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At the beginning of the chapter, Scout is critical of Atticus because he seems old and doesn't do anything that she deems impressive. By the end of the chapter, her opinion has changed. Why?
She discovers her father is legendary for his marksmanship. He kills Tim Johnson, the rabid dog, with one rifle shot.
Why isn't Atticus proud of his shooting ability?
He says that a God-given talent is nothing to brag about because he didn't have much of a part to play in being a good shot. Also, he views hunting as destructive, and he doesn't want to use his shooting ability until the situation arises where he needs to use a gun.
What is Miss Stephanie Crawford's reaction to the death of Tim Johnson?
She's a sour lady who criticizes Atticus, even though he saved the day. She speculates that the dog wasn't even rabid and that the owner will be upset when he finds out Atticus killed his beloved dog.
When Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose pushes Jem too far, he loses his mind a bit, destroying her flowers and breaking Scout's baton. What other rough thing does he do in that moment? What message can we take from this part of the incident?
He also roughs up Scout, yanking her hair and kicking her. Students will conclude different things from this moment, but it's clear to the reader that anger will spill over and affect the innocent. I encourage students to keep an eye on this idea as we continue to read.
What was Jem's punishment? Did it fit his crime? What are your thoughts?
Jem must read to Mrs. Dubose each day for two hours. Answers will vary on the thoughts.
Why does Mrs. Dubose keep the children a few minutes longer each day?
She's trying to break her addiction to morphine and she uses their visit as a distraction. She's probably trying to stretch out the time between doses until she no longer needs anymore morphine.
What do Atticus and Mrs. Dubose have in common?
Mrs. Dubose, like Atticus, decided to fight a battle she would probably lose to overcome her drug addiction, yet she conquered it. Also, she decides to die free. She could have taken the easier road and died as an addict, but she wanted to do the more difficult, but righteous thing. Where Atticus took on a case to defend an African-American knowingly that he would probably lose even though Tom Robinson was Innocent.
Other than living on the same street, what do Boo Radley, Atticus, and Mrs. Dubose all have in common? What larger message is supported by examination of these three characters?
All three of these characters are different than what they appear to be to Scout. Boo isn't scary; he's nurturing. Atticus isn't old and feeble; he's a sharp shooter with a reputation. Mrs. Dubose isn't just a cranky old lady; she's also battling an addiction and shows compassion toward the end of the chapter by sending the flower to Jem. Many characters in this novel are much more than their outward appearance presents.
Why do Jem and Scout go to church with Calpurnia? Where is Atticus?
Atticus is at the state legislature's emergency session at the state capital. Calpurnia doesn't trust the kids will behave themselves at their church without Atticus (based on previous incidents), so she takes them with her to the African-American church. She also, the reader sees, is making a point about integration and equality. The children are, mostly, welcomed at the church and the congregation is grateful to the work of their father.
Why is the church named First Purchase?
It was the first thing that the former slaves of Maycomb purchased with their earnings as free men. It holds a lot of symbolic importance for the community.
Why can't Helen Robinson work and support her three children?
She wants to work, but no one will hire her because of the charges against her husband. The white community doesn't want to get involved with her family.
During the church service, we find out that Calpurnia is one of the few African-American residents of Maycomb who can read. The children get to know Cal better during this Sunday and realize lots of things about her that they didn't know, including that she's older than they realized. Look closely at this passage:
"But, Cal," Jem protested, "you don't look even near as old as Atticus."
"Colored folks don't show their ages so fast," she said.
"Maybe because they can't read..."What's humorous or interesting about this short passage?
The reader should chuckle at this because Jem is suggesting that ignorance is bliss. When you can't read, you can't get upset about the terrible things you read about in the newspaper or worry yourself about trying difficult legal cases. Atticus, perhaps, looks a little older than he is because he reads and worries so much.
What nasty surprise awaits the children at the very end of the chapter?
Aunt Alexandra has come for a visit and is waiting for them on the porch.
Scout and Aunt Alexandra communicate very poorly with each other. Is the fault more with one than the other, or are they equally at fault? Explain your answer.
