To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter Summaries

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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter Summaries

CH. 1
* The story begins with an injury: the narrator’s brother Jem got his arm broken when he was thirteen. * While the arm is never quite as good as new, it doesn’t interfere with Jem’s mad football skills, so he doesn’t care much. * Years afterward, brother and narrator argue over where the story really starts: the narrator blames it on the Ewell family, while Jem (the older sibling by four years) puts the beginning at the summer they first met Dill. * The flash-forward conversation continues: the narrator says that if you want to get technical about it, everything began with Andrew Jackson, whose actions led to their forefather Simon Finch settling where they did. * The flash-forward becomes a flashback: Simon Finch was a pious and miserly Englishman who left his home country to wander around America, before settling in Alabama with his accumulated wealth, his family, and his slaves. * Simon’s homestead was called Finch’s Landing, and was a mostly self-sufficient estate run by Simon’s male descendents, selling cotton to buy what the farm couldn’t produce itself. * The wealth went away with the Civil War, but the tradition of living off the land at Finch’s Landing remained. * The current generation, however, has bucked the trend: Atticus, the narrator’s father, studied law in Montgomery, while his younger brother went all the way to Boston to become a doctor. * The only Finch left at the Landing is their sister Alexandra and her quiet, inactive husband. * After becoming a lawyer, Atticus returned to Maycomb, the county seat of Maycomb County, twenty miles from Finch’s landing. * Atticus saved his money to put his younger brother through med school. * Atticus feels at home in Maycomb, not least because he’s related to nearly everyone in the town. * Out of the flashback, into the present-time of the story (which we already know the narrator’s actually...