Answer key for To Kill a Mockingbird
1. Although Atticus did not want his children in court, he defends Jem's right to know what has happened. Explain, in your own words, Atticus's reasons for this. (Look at the speech beginning, “This is their home, sister.”
Atticus feels that the adults have made the world the way that it is and the children have to learn to live in that world. They can’t hide from it and need to be exposed to it as early as possible.
2. Miss Maudie tells Jem that “things are never as bad as they seem.” What reasons does she give for this view?
She names all of the people who helped Tom Robinson, such as the black community, Atticus, and Judge Taylor.
3. Why does Dill say that he will be a clown when he grows up? Do you think he would keep this ambition for long?
He wants to laugh at people all of the time. Answers will vary for the second question.
4. This story is set in the 1930s but was published in 1960. Have attitudes to racism remained the same (in the USA and the UK) or have there been any changes (for the better or worse) since then, in your view?
Answers will vary.
5. Why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus? Do you think his threat is a real one, and how might he try to “get” Atticus?
He feels Atticus made him look bad in front of the entire town. Answers will vary for the second question.
6. What do you think of Atticus's reaction to Bob Ewell's challenge? Should he have ignored Bob, retaliated or done something else?
He did the right thing by walking away. Bob was looking for a fight and Atticus wouldn’t give it to him.
7. What is “circumstantial evidence”? What has it got to do with Tom's conviction?
Circumstantial evidence is evidence that doesn’t absolutely prove guilt. Tom’s conviction was based entirely on circumstantial evidence, and not good c.e. at that.
8. What does Atticus tell Scout about why the jury took so long to convict Tom?
He tells her that a Cunningham was on the jury and didn’t want to convict. The jury actually had to think about the conviction before they did it.
9. Why does Aunt Alexandra accept that the Cunninghams may be good but are not “our kind of folks”? Do you think that people should mix only with others of the same social class? Are classdivisions good or bad for societies?
She tells Scout that they are not people that the Finch family should associate with because they are lower class. Answers will vary for the other questions.
10. At the end of this chapter, Jem forms a new theory about why Boo Radley has never left his house in years. What is this? How likely is it to be true, in your opinion?
He says he doesn’t leave the house because he chooses not to. This is likely to be true because Boo has found a place in which he is comfortable.
11. Do you think the missionary ladies are sincere in worrying about the “Mrunas” (a tribe in Africa)? Give reasons for your answer.
They are not sincere, as they “discuss” the Mrunas and then move on to town gossip and their snacks.
12. Compare the reactions of Miss Maudie and the other ladies when Scout says she is wearing her “britches” under her dress.
Miss Maudie takes Scout seriously and only laughs at Scout when she intends to be funny. The other ladies choose to make fun of Scout.
13. What is your opinion of the Maycomb ladies, as depicted in this chapter?
The ladies simply gossip and don’t truly care about anyone other than themselves.
14. Explain briefly how Tom was killed. What is Atticus's explanation for Tom's attempted escape? Do you agree with Atticus?
Tom is shot in an escape attempt. Atticus believes that Tom did this because he was tired of the white man dictating his future.
15. How, in this chapter, do we see Aunt Alexandra in a new light? How does Miss Maudie support her?
Aunt Alexandra shows concern for Atticus and Tom. Miss Maudie gives her a pep...
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