TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
BY
HARPER LEE
Biography:
HARPER LEE
 Born in 1926, Harper Lee grew up in
depression-era Monroeville, Alabama.
The youngest of four children, Lee
followed her attorney father into law.
 Lee attended the University of
Alabama law school and spent the
1950's working for Eastern Airlines
and writing short stories. On the
suggestion of her editor, Lee
developed one of her short stories
into her only novel, To Kill A
Mockingbird, published in 1960.
 The novel won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize
and spent 80 weeks on the bestseller
list. It has been translated into 40
languages and there are over 30
million copies in print.
Biography:
HARPER LEE
 Mockingbird's success also
inspired the box office smash, To
Kill a Mockingbird, starring
Gregory Peck.
 Lee published several essays in
the early 1960s but, as a true
literary recluse, has published
nothing since then and refuses all
requests for interviews.
 Now 74, the elusive Lee divides
her time between Monroeville
and New York City.
Summary
1
 The story of To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Alabama in the Depression,
and is narrated by the main character, a little girl named Scout Finch.
 Her father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer with high moral standards. She and
her brother, Jem, and their friend Dill are intrigued by the local rumours
about a man named Boo Radley who lives in their neighbourhood but
never sets foot from his house.
 Legend has it that he once stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of
scissors, and he is made out to be a kind of monster. Dill is from Mississippi
but spends his summer in Maycomb at a house near the Finches.
Summary
2
 The children are curious to know more about Boo, and create a
mini-drama to enact which tells the events of his life as they know
them. They slowly begin moving closer to the house itself, which is
said to be haunted. They try leaving notes for Boo on his
windowsill, but are caught by Atticus, who firmly reprimands them.
 Then they try sneaking to the house at night and looking through
its windows. However, Boo's brother, Nathan Radley, who lives
with him, thinks he hears a prowler and begins firing his gun.
 The children get away, though Jem loses his pants in a gate. When
he returns, his ripped pants have been folded and roughly sewn up.
Summary
3
 Other mysterious things happen to the Finch children. A certain
tree near the Radley house has a hole in which little presents are
often left for them, such as pennies and chewing gum. When they
leave a note for the giver of these gifts, Boo's brother plugs up the
hole the next day with cement.
 The next winter brings unexpected cold and snows, and the house
of the kind neighbour Miss Maudie catches on fire. While Jem and
Scout, shivering, watch the blaze from near the Radley house,
someone puts a blanket around Scout. She doesn't realise until
afterwards that Boo Radley must have been the one to do this.
Summary
4
 Atticus decides to take on a case involving a black man named Tom
Robinson who has been accused of raping a very poor white girl
named Mayella Ewell, a member of the notorious Ewell family, who
belong to the layer of Maycomb society that people refer to as
"trash.”
 The Finches all face harsh criticism in racist Maycomb because of
Atticus’s decision to defend Tom, but Atticus insists upon going
through with the case because his conscience could not let him do
otherwise.
 He knows that Tom has almost no chance, because the white jury
will never believe his story, but he wants to reveal the truth of what
happened to his fellow townspeople as well as expose their
bigotry.
Summary
5
 Scout and Jem find themselves whispered at and taunted, and they
have trouble keeping their tempers. At a family Christmas
gathering, Scout beats up her cloying relative Francis when he
accuses Atticus of ruining the family name.
 Jem cuts off the tops of an old neighbour's flower bushes after she
derides Atticus, and then as punishment he has to read out loud to
her every day while she breaks her morphine addiction.
 Atticus holds this old woman up as an example of true courage: the
will to keep fighting even when you know you can't win.
Summary
6
 The time for the trial draws closer, and Atticus's sister Alexandra
comes to stay with the family. She is proper and old-fashioned and
wants to shape Scout into the model of the Southern feminine
ideal, much to Scout's resentment.
 Dill runs away from his home, where his mother and new father
don't seem interested in him, and stays in Maycomb for the
summer of Tom's trial.
 The night before the trial, Tom is moved into the county jail, and
Atticus, fearing a possible lynching, stands guard outside the jail
door all night. Jem is concerned about him, and the three children
sneak into town to find him.
Summary
7
 A group of men arrives ready to cause some violence to Tom, but
Scout runs out and begins to speak to one of the men, the father of
one of her classmates in school. Her innocence brings them out of
their mob mentality, and they leave.
 The trial pits the evidence of the white Ewells against Tom's
evidence. According to the Ewells, Mayella asked Tom to do some
work for her while her father was out, and Tom came into their
house and forcibly beat and raped Mayella until her father
appeared and scared him away.
 Tom says that Mayella invited him inside, then threw her arms
around him and began to kiss him. When her father arrived, he flew
into a rage and beat her, while Tom ran away in fright.
Summary
8
 According to the sheriff's testimony, Mayella's bruises were on the
right side of her face. Tom Robinson's left arm is useless due to an
old accident, whereas Mr. Ewell leads with his left.
 Given the evidence, Tom should go free, but after hours of
deliberation, the jury pronounces him guilty.
 Though the verdict is unfortunate, Atticus feels some satisfaction
that the jury took so long deciding‹usually the decision would be
made in minutes, because a black man's word would not be
trusted.
 Atticus is hoping for an appeal, but unfortunately Tom tries to
escape from his prison and is shot to death. Jem has trouble
handling the results of the trial, feeling that his trust in the
goodness and rationality of humanity has been betrayed.
Summary
9
 Meanwhile, Mr. Ewell has been threatening Atticus and other
people connected with the trial because he feels he was
humiliated. He gets his revenge one night while Jem and Scout are
walking home from Halloween play at their school. He follows
them home in the dark, then runs at them and attempts to kill
them.
 Jem breaks his arm, and Scout, who wearing a confining costume,
is helpless throughout the attack. However, the elusive Boo Radley
stabs Mr. Ewell and saves them. Scout finally has a chance to meet
the shy and nervous Boo. The sheriff declares that Mr. Ewell fell on
his own knife so that Boo won't have to be tried for murder. Scout
walks Boo home. He goes inside and she never sees him again.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Scout:

