The first five chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird introduce the setting, atmosphere, theme, and many different characters, who have unique characteristics. The theme of prejudice is also developed in this introductory section. The Finch family and some of their neighbours are introduced as well, along with important elements such as the Radley house.
The Radley house is an important element of mystery in the beginning chapters. As Scout was describing the setting, she described the mysterious house by saying, "The Radley Place was inhabited by an unknown entity the mere description of whom was enough to make us behave for days on end," (Lee 6). Dill, who was from Meridian, Mississippi, was fascinated with the Radley house, and would stare at it for long periods of time. The house had darkened to the colour of the slate-gray yard around it. Johnson grass and rabbit-tobacco grew in abundance on the front yard. Inside of the house, people said there lived a "malevolent phantom" named Boo Radley (Lee 8). He supposedly went out at night and peeped into other people's windows. Scout also mentions, "When people's azaleas froze in a cold snap, it was because he had breathed on them." (Lee 9) Tall pecan trees shook their fruit into the schoolyard, from the Radley chickenyard. However, the nuts would lay untouched by the children, as it was said that Radley pecans would kill anyone who ate them (Lee 9).
Different types of prejudice are evident in this chapter. For instance, Scout refers to Walter as a "Cunningham", and this automatically places him in the poor class (Lee 20). Miss Caroline displays prejudice towards Scout because she can read. Scout is singled out after she reads to the class, and Miss Caroline accuses her of her father teaching her how to read (Lee 17). It seems as though more serious types and instances of prejudice will develop as the story progresses.
Atticus Finch is a respectable man and an example of his nature can be seen when Walter...
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