Scout Finch is growing up in a hot, tired Alabama town, where there is nothing to buy and nothing to buy it with. She and her older brother, Jem, live with their father, Atticus, the local lawyer, and their cook, Calpurnia, close to downtown Maycomb. They're all related by blood or marriage to everyone in town, so it's a close-knit group to say the least. As our story begins, summer has just started. Scout is six, and Jem is ten, and they have just discovered a boy hiding in their next door neighbors turnip greens. He's a scrawny kid who's name is Dill, and the three become instant friends as soon as it's revealed that Dill has already seen "Dracula", which gives him instant credibility. As summer progresses and favorite games become old hat, Scout, Jem, and Dill become obsessed with making Boo Radley come out. Boo Radley lives up the street from Scout and Jem, and legend has it that he never comes out of his house. Any small crimes or mysterious happenings in town are said to be his work, and rarely will anyone pass the house alone at night. Their first raid consists of a dare between Dill and Jem. He must run to the Radley house, touch it, and run back. He finally does it, but only after 3 days careful thought and much ribbing from Dill. Chapter 2
When September rolls around and Dill leaves to go back home to Meridian, Scout realizes that she's starting her first year of school. After her first day, however, she's determined not to go back. After trying to explain the complicated backgrounds of some of the county folks to the new teacher, Scout lands herself into trouble again and again, and is not quite sure how. It should be obvious, she thinks, that offering Walter Cunningham a quarter for lunch is simply not done. They don't take help from anyone, and the reason why he doesn't have a lunch is because he can't afford one. When she tries to explain this to the new teacher, however, she gets her hands slapped by a ruler. When lunchtime finally rolls around, she's grateful to get out of class and go home. Chapter 3
Scout wastes no time paying back Walter Cunningham for getting her started on the wrong foot with the new teacher. It isn't until Jem comes and stops her that she quits tormenting him in the playground, and she nearly falls over when Jem invites the poor boy to lunch at their house. The day doesn't improve when she embarrasses Walter at the table and is forced to eat in the kitchen by Calpurnia. When she returns to school the day's drama isn't over. Miss Caroline, the teacher, is horrified to discover a cootie in the hair of Burris Ewell, a hulking, angry boy who quickly reduces Miss Caroline to tears as he slouches out of the room, his first and only day of school over. That evening Scout is weary from the day's crimes and begs Atticus not to send her back to school anymore. The fact that Miss Caroline forbade her to read and write anymore is really what's distressing her, and when Atticus strikes a deal with her that if she will concede to go back to school they'll continue reading together like always, she happily accepts. Chapter 4
As the schoolyear inches along, Scout begins to realize that she's far more educated than her peers, and even more so, perhaps, than her teacher. As construction paper and crayon Projects evolve day after day, she realizes she is just plain bored. As she walks home from school there is a huge oak tree that sits on the corner of the Radley lot. She passes it every day without incident, only one day she spots two pieces of chewing gum in a knot in the tree. After making sure it won't kill her she hastily crams it into her mouth, and Jem is furious with her when he finds out, convinced that it's poisoned by Boo Radley. During their walk home on the last day of school Scout and Jem find another treasure in the tree, this time two old, shined up pennies. When Dill arrives for the summer two days later the group resumes their...