Six-year-old Jean Louise "Scout" Finch narrates the
novel.

A tomboy at heart, Scout works hard not to "act
like a girl" by wearing overalls instead of dresses
and beating up other children who antagonise her.

Scout spends her days playing outside with her
older brother, Jem, and her best friend, Dill.

Extremely smart and bright for her age, Scout
loves to read spends time reading with her father,
Atticus, every night.

Being head strong, Scout often finds herself in
trouble with her father, her housekeeper,
Calpurnia, her neighbours, her aunt Alexandra, and
her teachers.

Despite the rules of etiquette governing life in her
small town, Scout voices her opinions and
recognises hypocrisy and injustice in her elders.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Atticus:

Father of Jem and Scout, Atticus Finch sits on the
Alabama State Legislature and acts as Maycomb's
leading attorney.

The epitome of moral character, Atticus teaches
his children and his community how to stand up
for one's beliefs in the face of prejudice and
ignorance by defending a black man, Tom
Robinson, wrongfully accused of raping a white
woman.

Having lost his wife when Scout was two years
old, Atticus devotes himself to his children despite
criticism from family and neighbours who think his
children lack discipline and proper guidance.

Atticus stands as one of literature's strongest and
most positive father figures.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Jem:

Ten years old when the book begins , Jeremy
"Jem" Finch acts as Scout's playmate and
protector.

Entering adolescence during the course of the
novel.

Jem matures as he struggles with issues of racism
and intolerance.

On the brink of manhood, Jem goes through
phases as he comes to grips with his family's past
and his future role in society.

Sometimes moody and sullen, sometimes kind and
gentle, Jem emerges as a leader as he helps Scout
understand how to get along in school and
reminds her to respect Atticus and their other
elders.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Dill:

Harper Lee based her character, Charles Baker
"Dill" Harris, on her girlhood friend and famous
writer, Truman Capote.

Spending his summers with his relative, Miss
Rachel, in Maycomb, Dill, who is Scout's age,
comes from a broken family.

Dill spins grand tales about his father but runs
away from home late in the book because he feels
his mother and step-father don't care about him.

