To revisit and revise the most important events of each
segment of the book.
Review: Chapter 1&2
• Introduced to Scout, Jem, Atticus and Dill
• Children’s fascination with Boo Radley
• Scout’s excellent literacy skills tested by Miss Caroline
• Walter Cunningham – class divide In Maycomb: town folk
vs. country folk
The Cunninghams must keep the farm running in order to
survive, and because the school system does not make any
accommodations for farm children, there is a self-
perpetuating societal cycle for farm families to remain
uneducated and ignorant.
Review: Chapter 3&4
• Calpurnia’s lesson for Scout – don’t judge others, treat guests with
• Burris Ewell is a character even poorer than Walter Cunningham
(only comes to school the first day of every school year, making a
token appearance to avoid trouble with the law. ) Note the injustice
Scout notices between how she and Burris are treated at school.
• Atticus teaches Scout about compromise: if she goes to school,
Atticus will let her keep reading with him at home. Scout agrees and
Atticus reads to her and Jem from the papers.
• Kids play the Radley game where they act out their imagined
melodrama of the Radley clan; Atticus catches them; Jem lies,
Atticus then discourages them.
The children are very slowly humanizing Boo - he was referred to in
the opening chapter as a "malevolent phantom," but by now, he is a
real man whose antisocial behavior marks him as unusual and
therefore suspicious or dangerous.
Review: Chapter 5&6
• Scout feels excluded from Jem and Dill’s gameplay because she is a girl.
• Miss Maudie Atkinson – honest, witty, doesn’t meddle in others’ business. A true
friend to Scout.
• Calpurnia and Miss Maudie are the main motherly influences in her life.
• Note in Boo’s window.
• Atticus catches them tormenting Boo and lectures them all about how he
has a right to his privacy.
• He accuses them of putting Boo's life history on display for the edification of the
• Describe Miss Maudie Atkinson - how typical is she of
Maycomb's women? What do the children think of her?
• Miss Maudie teaches that the maintaining of life (Mr. Ewell's children or Miss
Maudie's flowers) is more important than observing the strictest codes. Miss
Maudie also believes in the importance of pleasure and the enjoyment of life.
Review: Chapter 7&8
• Jem acts moody and quiet after the “pants incident”. Jem tells Scout that
when he went back to find the pants, they were sewn up and neatly
• Scout is bored at school in the 2nd grade; Jem reassures her it gets better in
• They find 2 figures – boy and a girl – whittled out of soap in the treehole.
• The hole is filled in with cement; Mr Radley says its because the tree is
dying. Jem asks Atticus about it and….what happens next?
• Mrs. Radley dies in winter. First snowstorm. Miss Maudie’s fire.
• The threat of the fire unites the community as everyone works together to
try to overcome it.
• SYMBOLISM: The location of people and events inside or outside of houses
is highly relevant. In general, those who are usually seen and described as
being wilfully inside the house (Mrs. Dubose and Aunt Alexandra) in
particular, are often more corrupted by prejudices of society. Those who
are forced to stay inside are victims of society's influence, like Boo Radley.
Review: Chapter 9&10
• Atticus appointed to represent Tom; it is a case he knows he won’t win, but
he tells Scout that he must follow through to uphold his sense of justice.
• At Christmastime, the Finches visit Aunt Alexandra… How does Scout
clash with her and Francis? What does Francis call Atticus?
• Scout is embarrassed by Atticus’ older age and penchant for reading.
• Mad dog incident – “one-shot Finch” – shows Atticus’s courage but more
importantly, shows how much Scout has to learn about true courage,
which has nothing to do with marksmanship or displays of masculine
• SYMBOLISM: Atticus taking Tom’s case is the beginning of heaviness of
adulthood in Scout’s life. The town’s angry reaction to Atticus make Jem
and Scout targets; Maycomb turns against the Finches and is revealed to
be racist, intolerant and hateful (culturally significant as it is a Southern
Review: Chapter 11&12
• Mrs. Dubose is a curmudgeonly, sickly old lady who tells the children that
Atticus is “no better than the niggers and trash he works for” which causes
Jem to lose his temper and smash all of her flowers. What is the
punishment Jem faces for this and what does he learn?
• Atticus respects and compliments Mrs. Dubose’s “real courage”, which he
describes as “when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin
anyway and you see it through no matter what.” Relate Atticus’s quote to
his own experiences at this point in the book.
• Calpurnia takes the children to church – just as race relations are
tumultuous in Maycomb, Lee presents the black community in a light of
solidarity and goodness; this is in stark contrast to how the whites of
Maycomb are being portrayed by Lee at this point in the book.
