Identify at least two details in this chapter that reveal the setting time period and place of this novel. Why is Jem's snowman creation so unacceptable to both Atticus and Miss Maudie? What does the fire at Miss Maudie's house reveal about the people living in Alabama in the s? Does Jem still fear the gifts in the tree?
Share via Email Harper Lee in a courthouse while visiting her home town. Most people agreed that the book is more complicated than its critics may have suggested — and that Harper Lee is neither childish nor simplistic in her portrayal of good and bad.
But within that broad consensus, there was a fascinating variety of opinion. I was particularly impressed by the analysis of the novel's commentary on the rule of law. The comment that started this discussion, from Amtiskawmore than deserves to be quoted in full — with the caveat that you may not want to read it, if you haven't yet reached the end of the novel.
It deals with the conclusion in detail: The Questionnaire on to kill a mockingbird in favour of Tom Robinson and against Bob Ewell is overwhelming Ewell is not on trial, but Atticus essentially constructs his defence case as a prosecution against the other man.
In the end, the jury convicts Robinson, choosing to deliberately ignore the evidence and the proper course of justice because it conflicts with their bigoted morality.
The secondary plot of the novel concerns Boo Radley, a neighbourhood recluse who, at the novel's climax, intercepts and kills Bob Ewell in order to prevent him taking revenge on Atticus by attacking and perhaps murdering his children.
In the aftermath, both Atticus and the sheriff realise what has happened, but agree to fabricate a story that Ewell fell on his own knife, rather than subject Boo Radley to an investigation that, even if it would probably lead to his exoneration on the grounds of justifiable homicide, would drag the reclusive man into the limelight.
The book portrays the latter decision as an attempt to protect an innocent person rather than condemn him, and leads to the metaphor of the book's title, where to kill a mockingbird is to deliberately destroy something innocent, which suggests the author agrees with the decision.
However, there is still an uncomfortable parallel between the actions of Atticus and the sheriff in protecting Boo Radley, and that of the jurors in the Tom Robinson trial.
All are participants within a criminal justice system with a responsibility to the truth, but who choose to ignore it in order to achieve what they consider the "right" result, based on their personal morality.
We sympathise with Atticus and the sheriff's morality, while finding the racist townsfolk's [morality] reprehensible, but does that make the decision of the former OK?
Both conspire to pervert the course of justice, but we are prompted to absolve one but condemn the other based on our own prejudices. For me, this the book's greatest flaw: Morality should be enshrined in the law and applied impartially to all through public mechanisms such as trials, not privately or subject to the whims of individuals.
Even if it doesn't always result in the best outcome for people like Boo Radley, it is the best system for giving the fairest outcome in the most cases. I don't see the Boo Radley dilemma as a "flaw" in the novel.
Doesn't it just add another layer of ambiguity and interest? Leaving Boo Radley to retreat back into his exile is an emotionally satisfying ending — and as Amtiskaw points out, it chimes well with the novel's title and the idea that you should leave the rare and harmless bird alone.
However, the decision to let Boo retreat back into the shadows isn't just a Hollywood conclusion. As Amtiskaw so eloquently argues, it causes problems for the rule of law that Atticus himself seeks to protect — and that seems both deliberate, and deliberately provocative.
Is Harper Lee suggesting that blind justice is a forlorn hope? That personal morality can trump that of the state? That seems to be how Amtiskaw sees it: What Harper Lee does is make us think about our own attitudes — and those of the people around us.
She might even, as nightjar12 suggestsbe deliberately wrongfooting her readers: I love this book but I have always seen it as somewhat subversive — it spends most of the novel setting Atticus up as a good and just man who can do no wrong but then he decides effectively to take the law into his own hands and to lie in order to save Boo.
We are all hoodwinked into accepting this as the right thing to do … it always leaves me feeling very unsettled! I have never seen it as a children's book by the way — partly for that reason. In a fascinating article in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell takes these arguments a step further by suggesting that the novel actually demonstrates the limitations of "Jim Crow liberalism".
The stance adopted by Atticus may be good — but it isn't good enough. He holds one set of standards for an apparently "respectable" white like Boo Radley, and another for the Ewells; and the kind of gradual change and improvement he advocates, and working within the status quo, are flawed solutions.
This book gets trickier the closer you look at it. What, too, are we to make of the following problem suggested by Tigercrane: I read an interesting criticism of the book a few years ago. The author, a criminal defence lawyer, studied a number of real-life trials similar to the Tom Robinson trial.
She learned that although the defendant lost in most of them, on those few occasions when the defendant won it was by employing the defence that Atticus used: In other words, employing a mix of sexism and classism in an attempt to neutralise racism. Again, my reaction is to defend Harper Lee.
Firstly, she is clearly reflecting a reality. Secondly, the case isn't quite so simple. Mayella may have been keen on Tom, but she certainly isn't blamed for that, nor is there any suggestion that she deserved a beating.1 To Kill a Mockingbird: Anticipation Guide Directions: Before reading the story, read the statements below and decide if you agree or disagree with each statement.
For each statement, mark an X in the appropriate blank in the. The To Kill a Mockingbird Review quiz. quizzes | Create a quiz Progress: 1 of 50 questions. A post-reading quiz What is Scout's full name?
Jean Louise Finch Scout Finch Janice Carol Finch Caroline Jane Finch «previous question next question». To Kill a Mockingbird. While To Kill a Mockingbird is a popular book, it also has some sprawl to it. The questions below, presented in chronological order with the novel, should help your students.
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the rare American novel that can be discovered with excitement in adolescence and reread into adulthood without fear of disappointment. To Kill a Mockingbird Study Questions Chapter 1 1) What do you learn in this chapter about Maycomb, Atticus Finch and his family?
2) What do you learn about Dill's character?
3) What, briefly, has happened to Arthur “Boo” Radley? 4) Why does the Radley place fascinate Scout, Jem and Dill? 5) What do you notice about the narrative voice and viewpoint in the novel?
Kevin Thomas Close Ended Questions 1. What was Atticus talking about to his brother that he wanted Scout to hear? 2.
Who is Boo Radley?