During his summers however, he, Jem, and Scout
entertain themselves by pretending they are
characters in plays and attempting to coax Boo
Radley out of his house.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Calpurnia: The Finch's black housekeeper,
Calpurnia acts as a mother figure and disciplinarian
in the Finch household. Atticus trusts Calpurnia,
relies on her for support raising his children, and
considers her part of the family. Calpurnia also
gives the children insight into her world when she
takes them to her church.

Boo Radley: Arthur "Boo" Radley is Maycomb's
town recluse. Myths and rumours about Boo and
his family abound. According to town gossip, Boo
stabbed his father in the leg when he was a boy
and has since been confined to his house. The
children imagine Boo as a ghoulish figure who eats
cats and stalks about the neighbourhood under
the cover of night. In fact, Boo stands as a figure of
innocence who befriends and protects the children
in his own way.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Aunt Alexandra: Atticus' sister, Aunt Alexandra is a proper Southern woman who maintains a strict code about
with whom she and her family should associate. She criticises Atticus for letting Scout run wild and when she
moves into their home during Tom Robinson's trial, Alexandra urges Scout to wear dresses and become a proper
lady.

Tom Robinson: The most important client of Atticus' career, Tom Robinson, a young, black man, is a church
going, father of four accused of rape by Mayella Ewell.

Bob Ewell: The father of eight, Bob Ewell, a white man, and his family live behind Maycomb's dump. Desperately
poor, Ewell uses his welfare money to buy alcohol while his children go hungry. His nineteen year old daughter,
Mayella, accuses Tom Robinson of rape and battery.
CHARACTER STUDIES

Miss Maudie: Miss Maudie is the counterpoint to
Aunt Alexandra. A neighbour to the Finch family,
Maudie offers Scout a female role model opposite
from Alexandra. Maudie respects the children and
admires Atticus. Unlike the other women in the
town, Maudie minds her own business and
behaves without pretension or hypocrisy.

Walter Cunningham: Walter Cunningham plays a
small but important role in Mockingbird. A farming
family, the Cunninghams occupy a middle position
in Maycomb's class hierarchy above African
American citizens and the Ewells but below Atticus
and the Finch family. Honest and hard working,
Walter Cunningham and his son are respectable
community members who represent the potential
in everyone to understand right from wrong
despite ignorance and prejudice.
TOP TEN QUOTES
 1) Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I
first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass
grew on sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square.
Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's
day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the
sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars
wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after
their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes
with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.—Scout
TOP TEN QUOTES
 2) "What I meant was, if Atticus Finch drank until he was
drunk he wouldn't be as hard as some men are at their best.
There are just some kind of men who—who're so busy
worrying about the next world they've never learned to live
in this one, and you can look down the street and see the
results." –Miss Maudie
 3) "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're
entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but
before I can live with other folks I've got to live with
myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is
a person's conscience." –Atticus
TOP TEN QUOTES
 4) When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus wouldn't teach us to
shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he said
Atticus wasn't interested in guns. Atticus said to Jem, "I'd rather
you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after
birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but
remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I
ever hear Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss
Maudie about it. "You're father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds
don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat
up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one
thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a
mocking bird."
TOP TEN QUOTES
 5) "The witnesses for the state…have presented themselves to you
gentlemen, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their
testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen
would go along with them on the assumption—the evil
assumption—that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically
immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around
our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their
caliber. Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom
Robinson's skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know
the truth, the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are
immoral, some Negro men cannot be trusted around women, black
or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to
no particular race of men…"—Atticus
TOP TEN QUOTES
 6) "I don't know [how they could convict Tom Robinson], but they
did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it
again and when they do it—seems that only children weep…"—
Atticus talking to Jem
 7) "…As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men
every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you
forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no
matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes
from, that white man is trash."—Atticus
TOP TEN QUOTES
 8) "…If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with
each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to
despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand
something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's
stayed shut up in the house all this time…it's because he wants to
stay inside."—Jem
 9) "I'm not a very good man, sir, but I am sheriff of Maycomb
County. Lived in this town all my life an' I'm goin' on forty-three
years old. Know everything that's happened here since before I
was born. There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man
responsible for it's dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr.
Finch. Let the dead bury the dead."—Sheriff Tate
TOP TEN QUOTES
 10) "Neighbours bring food with death and flowers with
sickness and little things in between. Boo was our neighbour.
He gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair
of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbours give in
return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of
it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad."—Scout
METAPHOR ANALYSIS
Mockingbird:

The mockingbird represents innocence.

