To Kill a Mockingbird - Quotes, Analysis, Key Events
Terms in this set (53)
-Unprejudiced and refers to racism as
"Maycomb's usual disease".
-Atticus wants to defend Tom Robinson so he can
"hold up my head in town".
Atticus remains constant throughout and acts as the moral centre that protects and teaches Maycomb.
"Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets"
-Judicial when disciplining Scout and Jem
"Atticus doesn't ever just listen to Jem's side of it, he hears mine too".
Contrasts to the other fathers presented within:
Mr Ewell mistreats his children
Mr Radley keeps Boo indoors
-Fights for justice and acts upon the respect he teaches,
"If I didn't I couldn't hold up my head in town... I couldn't even tell you or Jem not to do something again."
-Tells the court what truly happened and only what he saw at Bob Ewell's house, doesn't let prejudiced affect his witness account
-Compassionate towards Boo Radley and does his best to protect him;
"Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself."
-Tries to protect Tom is subtle ways by choosing Atticus to defend Tom to give him the best shot of justice
-Patronises Bob Ewell
-Gives a fair overview of the case to the jury, is not affected by prejudices within Maycomb.
-Doesn't conform to society's expectations of gender roles, she is a tomboy.
-She is inquisitive and defends Atticus.
-Atticus guides her morally and she learns from him and Miss Maudie of what true courage is.
-Scout is the narrator, switches between the perspective of an adult and an innocent child.
-This divide creates dramatic irony for both the narrative and the readership and demonstrates the contrast of Scout's innocence and how she has developed from a naive girl throughout.
Torments Boo at former, but comes to see things from Boo's point of view at end
-She is naive to begin with and her world is encompassed by games and stories but after the trial she matures and addresses the dangers of the adult world.
-She is forced to mature quickly because of the trial but remains to be the centre of innocence throughout the novel.
HAMARTIA: Her lack of understanding towards society
-Develops the most throughout the novel
"broke the remaining code of our childhood."
-Protects Scout and is angered by the unfairness that takes place inside the courtroom.
-Protects Atticus and undergoes a role reversal when Jem wants to defend Atticus outside of the jail.
-Understands suffering innocence of Boo
"I saw he had been crying; his face was dirty in the right places, but I thought it odd that I had not heard him".
-Initially Jem also takes part in the childish games,
"Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house... not waiting to see if his foray was successful."
Charles 'Dill' Baker Harris
Symbol of innocence?
"He wore blue linen shorts... his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff..."
Makes plans with Scout to get married and have a baby- perhaps to create a secure and loving family that he evidently does not have.
Has an active imagination and makes up the game of
"making Boo Radley come out."
His imagination is what allows to escape his unhappy home life.
"Maybe he doesn't have anywhere to run off to..."
Dill runs away from home as his parents want him to grow up, Dill, the symbol of innocence cannot imagine conforming to adulthood and so runs away to protect his innocence and naivity.
He runs to the contrast of the Finch family which provides a stable and loving home.
He runs out of the courtroom too when faced with issues within adulthood.
"For some reason Dill had started crying and couldn't stop."
DILL ESCAPES FROM PREJUDICE AND TRIES TO PROTECT THE INNOCENCE OF MAYCOMB.
He is very honest, "I'm just tellin' the truth".
-At first she scares the children
"the meanest old woman who ever lived"
and shouts at them when they pass her house;
"Don't you say 'hey' to me, you ugly girl!"
-It is revealed that she is addicted to morphine and wants to overcome this before she dies;
"the bravest woman"
This reflects how Atticus wants to try and fight for Tom in the trial, but he knows that he cannot win.
THEME: Moral courage
-Offers an alternative view to what bravery is, following the mad dog incident
"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand."
THEME: Shows that good and evil can in fact coexist.
Female influence for Scout and Jem.
Is trusted by Atticus, who defends her position in the house
Teaches the children their manners
"Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!"
Provides a link between the white and black communities- she understands the importance of fitting in.
"Suppose you and Scout talked colored-folks' talk at home it'd be out of place, wouldn't it? Now what if I talked white-folks' talk at church, and with my neighbors? They'd think I was puttin' on airs to beat Moses."