Scout doesn't try at all to encourage conversation and Aunt Alexandra is harsh and critical in most of what she says. They're both at fault.
What's the reason the children are given as to why Aunt Alexandra has come to stay with them? What do you think is the real reason? Atticus says to Scout, "Your aunt's doing me a favor as well as you all. I can't stay here all day with you, and the summer's going to be a hot one." Explain the double-meaning in this line.
The children are told that they're getting older and Aunt Alexandra will be able to help Scout become more of a lady. The real reason likely has to do with the upcoming trial. Atticus will be busy with the legal case and won't be around as much to parent and protect his children. Aunt Alexandra will play more of the parent role this summer. Scout thinks that Atticus is referring to the temperature. The reader, however, knows that tensions in the town toward his family are going to heat up as the trial gets underway. Having his sister at the house will give him a bit more peace of mind about the safety of his children.
Aunt Alexandra is critical of many of Maycomb's families. According to Jem, what's ironic about this? What did Cousin Joshua do and how does he become a wedge between Aunt Alexandra and Atticus?
She says that the Finch family is pretty much related to everyone in town, so when she criticizes other families she's just about criticizing their own family. Their Cousin Joshua was a good writer, but lost his mind while at college and threatened to assassinate the president. Joshua blew up his own hand with the gun he'd planned to use and it cost the Finch family $500 to get him out of jail. Aunt Alexandra wants to pretend the scandalous incident never happened, but Atticus has already told Jem about this particular piece of juicy family lore. Aunt Alexandra wants to paint a pretty picture and preserve the family's reputation. Atticus is more interested in facing the truth.
How does Aunt Alexandra feel about Calpurnia? Explain why this is "in character" for Aunt Alexandra?
She doesn't like Calpurnia and wants Atticus to fire her, but Atticus refuses to do so. Alexandra is appalled that Calpurnia took the children to the African-American church and feels she is partly to blame for Scout's poor behavior. Alexandra is always looking for a reason to be displeased. Atticus defends Calpurnia and refuses to let her go, but this is a growing tension in the household.
What does Jem do that, to Scout, symbolizes the end of his childhood?
When she and Jem discover Dill hiding under her bed, he immediately calls for his father. Essentially, he turns in Dill.
Dill tries to explain to Scout why he did not want to stay with his mother and new stepfather. State his reasons briefly in your own words.
They aren't mean to him, but they aren't interested in spending time with him either. He feels like a third wheel and figures that they'll get along better without him around.
Twice now, Scout has considered running away. Dill did, in fact, run away from home. Why, according to Dill, hasn't Boo Radley ever run away from his terrible home?
Dill says that Boo probably doesn't have anywhere to run to.
What was the "sickening comic aspect" of Atticus' exchange with the small mob of men? What does this show us about the men in the small mob? About Atticus?
Upon later reflection, Scout realizes that the entire exchange was completed in near-whispers because Atticus told the men to be quiet and not awaken Tom Robinson. This is ironic, of course, because these men want to kill Tom, yet they follow Atticus' instructions and keep their voices low. This shows that the men in the mob are basically good guys and respect Atticus. They are swayed by their emotions, but ultimately don't hurt anyone. This scene also shows us that Atticus is a powerful force; people listen to him and follow his direction.
Why does Jem openly defy Atticus and refuse to leave?
He knows that his father is in danger and refuses to abandon him. Jem's defiance shows him growing into his manhood. He's doing the right thing by staying.
What does Scout's childish attempt at conversation accomplish? Explain.
She successfully diffuses the tension by engaging Mr. Cunningham in conversation. She is largely responsible for ensuring that no violence occurs outside of the jail that night.
Why was Atticus so affectionate toward Jem, even after Jem disobeyed him?
Jem did the right thing and followed his own conscience even when he was directed by an authority figure to do the opposite. This willingness to do the difficult but right thing is exactly what Atticus has been trying to teach his children all along, so he is pleased.
Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evidently a complicated and interesting person. Describe his way of life and comment on its effect upon the town.