Like hunters who kill mockingbirds for sport,
people kill innocence, or other people who are
innocent, without thinking about what they are
doing.

Atticus stands firm in his defence of innocence and
urges his children not to shoot mockingbirds both
literally and figuratively.

The mockingbird motif arises four times during To
Kill a Mockingbird. First, when Atticus gives Jem
and Scout air guns for Christmas and instructs
them not to kill mockingbirds.

Second, when B.B. Underwood writes about Tom
Robinson's death in his column.

Third, a mockingbird sings right before Bob Ewell
attacks Jem and Scout.

Finally, Scout agrees with Atticus that prosecuting
Boo for Ewell's murder would be like killing a
mockingbird.
METAPHOR ANALYSIS
Boo Radley:

Boo Radley represents fear.

Small town folks fear that if they act eccentric and fail to adhere to
social rules they too will end up like Boo, isolated and remembered as
a grotesque monster.

It is this fear that supports the social status quo and keeps individuals
from standing up for that which they believe. Until people can
understand and accept Boo, as Scout does at the end of the book,
they will always be stuck in a world filled with fear, lies, and
ignorance.
Guns :

Guns represent false strength. According to Atticus, guns do not
prove manhood or bravery.

Manhood and bravery come from a man's ability to persevere and
fight using his wits, his heart, and his character.

