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To Kill a Mockingbird

By murban0210 May 14, 2013 907 Words
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York City: Grand Central Publishing, 2003 To Kill a Mockingbird is a fiction novel that takes place in a small town in Alabama during the Depression, and is narrated by a little girl named Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. She is a rowdy little girl that has strong opinions, loves her family, and likes to play outside. Scout tries to get her father to excuse her from school because of the teacher that she doesn't like, Miss Caroline, who doesn't know the usual Maycomb culture. It shows how stubborn she is and that she has a very short temper for such a little girl. She loves her family and thinks her dad is a very good person, if not a little old. She and her brother Jem, who is also close to Scout, play outside all the time and even made a snowman of half dirt, half snow. Her father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer who cares for everyone and is very kind. She loves her father very much and goes to him for advice when her life gets difficult. Scout, Jem, and their friend Dill, are interested in the rumors about a man named Boo Radley, who lives in their neighborhood but never leaves his house and some people say that at night, he comes and peers through peoples windows. A tree on the way back from school near the Radley house has a hole where things are left for Scout and Jem, like pennies, chewing gum, and soap carved figures of a little boy and girl who look like Scout and Jem. They don't know where these gifts are coming from, and when they go to leave a note for the person who gives them the gifts, they find that Boo's brother has filled the hole with cement. The next winter brings sudden snow, and Miss Maudie, Scout's favorite neighbor, has her house catch on fire. While Jem and Scout watch the fire from near the Radley house, someone puts a blanket around Scout without her realizing it. Not until she goes home, and Atticus asks her where the blanket came from, does she realize that Boo Radley must have put it around her while she was watching Miss Maudie's burning house. Atticus takes a case involving a black man named Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a very poor white girl named Mayella Ewell. Mayella is a member of the notorious Ewell family, who Maycomb society refers to as "trash." The Finch family gets harsh criticism in the severely racist town because of Atticus's decision. But Atticus still goes through with the case. He knows Tom is innocent, but the white jury will never believe a black man over a white woman. Because Atticus is defending a black man, Scout and Jem are insulted and have trouble not getting in fights. At a Christmas gathering, Scout beats up her annoying cousin Francis when he says Atticus is ruining the family name by being an African American lover. As the trial date becomes nearer, Atticus's sister Alexandra comes to stay with the family. She is proper and old-fashioned and wants to make Scout into the perfect young lady, much to Scout's anger. Dill runs away from his home, where his mother and new father don't seem interested in him, and stays in Maycomb for the summer of Tom's trial. According to the Ewells, Mayella asked Tom to do some work for her while her father was out, and Tom came into their house and beat and raped Mayella until her father found them and scared him away. According to Tom, Mayella invited him inside, and then began to kiss him but Tom tried to push her away. When Bob Ewell arrived, he got angry and beat her, while Tom ran away scared. According to the sheriff's evidence, Mayella's bruises were on the right side of her face, which means she was punched with a left hand. Tom Robinson's left arm is useless because of an old accident; however Mr. Ewell leads with his left. Even though the evidence should prove Tom innocent the jury pronounces him guilty. Scout, Jem and Dill had sneaked into the courthouse to see the trial and sat in the balcony with the blacks. They are shocked at the decision because they think the evidence proves Tom's innocence. Atticus hopes for an appeal, but Tom tries to escape from prison and is shot and killed in the process. Mr. Ewell threatens Atticus and other people associated with the trial because he feels humiliated. He tries to get his revenge while Jem and Scout are walking home from the Halloween play at their school. He follows them home in the dark and attempts to kill them with a large knife. Jem breaks his arm, and Scout, who is wearing an inconvenient costume, is helpless throughout the attack. Suddenly Boo Radley stabs Mr. Ewell and saves the children. Scout finally has a chance to meet Boo. At the end of the night, the sheriff states that Mr. Ewell fell on his own knife so neither Boo nor Jem will have to be put on trial for murder. Scout walks Boo home and imagines how he must see the town. She finally understands what life might be like for the poor man. Boo goes inside, closes the door, and she never sees him again.

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