He is white and wealthy, but chooses to live in the "colored" part of town with an AfricanAmerican woman who has borne him many "mixed" children. He drinks liquor out of a Coca-Cola bottle hidden in a paper bag, so as not to offend the proper ladies walking about. He's an independent soul who does not care what the rest of Maycomb thinks about this unconventional way. Interestingly, it reads as though Jem (via Atticus' influence, no doubt) respects him.
Jem says that "mixed" children are sad because they don't belong anywhere. What does he mean? Is having a sense of belonging important in life? Explain your thoughts.
Because the children are half-white/half-black, they aren't accepted by either group. It is true that people need to have a place where they feel connected to other people, whether in a friendship or family group. Even though some people prefer isolation, humans are pack animals and we like the comfort and security of a group.
Why didn't Atticus tell his children that he had to defend Tom Robinson, and that he was appointed by the court and didn't really have a choice about taking the case?
It's true that Atticus was assigned the case, but he also wants to be the one to defend Tom and he wants to do the best job he can. If he said that he was only representing Tom because he was required to do so, that would be an excuse. By omitting this part of the situation in his conversations with his children, he is showing them that he's choosing to do the right thing in a difficult situation, and that's the lesson he wants to teach. To do otherwise would lessen the effectiveness of the message.
Why do the four men give up their seats for Jem, Scout, Dill, and Reverend Sykes? What does this show us?
The men up in the balcony designed for African-Americans give up their plum seats because of the Reverend's request to do so. This move shows the community's respect for the religious leader. It also shows that the black community respects Atticus' children and understand that this trial is something they should witness. Perhaps the children will be the next generation to take everyone another step closer to justice.
As the examination begins in the courtroom, Atticus' table is bare. What does this show us?
There are different ways to read this, but this is a sign of Atticus' intelligence, preparation, and/or confidence. He doesn't need any reference materials. because he knows the case inside-and-out; he knows exactly what he's going to say and do.
Reverend Sykes has second thoughts about allowing the children to stay and listen to the graphic testimony, but ultimately relents to Jem and allows them to stay. Why doesn't Rev. Sykes force them to leave?
There's two possible reasons. First, no black man can order a white person, even a white child, around in this time and town. Jem presents himself as nearly grown, so he is the authority in the conversation. Second, none of them wants to miss a minute of the testimony. If Sykes made a fuss, he'd miss out on hearing what's happening in the courtroom.
Why didn't Mr. Ewell have a doctor check out his daughter? What does this show us about the man?
He says he never thought to do so because he's never taken any of his children to the doctor. Also, it would cost $5, which he seems to view as a waste of money. This answer shows several things: he neglects his children, is distrustful of authority, and is cheap. It should also raise our suspicion that Mayella didn't need a doctor because she hadn't actually been raped.
What's compelling about the fact that Mr. Ewell is left-handed?
Since Mayella was beaten on the right side of her face, it would've had to have been a left-handed attacker who did the damage. Tom, we soon learn, was disfigured in an equipment accident as a boy and has no use of his left arm. Mr. Ewell, however, has full power in his left arm.
What does Atticus do that makes Mayella Ewell think that he's making fun of her? What does this show us about Mayella's life?
He refers to her as "ma'am" and "Miss Mayella," which are both terms of respect. No one has ever addressed her with such respectful terms, so she thinks he must be mocking her. This is sad. We should pity Mayella here because she's been treated roughly and disrespected her entire life.
What is so important about Tom Robinson's physical appearance? What, according to the testimony, does this prove beyond a doubt?
His left arm is about 12 inches shorter than his right and he has no use of his left hand, due to a childhood accident with some farm equipment. It would be physically impossible for him to hold Mayella down with hand/arm and beat her with his left hand. He could not have done what Mayella testified he did; she's caught in an obvious lie.
What does Scout notice about Mayella as she leaves the witness stand and passes Atticus' defense table?
Scout has never seen anyone stare at another person with so much hatred as Mayella stares at Atticus.