Neighbours use and venerate guns to the detriment of developing
their own personal strength.
THEME ANALYSIS
 During the first half of Mockingbird Harper Lee constructs a sweet and affectionate
portrait of growing up in the vanished world of small town Alabama.
 Lee, however, proceeds to undermine her portrayal of small town gentility during
the second half of the book.
 Lee dismantles the sweet façade to reveal a rotten, rural underside filled with social
lies, prejudice, and ignorance.
 But no one in Mockingbird is completely good or evil. Every character is human, with
human flaws and weaknesses.
 Lee even renders Atticus, the paragon of morality, symbolically weak by making him
an old and widowed man as opposed to young and virile.
 It is how these flawed characters influence and are influenced by the major themes
underpinning their society.
 Three major themes run through To Kill a Mockingbird: education, bravery, and
prejudice.
Education
 We learn how important education is to Atticus and his
children in the first chapter when Jem announces to Dill
that Scout has known how to read since she was a baby.
 Atticus reads to the children from newspapers and
magazines as if they are adults who can understand
issues at his level.
 By the time Scout attends her first day of school she is
highly literate, far surpassing the other children in the
classroom and frustrating her teacher whose task it is to
teach her students according to a predetermined plan.
Education
 It soon becomes clear why Atticus thinks education is so important.
 During his closing arguments Atticus explicitly acknowledges the ignorance
blinding people's minds and hearts:
"the witnesses for the state…have presented themselves to you gentlemen…in
the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident
that you gentlemen would go along with them on the…evil
assumption…that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral
beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an
assumption one associates with minds of their caliber".
 Education is the key to unlocking the ignorance that causes such prejudice.
Jem begins to understand this lesson toward the end of the book when he
wonders whether family status could be based more on education than on
bloodlines.
Bravery
 Jem also learns powerful lessons from his father regarding bravery and
cowardice.
 Early in Mockingbird we learn that Atticus does not approve of guns. He
believes that guns do not make men brave and that the children's
fascination with guns is unfounded.
 To prove his point, he sends Jem to read for Mrs. Dubose who struggles to
beat her morphine addiction before she dies.
 He wants to show his son one shows true bravery "when you know you're
licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no
matter what".
 Atticus also role models his sense of bravery by refusing to carry a gun to
protect Tom Robinson from angry farmers and refusing to carry a gun to
protect himself after Bob Ewell threatens to use a gun.
Bravery
 But bravery runs deeper than the decision to carry a gun. Atticus
shows bravery when he takes Tom's case despite knowing that his
town would turn against him and his children.
 Jem shows bravery when the children intervene on behalf of
Atticus and Jem refuses to leave his father's side during the
showdown with farmers at the jailhouse.
 And, perhaps the biggest lesson Scout must learn is to turn away
and show real bravery rather than fight when people antagonise
her.
Prejudice
 The most important theme of Mockingbird remains the notion of prejudice in all of
its forms.
 Clearly, with the Tom Robinson case, Lee's characters deal with racial prejudice head
on. References to black men as "niggers" and "boys" persist throughout the book.
 Black people occupy the lowest class level of Maycomb society as Maycomb's white
population of every class waste no time reinforcing their rigid class rules.
 The fact that Atticus realises that he has no chance to win his case defending Tom
because Tom is black offers the most explicit indicator of deep-rooted racism.
 His closing argument in Chapter Twenty clearly outlines Atticus's views on racism.
However, Lee also shows us prejudice as it pertains to gender and social class.
 Although the entire town subscribes outwardly to traditional gender roles and class
distinctions, Aunt Alexandra plays the greatest role in reinforcing these notions
within the Finch family.
Prejudice
 Alexandra believes that because the Finch family comes from a long line of
landowners who have been the county for generations they deserve greater respect
than do other people and they must comport themselves according to their status.
 She refuses to associate with both black and white citizens alike because they do
not fill the same social position.
 Atticus, on the other hand, urges his children to sympathise with others and to
"walk in their skin" before they judge or criticise others.
 Scout suffers acutely from the stereotypes imposed upon her because of the rigid
sexism and gender rules that govern southern life.
 Although the characters do not explicitly deal with gender issues, Lee does offer
several characters, Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie in particular, who illustrate the
broad spectrum of southern womanhood that lies beneath the simplistic "southern
belle" stereotype.
Reflections:
 Reflect on your reactions to the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird -
Scout, Atticus, Jem, Bill, Calpurnia, Tom Robinson, Mayella Ewell, Bob
Ewell, and Boo Radley. Which of these did you find most likeable? Least
likeable? Did any of the characters have some qualities you sympathised
with and other qualities you didn't like? Jot down the likeable and
unlikeable aspects of each of the characters, and compare your
impressions and reasons for them with the responses of your classmates.
 Literary characters are considered to be "flat" when they are presented by
the author as one-sided and unchanging, behaving in ways that are
predictable. Characters are considered "round" when they are depicted as
having greater complexity and depth, some weaknesses and some
strengths, and a wide range of human emotions
Reflections:
 Which characters in the Harper Lee novel struck you as being more
"flat" or more "round"? Why might an author create flat characters
in a given work? Are the minor characters in To Kill A Mockingbird e.g. Miss Maudie, Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandra, Miss Fisher (the
schoolteacher), Nathan Radley, Mrs. Dubose, Mr. Cunningham,
Sheriff Tate, and others - one dimensional, or do some have
"round" qualities?
 An important part of the novel is Harper Lee's characterisation of
the three children - Scout, Jem, and Dill, who gain life experiences
and mature as they face different problems and interact with the
adults in the novel.
Reflections:
 Think about your childhood and the way you viewed the other
children and the adults in your environment. Discuss how your
impressions of people changed or did not change as you gained
experience and came to know people better over the years.
 Many of the characters in the novel are depicted by the author as
classifying each other according to rigid categories. They hold
stereotypes about how individuals will behave as a result of their
age, gender, race, social status, and other fixed categories. Which
characters are the victims of stereotyping? Do any of them break
through the behaviour expected of them, showing individuality and
exposing the falseness of narrowly labelling people?
POINT OF VIEW
 The novel begins as the voice of a mature adult recalling events
from childhood and sometimes shifts to the point of view of a sixyear old. Did you notice the shifts occurring? If so, did you find them
distracting? How are these perspectives - the knowing adult's and
the innocent child's - developed in the narration? What advantages
did the author have as a result of being able to move from one
perspective to the other?
 W. E. B. DuBoise speaks of "double-consciousness" - the sense of
having to look at oneself through the eyes of others. Which
characters in To Kill A Mockingbird are basically forced to look at
themselves through the lens of others, being expected to behave
as other people want them to behave?
POINT OF VIEW
 Do you believe that the sense of "double consciousness" is still
strong in our present society? That is, to what extent are people of
different ethnicities, social classes, genders, and age levels
essentially defined by others today? To what extent do you feel that
you are forced to behave according to other's views of you? How
are you affected when others define you? Consider how the person
doing the defining is affected.
 Is some measure of "double consciousness" inevitable in human
relations and in society? Why, or why not?
SETTING

Compare the city of Maycomb to
the place where you grew up,
noting similarities and differences.

