are? She thinks Scout isn t clever because Scout doesn t talk to Aunt Alexandra. Her answers are succinct and monosyllables. Adults usually are not good at telling how clever a child is based on the child s vocabulary because children are often more verbal around their peers than adults. 8. How does Aunt Alexandra involve herself in Maycomb's social life? She joins every club possible and invites the women over to the house.

3 9. Comment on Aunt Alexandra's ideas about breeding and family. Why does Atticus tell them to forget it? Who is right, do you think? Aunt Alexandra bases her opinions of family on one person in the family. For example, if one person drinks, the whole family is full of drunks. The only family this doesn t apply to is her own. She believes that her family is perfect. Atticus sees how upset Scout is at trying to obtain this perfection, so he tells her to forget about it. Chapter Comment on Atticus's explanation of rape. How suitable is this as an answer to Scout? He gives her a very technical answer. Answers will vary for the second question. 11. Why does Alexandra think Atticus should dismiss Calpurnia? How does Atticus respond to the suggestion? Alexandra thinks Calpurnia isn t needed and she is better than Cal is. Atticus responds by saying that Calpurnia will leave when she wants to and she is part of the family. 12. Why is Scout pleased when Jem fights her back? Why is she less pleased when he tells Atticus about Dill? Jem had been acting smarter than Scout, and she was glad to see that they were equals again when they were fighting.

4 13. What do we learn from Dill's account of his running away? His parents aren t abusive; they just don t pay enough attention to him. He says his parents don t need him. Chapter What is the nightmare that now descends upon the children? The trial is about to begin and they are being bullied by classmates and townspeople because their father is defending Tom Robinson. 15. What was (and is) the Ku Klux Klan? What do you think of Atticus's comment about it? The KKK is an organization of white people who harass those of different cultures and races. Atticus says that the KKK no longer exists, but that is false. 16. How does Jem react when Atticus tells him to go home, and why? Jem refuses to go home because he thinks his dad will get hurt if he leaves. 17. What persuades the lynching-party to give up their attempt on Tom's life? Scout connects with Walter Cunningham, Sr. She talks to him about Walter Cunningham, Jr.

5 18. Comment on the way Scout affects events without realizing it at the time. Scout is just a little girl, yet she is able to take down a group of grown men just by talking to him. She doesn t realize that she just saved two people s lives. Chapter What subtle change does Scout notice in her father? He starts to talk back to Aunt Alexandra. 20. What sort of person is Dolphus Raymond? He is considered the town drunk and doesn t have a good reputation because of his association with the black community. 21. How does Reverend Sykes help the children see and hear the trial? Is he right to do? He allows the children to come to the colored balcony to see the trial because there are no seats in the white section. Answers will vary for the second question. 22. Comment on Judge Taylor's attitude to his job. Does he take the trial seriously or not? He seems to not take things seriously, but in reality he knows everything that is going on.

6 Chapter What are the main points in Heck Tate's evidence? What does Atticus show in his crossexamination of Sheriff Tate? Heck Tate says that he was called to the Ewell house because Bob told him Mayella had been raped. Mayella appeared to be badly beaten when he got there. Atticus shows that a left-handed person was likely to have beaten Mayella because she was bruised on the right side of her face. 24. What do we learn indirectly of the home life of the Ewell family in this chapter? The Ewells live in a dumpy house with garbage all around it. The mother is dead and there are more children than people can count. The children are dirty and have little supervision. 25. What do you learn from Bob Ewell's evidence? Bob is not an articulate man and is also very rude. He agrees that Mayella was beaten on the right side of her face. 26. Why does Atticus ask Bob Ewell to write out his name? What does the jury see when he does this? Atticus wants to show that Bob is left-handed, which is what the jury sees.

7 Chapter Is Mayella like her father or different from him? In what ways? Mayella is different from her father in the fact that she attempts to rise above her situation by remaining clean and trying to bring beauty to her home with the flowers. She is similar to him in that she lies on the stand and attempts to manipulate the jury. 28. What might be the reason for Mayella's crying in the court? She is trying to gain sympathy from the jury. She sees things are not going well for her and she wants them to feel sorry for her. 29. How does Mayella react to Atticus's politeness? Is she used to people being polite? Mayella accuses Atticus of sassing her and making fun of her because he calls her ma am and Miss Mayella. This indicates that she is not used to people treating her with respect. 30. How well does Mr. Gilmer prove Tom's guilt in the eyes of the reader (you) and in the eyes of the jury? Can you suggest why these might be different? Answers will vary.

8 Chapter What made Tom visit the Ewell's house in the first place? He had to pass by everyday for work and Mayella would ask him to do some chores for her. 32. Why does Scout think that Mayella Ewell was the loneliest person in the world? She compares her to the mixed children because the white people won t have her because she is so trashy and lives near the blacks; the blacks won t have her because she is white. She doesn t fit in anywhere and has no friends. 33. In your own words explain Mayella's relationship with her father. The relationship is an abusive one and likely a sexual one, as Mayella indicates she has never kissed a man. What her papa did to her don t count. 34. How does Dill react to this part of the trial? Why is this, in your opinion? Dill reacts very badly and breaks out into tears. He doesn t understand how life can be so unfair.

9 Chapter Scout says that Mr. Dolphus Raymond was an evil man. Is she right? This chapter proves that he is not evil; he is simply misunderstood and has received a bad reputation because society doesn t understand his choices. 36. In most states of the USA people who drink alcohol in public places are required to hide their bottle in a paper bag. Why does Dolphus Raymond hide Coca-Cola in a bag? He wants people to think he is drunk because it gives them a reason for his behavior. They don t understand his choices and the alcohol gives them a concrete reason for what he does. 37. What, according to Atticus, is the thing that Mayella has done wrong? She tempted a black man in a society that doesn t allow that. 38. Explain, in your own words, Atticus's views on people's being equal. Atticus says that people are not born equal; that is simply impossible. However, in the courtroom everyone is equal because the justice system treats everyone the same. Chapter What does Jem expect the verdict to be? Does Atticus think the same? Jem believes that Tom will be found innocent, but Atticus does not believe that to be true.

10 40. What is unusual about how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict? Is the verdict predictable or not? The jury takes a long time to convict Tom. In this time period this is quite unusual because a black man accused of assaulting a white woman would be convicted quickly. The delay shows that they actually thought about the conviction. The verdict is a bit predictable because of the setting of the book. 41. As Scout waits for the verdict, she thinks of earlier events. What are these and how do they remind us of the novel's central themes? She thinks about Atticus shooting the dog, Tim Johnson. The only difference is that this time Atticus doesn t have any bullets to defend himself.

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