Why does Atticus mention Tom's previous record of conviction? Explain Tom's version of the events on the evening of Nov. 21.
It shows the jury that he has nothing to hide. It's also better for the defense to admit something like that right up front to the jury, rather than having the prosecutor be the one to introduce that type of potentially damaging information about the defendant's background. Mayella sent all of the children to town to get ice cream and then lured Tom into her house, where she threw herself on him. He resisted, but didn't want to hurt her. Her father saw them tussling through the window and yelled at his daughter for being a *****, trying to fool around with a black man. Tom knew he was in a jam, so he ran home, scared.
In that moment with Mayella, Tom is in a no-win situation. Explain the "subtlety of Tom's predicament."
If he hits Mayella to get her to let go of him, he'll be killed for striking a white woman. If he runs, though, it'll look like he's guilty of something nefarious. In that moment, he runs because he is scared, but, of course, people view that as an action of a guilty man. Tom explains that any black man in that situation would run.
How is Mr. Link Deas heroic?
He stands up and publicly declares that Tom is a good worker, a good man. Deas is taking a social risk in doing this, as most of the white people of Maycomb had already determined Tom was guilty before they'd even heard a word of testimony. Deas, though, follows his heart and speaks up for his employee/ friend.
Why was it a "mistake" for Tom to say that he felt sorry for Mayella?
The white community finds it offensive that a black man would feel sorry for a white woman because it implies that Tom thinks of himself in a position of being better than her. It sounds uppity to the white people in the room, even though he doesn't mean it that way.
Dill becomes physically sensitive at the end of the chapter, so he and Scout leave to get some fresh air. Is Dill too sensitive? What's the author's message in having Dill become ill?
Dill is not too sensitive. Everyone should be sickened by the injustice being served to Tom in the courtroom. It's outrageous that the baseless charges have even come to trial. The author has earlier told us that children are better able to view the world as it really is, since they aren't colored by their biases yet. Dill has an unfiltered view of right and wrong; the treatment Tom is facing is just plain wrong.
At the beginning of the chapter, we find out that Mr. Raymond sips only Coca-Cola from a paper sack, deliberately pretending to be drunk. Why does he do this?
He says it makes it easier for people to accept his unconventional lifestyle choices if they think he's a drunkard. He says the drunkenness is a reason that people can point to as an explanation of things they do not understand.
Why does Mr. Raymond tell Scout and Dill about his life? Scout says that Mr. Dolphus Raymond was "an evil man." Is she right? Explain your answer.
He knows that Dill was made ill by the injustice he witnessed. He says that children see things as they really are, so he doesn't mind if they know his secret. No, he's not evil, just misunderstood. Mr. Raymond is another character who forces Scout to challenge her thinking about appearance.
Why, according to Atticus, did Mayelle throw her false accusation at Tom?
Like a child refusing to take responsibility for her actions, she throws blame back on the victim. She is embarrassed that she's broken a social norm by trying to seduce (awkwardly) a black man and she doesn't want to face the criticism of the community. She's also trying to protect her father, the one who probably actually beat her.
Jem is confident that Atticus has won the case, but Atticus is not as certain. Write the line of text that shows Atticus knows he'll lose, but that he's not ready to take away Jem's hope.
When Atticus tells the children to go home for supper and that they can return afterward, even though he suspects the verdict will be delivered by the jury before the children are able to return, Jem says, "You think they'll acquit him that fast?" Then, "Atticus opened his mouth to answer, but shut it and left us." Atticus suspects the jury will return quickly with a guilty verdict, but he can't bring himself to dash Jem's hopes.
Why do the people in the balcony gallery stand when Atticus leaves the courtroom?
They stand to show respect. Yes, Atticus lost the case, but he fought valiantly. There's honor in the fight and they recognize that he launched the best defense possible.
Why is a long-deliberating jury a good sign? How does Scout "know" the verdict before she hears it?
Clearly, there's some dissension. At least some of the jurors think Tom is not guilty. She notices that the jury members don't look at Tom, a classic signal that they are about to convict the defendant.
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