The story is set in a small town in
southern Alabama during the
Depression of the 1930s. What
aspects of the story seem to be
particular to that place and time?
What aspects of the story are
universal, cutting across time and
place? In what ways are the people
you know today similar to and
different from those in Maycomb?
PLOT
 Did To Kill A Mockingbird hold your interest? What parts of the
story held your interest most strongly? Why? What parts seemed
less interesting? Why?
 What are the chief conflicts in the story? Do they have clear starting
points and resolutions? Were any conflicts left unresolved? Were
any conflicts resolved in ways that you found disturbing?
 Many readers see To Kill A Mockingbird as having two parts, one
centering on Boo Radley and the other on the trial of Tom
Robinson. How were the two stories brought together at the end
of the novel? When you were reading the novel, how did you
handle the shift of emphasis from Boo Radley to the trial?
SYMBOL
 Certain objects take on symbolic value in the TKM. That is, an object
is used by the author as apart of the setting or narrative, yet that
object points to or represents something outside itself. Of course, a
central symbol is the mockingbird, described by Miss Maudie as a
creature that should never be killed because it is harmless and even
provides song for the enjoyment of others. Both Boo Radley and
Tom Robinson are basically blameless individuals who are at the
mercy of society, yet society is cruel to Boo, and ultimately Tom is
murdered. The symbol of the mockingbird also points to Scout,
both as an innocent child and as the grown-up narrator, who "sings
a song" in telling the story.
SYMBOL
 Can you think of ways in which the following function as symbols in
the novel?
 the mad dog
 the treehouse
 Camellias
 the gun
 Atticus' pocket watch
 Can you assign symbolic meaning to any of these objects in terms
of the present day? How do these present day symbolic meanings
differ from the meanings that those symbols held in the novel?
BACKGROUND
 In the Southern United States, before the 1960's, blacks were
segregated from whites. This meant that not only did they live in
different areas, but by law they were not permitted to go to the
same schools, sit in the same part of the courthouse, eat in the
same restaurants, use the same public rest rooms or drink at the
same water fountains. These laws were unconstitutional and have
now been changed.
 The Constitution of the United States requires that before a person
is convicted of a crime he must be given "due process of law." In
the case of persons accused of a felony or a crime for which they
can be imprisoned for a long time, this includes the right to a
lawyer.
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 If the defendant is poor and cannot afford to hire a lawyer,
the state must provide a lawyer for him. The judge
appointed Atticus as defence counsel for the man accused of
rape to comply with this provision of the Constitution.
 Lynching is an execution, usually by hanging, in punishment
for a crime or offence for which there has been no
conviction. Often, people who are lynched have committed no
crime at all.
 Lynching was named after a Virginia Justice of the Peace,
Charles Lynch, who ordered the extra-legal hanging of Tory
sympathisers during the American Revolution.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
 Why did the Judge ask Atticus to defend the black man accused of
rape? How does this relate to the Constitution of the United States?
 Why were there no black children at the school attended by Jem
and Scout? Were the black children permitted to attend school?
What were the differences between the schools attended by the
white children and the schools attended by the black children?
 Why was it so threatening for the white community if a black man
raped a white woman? Why was it so bad for the accuser if the
community believed that she had sought the attentions of a black
man?
 Why did Atticus shoot the dog? Why were the children not allowed
to go near the dog, even after it was shot dead?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
 What is a "nigger lover"? Why was Atticus considered a "nigger
lover"?
 What was the importance to Jem (the son) that Atticus was such a
good shot?
 Why wouldn't Atticus allow Jem (the son) to have a gun?
 When Atticus took the housekeeper, Cal, home from work, why did
she sit in the back seat of the car?
 What were the intentions of the group of men who confronted
Atticus at the jail during the night?
 Did Atticus and the Sheriff do the right thing to cover up the fact
that Boo had killed the villain? What if Boo went on to kill another
person?
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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BY HARPER LEE