Acts as a symbol of hope, she is able to read and write, and also teaches her son Zeebo to do so. This provides a power of education that they could use their knowledge to change the attitudes of white people,
"Cant't read?.. can't but about four folks in First Purchase read... I'm one of 'em."
The Radley Family
Do not conform to the society of Maycomb, they worship at home and do not go to church.
"The shutters and doors of the Radley house were closed on Sundays."
Maycomb ostracise the family are and prejudiced to their differences.
Maycomb are hypocritical towards the Radleys. "Radley pecans could kill you." Infers that the Radley family are poison to society yet Miss Maudie later reveals that "one sprig of nutgrass can damage a whole yard" suggesting it is in fact the prejudices of Maycomb that are poisonous to society.
A mockingbird character- He is innocent and kind yet a victim of Maycomb's prejudices.
Tries to communicate with Scout and Jem by leaving them gifts and is friendly.
Boo protects Scout and Jem.
They soon realise that the reason Boo has
"stayed shut up inside" is "because he wants to stay inside."
"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."
Demonstrates the threat that evil (Mr Radley) can have upon innocence and goodness.
Dominates the imaginations of Scout, Dill & Jem
"Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were bloodstained."
"Well how'd you feel if you'd been shut up for a hundred years with nothin' but cats to eat?
Keeps Boo indoors so he is not embarrassed by his behaviour as "he got in with the wrong crowd".
Reinstates theme of family identity and outward appearances, "there are other ways of making people into ghosts."
His religious nature has a damaging effect on his family, "the Bible in the hand of one man is worse that a whisky bottle" in the hand of another.
Miss Maudie has a great female influence on Scout, "best lady I know."
She does not patronise and "Miss Maudie... never laughed at me unless I meant to be funny."
FAIR AND UNPREJUDICED: "She loved everything that grew in God's earth."
She tells that the gossip about Boo are false, "One spring of nutgrass can ruin a whole yard."
Is able to see past his prejudices to treat Tom with empathy,
"a senseless slaughter of a songbird."
Miss Stephanie Crawford
-Gossip of Maycomb;
"The neighbourhood scold"
-Member of the missionary circle
-Insensitive to the children as she tells them of the threats Bob makes to Atticus
-Spreads the false rumours about Boo Radley
"Miss Stephanie Crawford's tendency to mind other people's business was hereditary."
"Miss Rachel went off like the town fire siren"
"The most devout lady in Maycomb"
THEMES: Irony and hypocrisy
Mrs Merriweather embodies hypocrisy;
"There are some good but misguided people in this town... folks who think they're doing right... but all they did was stir 'em up"
She insults Atticus in front of Scout, yet is happy to sit in his house and eat his food to which Miss Maudie replies;
"His food doesn't stick going down, does it?"
-Hasn't moved away from Finch's Landing- not as open-minded.
-Conservative and prejudiced- vocal with her views.
-Takes pride in the Finch's history and roots.
-Towards the latter, she is demonstrated to be more sensitive- PROVIDES HOPE.
-Racist- objects to Calpurnia working with the children and taking them to church
-Brings up Francis to believe he is superior to the black community
-Has social prejudices that link to her pride of her roots.
-Sympathises with the Robinson's towards the end- provides hope that prejudiced views can be altered.
"Because—he—is—trash, that's why you can't play with him. I'll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what."
"I can't say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he's my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end. [...] It tears him to pieces"
"Your daughter gave me my first lessons this afternoon. She said I didn't understand children much and told me why. She was quite right."
-Uncle Jack's actions allows Scout to reveal how she has taken on Atticus' morals and teachings, using them to educate others.
-She proves to be wiser than a grown man.
Francis' perspective is influenced by that of Aunt Alexandra's.
He is not taught of the importance of empathy and so grows up as naturally prejudiced.
Lacks hope that change could take place in the future.
"White trash" - Lee does not give Bob Ewell redeeming qualities and so as a readership we cannot empathise with his situation. Makes trial verdict more shocking.
ARROGANT: "His chest swelled, and once more he was a little red rooster."
Atticus tries to "see the best in him" but misjudges him. Bob's prejudices have manifested so greatly, he was beyond hope or forgiveness.
