To kill a mocking bird notes

Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Black people, White people Pages: 6 (1979 words) Published: October 1, 2013
‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ notes

Major themes
Prejudice/discrimination (Racism, social misfits caused by social inequalities) Against blacks (Tom Robinson), and Boo.
Blacks VS Whites, Blacks VS Whites.
Courage
Atticus taking on Tom’s case
Jem protecting Scout
Boo saving children
Mrs Dubose freeing addiction
Growing up/education
In class
Outside class – Atticus, Calpurnia, personal experiences
Conflict
Good/evil, right/wrong: Perspective
The mockingbird motif
Tom and Boo
‘Sin’ – against conscience, against god; offence against god.

Chapter 1
Both child and adult voice. Narrative voice: child’s point of view, Adult voice: looking back at childhood. Child’s voice: allow readers to understand and make connections the way Scout does not; Scout, being a child, also does not censor or filter out anything but only reports; she is curious and innocent. E.g. “Maycomb was an old town… moved slowly then.”  Adult’s recollection. Background information. Starts with ending, where Jem’s arm is broken. Dill is only a visitor; no connection to Maycomb (or Maycomb’s adult world). Boo Radley: Focus of children’s curiosity. Surrounded by superstitions; described bizarrely—“malevolent phantom”, over six feet tall and eats squirrels and cats. Described as a nightmarish villain but eventually is changed into a kind human being. “The sheriff hadn’t the heart to put him in jail alongside Negroes”-page 17. This implied that jail was only for Negroes and that the whites could never make a mistake big enough for them to be treated like the Negroes. Chapter 2-3

Scout’s first day of school. Miss Caroline introduced: Education; fails as it does not meet needs of students. Scout victimised by Miss Caroline’s inexperience.
Scout’s well-meaning missteps (telling the teacher about Walter’s poverty, criticizing Walter for putting molasses on his meat and vegetables) earn harsh rebukes. Developing Scout’s nature: Essentially good.

Honest mistakes; evil, injustice, etc. does not disillusion her and Jem. Walter Cunningham Jr. – Poor. (Social classes)
Atticus encourages Scout to place herself in another person’s position before she judges that person. Atticus’s moral position of sympathy and understanding is contrasted with rigid, impersonal systems. Chapter 4-6

Finds gum and Indian heads.
Scout’s childhood adventures with Dill and Jem and the spectre of Boo Radley. Boo’s character slowly transforms to a human being from a monster even as the children play the “Boo Radley game”, attempt to pass a message to Boo and peek through his shutters. Boo’s presence first felt. First, the presents, then Miss Maudie’s insight into origins of Boo’s reclusiveness and sympathetic perspetive. Miss Maudie: shares Atticus’ sense of justice. Principal maternal figure. “Mr. Radley shot at a Negro in his collard patch.”- Page 60. People thought that only Negroes would sneak into others’ backyard at night and steal other people’s things. Chapters 7-8

Jem’s pants were mended: most likely by Boo.
Jem becoming more mature; strong sense of justice. Growing up. Nathan Radley plugs up hole in tree, Jem cries because he grasps that Nathan Radley had deprived Boo of his connection to the world; broken up Boo’s friendship attempt. Built snowman: Black on the inside, white on the outside. Even if a man’s skin colour is white, it does not always mean that he’s good, he might be black on the inside. Unseasonable snow, fire at Miss Maudie’s, appearance of mad dog. Snow and fire bringing out the best of people.

Atticus’ humbleness: “One-shot Finch”; killing the dog with one shot contrasting with Tom Robinson killed with seventeen shots—Tom suffered a lot more. Chapters 9-11
Fire in previous chapter: turning point from childhood world to drama of trial. Tom Robinson: Black man accused of raping white woman.
Atticus defending Tom: angering townspeople. Atticus aims to defend Tom and not just because he was supposed to; he wanted to. Even own family condemns his...
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