• SYMBOLISM: The book is divided into two parts; Part 1 is mostly about
childhood, memories and familial bonds, whereas Part 2 is about the more
serious themes of the book, such as injustice, rigidity and suffering.
Chapter 11 is the final chapter of Part 1 – explain why Harper Lee chose to
end the first part of the novel here.
Review: Chapter 13-15
• Aunt Alexandra invites herself to stay with the children to give them a
“feminine influence”. Although intolerant, Aunt Alex represents family
consciousness – however, she also reinforces the town’s inability to
progress (‘streaks’ in families)
• Dill is found hiding in Scout’s room. Explain why Dill has run away.
• Atticus protects Tom at the jailhouse from the lynch mob. Scout runs into
the middle of the mob and diffuses the situation by striking up a convo with
• SYMBOLISM: Scout accuses Jem of “breaking the remaining code of our
childhood” by telling Atticus about Dill. However, this is a sign of Jem’s
maturity. Similarly, it is Scout’s seemingly innocent convo with Mr.
Cunningham that ultimately results in the lynch mob breaking up. Scout’s
innocent belief in the goodness of people underlines that particular theme
of the book.
Review: Chapter 16-19
• Trial begins – whole town is there (except Maudie), importance of
Dolphus Raymond; segregation of blacks/whites in courtroom.
• Heck Tate and Bob Ewell are cross-examined; Ewell lies on the stand,
Atticus catches him out by showing Ewell is left-handed.
• Mayella is revealed to be extremely lonely, coaxing Tom into the
house. Link Deas supports Tom. Gilmer gets Tom to declare that he
felt sorry for Mayella – this is the nail in the coffin for the trail.
Review: Chapter 20-23
• Dolphus’s ‘drinking’ secret is revealed – why does he do this? What
does is mean about Maycomb as a town?
• Atticus gives his powerful closing remarks, the jury deliberates; finally a
guilty verdict is reached, despite evidence proving against. This leaves Jem
• Miss Maudie tells the kids that although the case was lost, the cause is not
– only Atticus could have kept the jury out for 9 hours, and for her, this is a
step towards equality.
• SYMBOLISM: Although the trial is focused on Tom, for the reader, it feels
like Maycomb, as a town, is on trial.
With this in mind…
Atticus loses the trial, but at what does he ‘win’? What does he reveal to
Maycomb about themselves?
Review: Chapter 23-25
• Bob Ewell spits in Atticus’s face – how does Atticus react and why?
• Atticus wants to appeal Tom’s case; the children discuss Maycomb’s ways
and discover that some people just can’t help being mean-spirited; Jem
concludes that Boo Radley never leaves home because he doesn’t want to
go out into that world.
• Tea party/Mrs. Merriweather – shows the complete hypocrisy of the white,
privileged ladies of Maycomb. Explain how their compassion towards
the Mruna people can be viewed as insincere.
• Scout & Jem grow further apart in maturity as witnessed by the roly-poly bug
• SYMBOLISM: As she still wants to live in the childhood world of actions
without a larger significance, Scout moves to crush the roly-poly bug. Jem,
who is now sensitive to the vulnerability of the innocent and oppressed,
urges her to leave the defenseless bug alone.
Review: Chapter 26-31
• School starts again; Jem and Scout pass by the Radley place every day – the story
begins to come full circle as they are both now too old to be frightened by the house.
• Scout’s 3rd grade teacher, Miss Gates, lectures the class on the wickedness of Hitler’s
persecution of the Jews and on the virtues of equality and democracy. Scout listens
and later asks Jem how Miss Gates can preach about equality when she came out of the
courthouse after the trial and told Miss Stephanie Crawford that it was “about time that
someone taught the blacks in town a lesson”. HYPOCRISY
• Kids are attacked by Bob Ewell in the forest who is then killed by Boo Radley with a
knife. The kids don’t know it is Boo who saved them until they are introduced properly
as “Mr. Arthur”. Scout and Mr. Arthur sit on the porch listening to Atticus and Heck Tate
discuss how Bob Ewell ‘fell’ on his knife.
• SYMBOLISM: Heck Tate’s decision to spare Boo the horror of publicity
by saying that Bob Ewell fell on his knife invokes the title of the
book and its central theme one last time, as Scout says that
exposing Boo to the public eye would be “sort of like shootin’ a
mockingbird.” She has taken on not only Atticus’s words but also his
perspective, as she suddenly sees the world through Boo’s eyes.
Explain how the ending of the novel impacts the reader and shows the
story coming full circle.