Grows red geraniums within the rubbish filled home.
Suggests she is different from the rest of the Ewell's as she hopes for an improved life.
Reader are more likely to empathise for her, "she says what her papa do to her don't count."
She is isolated as she doesn't know what friends are and is defensive when Atticus calls her "ma'am".
"Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world." - Ironic as she is part of a huge family unit.
She does not fit in with the rest of her family but as the rest of her family are "trash", Maycomb make the assumption that she is too.
"Accustomed to strenuous labour."
-Lives behind the façade of being a drunk so people judge him for being a drunk, instead of the fact that;
"He's got a coloured wife and mixed chillun"
-Scout discovers he is kind and trusting in them as they are too young to have been corrupted by society and tells them
"it is only coca-cola"
Mr Link Deas
-Employs Tom and Helen
-Stands up for Tom in court
-Protects Helen from Bob
-Not affected by the prejudices in Maycomb
-Miss Gates educates the children that;
"persecution comes from people who are prejudiced," yet Scout overhears her later say at the courthouse;
"it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way too above themselves."
She is socially unaware as she is an outsider to Maycomb, shows how close-knit the microcosmic society is.
"Miss Caroline, he's a Cunningham... you'll get to know the country folks after a while."
Lee makes the education satirical,
"Now you tell your Father not to teach you anymore."
Scout learns more from outside the classroom, morally and socially.
Has child-like features as she is shown to be naive and socially unaware. She is a macrocosm of Scout, however Scout develops and matures beyond Miss Caroline's understanding.
Poor but respectful, contrast to the Ewells'
"Never took anything they can't pay back."
Lee shows here that not all poor and uneducated families are ignorant.
One Cunningham on the jury tries to acquit Tom, provides hope and demonstrates that the Cunningham's are supportive of those they respect- "they were for you tooth and nail."
Non conforming Dolphus Raymond
Jem & Scout
Extended metaphor and symbol of innocence.
Represents the treatment of innocent people in society who are harmless and honest yet treated poorly due to prejudice.
TOM: Helps Mayella without being paid yet is accused of rape;
"You're a mighty good fellow, it seems—did all this for not one penny?"
SCOUT: Her naivity puts her in danger when she confronts the mob but is also targeted by Ewell because she is a Finch.
"Hey, Mr Cunningham... how's your entailment gettin' along?"
Uses the morals Atticus has taught her to prove that good and evil can coexist and Mr Cunningham is not inherently evil, "he just has his blind spots".
"Shoot all the bluejays you want...but remember it's a sin mockingbird."
"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us".
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
THEMES: Irony & hypocrisy
-They insult and criticise all but themselves
-Scout sees that they are hypocrites;
'Ladies seemed to live in faint horror of men... but there was something about them I instinctively liked... they weren't "hypocrites."
-Harper Lee writes so Mrs Merriweather finishes Scout's thoughts and adds humour to the text, as well as irony. Although being critical to all but herself, Merriweather is unintentionally truthful to the reader for once.
Maycomb is a microcosm for a greater Southern America in the 1930s to show how prejudices of racism gradually manifested to a large segregation.
Great depression- "Maycomb was a tired old town when I first knew it."
The Radley Place
Associated with stories and games to frighten the children, exemplifies their overriding innocence and naivity at the start of the novel until later they
"When people's azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them. Any stealthy small crimes committed in Maycomb were his work" - Quick to blame the Radleys.
"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."
At the ending of the novel, Scout reflects on the events and has a vision.
When she is on the threshold of the Radley place she looks outwards rather than inside the house (MATURED) and "considers things" from Boo's point of view.
"Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him."
Reveals that for the whole novel Boo has been watching over the children and protecting them, wanting to look out for them as they had wanted to look in and find out about him, this perhaps makes Boo part of the community after all
"Why can't you just pull it up?... Why, one sprig of nutgrass can ruin a whole yard."
Scout's hamartia is her lack of understanding towards society and the evils within it.
Nutgrass represents prejudices within Maycomb that soon challenge the perspective of the whole society.
"Hey Mr Cunningham. How's your entailment gettin' along?"
