Study Guide for to Kill a Mocking Bird Essay

1. Chapter 1 introduces readers to the town of Maycomb, its appearance, its inhabitants, and the particular attitudes of many of its people. Find a sentence or paragraph which illustrates each of the following attitudes/ideas. Quote at least a portion of the sentence or paragraph and give the page number. a. pride in ancestry and “tradition” b. pride in conformity and distrust of those that are different c. awareness of the difference in social classes d. narrow span of interest locally and almost no interest in the world outside of Maycomb 2. Scout makes three mistakes during her first day of school.

What are her mistakes and why do they make Miss Caroline so angry? 3. Calpurnia lectures Scout on manners when Scout criticizes Walter’s manners. Atticus supports Calpurnia. What does this tell you about how both Calpurnia and Atticus feel about others? 4. In what specific ways does Scout criticize the school she is attending? 5. Explain Miss Maudie’s statement: “…sometimes the Bible in the hands of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hands of –oh, your father. ” 6. After the incident at the Radley house, Jem’s real desire is not just to recover his pants but to keep on good terms with Atticus.

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What does this tell you about Jem’s relationship with his father? 7. What was the condition of Jem’s pants when he found them? Why did their condition frighten him further? 8. Explain why Mr. Nathan Radley fills the hole in the tree with cement. Why does Jem cry about this? 9. After the fire is over, how does Miss Maudie feel about the destruction of her house? What does this tell you about her character, her values? 10. Explain Atticus’ statements about the following: a. the use of a racial slur b. his personal reasons for defending Tom Robinson c. Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win. ” d. “Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand…” 11. Miss Maudie tries to explain Atticus’ excellent marksmanship and his lack of pride in it. How does she do this? 12. Why do you think the author gives such a detailed and ugly description of Mrs. Dubose? How does it make you feel? 13. Scout find’s Calpurnia’s church service to be similar to her own except for a few differences. Explain what these are. 4. Explain what Scout meant when she states, “I know what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work. ” 15. Explain how Jem “broke the remaining code of our childhood. ” 16. Describe events prior to the scene at the Maycomb jail that reveal the tension and unrest of the town. Be specific. 17. Why does Jem openly defy Atticus and refuse to leave? 18. What does Scout’s childish attempt at conversation accomplish? Explain. 19. The Ewells are “poor white trash. ” Explain this term according to what you know about the way the Ewells live. 20.

Mayella Ewell is both disgusting and pathetic. Give examples of both qualities by quoting statements that she makes. 21. What is so important about Tom Robinson’s physical appearance? What, according to the testimony, does this prove beyond all doubt? 22. According to Tom’s testimony, what actually happened on November 21? Be specific. 23. Explain Scout’s statement that Mayella was even lonelier than Boo Radley. 24. Why do the black people stand when Atticus leaves the courtroom? 25. After Jem expresses disillusionment over the verdict, Miss Maudie defends the townspeople. Paraphrase what she says to Jem. 26.

In this chapter, Scout learns something about being a true lady. Explain. 27. What were the three threatening things that happened in Maycomb by the middle of October? What do these things tell you about Bob Ewell’s character? 28. What happened in the woods? Who saved the children’s lives? 29. Heck Tate refuses to charge either Jem or Boo Radley with the murder of Bob Ewell? Scout assures Atticus that Mr. Tate is doing the right thing. How does she explain it? 30. When Scout takes Boo home, she understands many things as she sees the street from this new point of view. Explain some of the things she “sees” now.


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