THEME: Good versus evil
Scout's innocence overrides any evils and reminds of humanity.
"But in the secret courts of men's hearts, Atticus had no case..."
THEME: Prejudice and racism
-Evil exists in the core of humankind
-Scout has matured from an ignorant child to an adult who understands that racism is more than just being black or white.
-The prejudices of Maycomb are so strong that they even override evidence.
A coming of age story
"This case is as simple as black and white"
THEME: Injustice and racism
-Has two meanings, by literal account and how racism prevents Tom from getting justice.
"Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a negro comes up"
-Atticus is unprejudiced
"The impurity of the women doctrine"
THEME: Gender intolerance
"Not a white person will go near 'em but that saintly J. Grimes Everett"
"Nothing but sin and squalor"
THEMES: Irony, hypocrisy & ignorance
-Missionary circle demonstrate irony and hypocrisy as Mrs Merriweather speaks of Everett in an admirable manner.
-Everett is associating with black people and helping them yet Merriweather praises him.
-Atticus does the same for Tom, yet he is frowned upon and insulted.
-Women are supportive of the Mrunas in Africa, yet are disrespectful and would never help the black people in their own Community - IGNORANCE
"He that cometh in vanity departeth in darkness"
-Baptists criticise Miss Maudie for tending to her flowers as it is a sign of "vanity"
-Yet they are attending Tom's trial
"Negroes worshipped in it on Sunday and white men gambled in it on weekdays."
-Lack of respect
-Black community are treated as inferior
-Reinstates the hypocrisy that is inherent in Maycomb
-Existence of double standard that applies for the white and black community
"I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem who was four years my senior said it started long before that."
Scout's narrative voice switches between past and present, her naive voice dominates the central plot that creates dramatic irony for the reader.
"The house was once white with a deep front porch but had long ago darkened to the colour of slate-grey."
The innocence of the Radley place (white colour) has been tainted and damaged by the prejudices of Maycomb and preconceived judgements.
"He dined on raw squirrels and any cats that he could catch, that's why his hands are bloodstained."
Naive perceptions from the children exemplify their innocence
-Jury takes many hours to decide on verdict and one person argues that Tom is innocent
-Aunt Alexandra is shocked by Tom's death and realises the consequences of Maycomb's prejudice.
Black people are seen as inferior and it is the norm to talk about them in a derogatory manner.
Described as the "usual disease" of Maycomb- it will be difficult to change the prejudices as it is so common.
Misinformed and ignorant, believe that Africa is full of "sin and squalor".
Prejudices of racism override evidence as Tom is proved to be innocent yet is still found guilty, "but in the secret courts of mens' hearts, Atticus had no case."
CONTEXT: Scottsboro trials of 1931, 9 black men were accused and trialled for 'raping' two women.
Dolphus Raymond pretends to be a drunk as he "has mixed chillun" and would rather be discriminated for this than because of his family.
Aunt Alexandra has high levels of snobbery;
"Because—he—is—trash, that's why you can't play with him. I'll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what."
"Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches"
Women are not allowed to sit on the jury.
Women are expected to conform to their stereotypes,
"foot-washers think that women are a sin by definition."
Coexistence of Good and Evil
The mob is not inherently evil, when faced with the innocence of Scout they are reminded of their humanity and leave.
"I'll tell him you said hey, little lady."
Simple relationships contrast to the complexities of prejudice, children quickly forgive and forget.
Events force the children to grow up and present the suffering innocence.
"When we went into the house, I saw he had been crying, his face was dirty in the right places."
Jem realises the injustice as Nathan disconnects Boo from the outer world.
Education is satirised and appears to be hypocritical.
BUT it is important as the uneducated characters are ignorant in their views.
More education takes place outside the classroom, Atticus teaches Scout of morals.
Education is what divides the Finch family from the rest of Maycomb.
Scout is stripped of her identity and revealed to the racial prejudices of the trial.
-Shadowed in Tom Robinson's trial
-9 black men accused of raping two white women
-Found guilty despite medical evidence proving the women had not been raped.
"The Ku Klux's gone... it'll never come back"
-Ongoing fear of the Ku Klux Klan and their 'invisible empire'
-Number of members had dropped in the 1920s.