To Kill a Mockingbird


Chapter 1 to Chapter 5

Chapter One

Scout is the narrator, and begins the novel with a discussion about a broken arm. Her brother Jem had this unfortunate injury many years ago. She goes on to address her family history, and how they came to America a long time before she was ever born, where Simon Finch founded Finch's Landing. Recounting the history of her ancestors leads her to Atticus, who is her father. As she talks about her father, she begins to tell the tale that will make up the rest of the book, beginning in the summer of 1933. Scout is five at that time, and her brother is almost ten. They have been raised by their father since their mother died when Scout was two. She does not remember her mother very well, but Jem does. He is not always happy about his memories. The summer Scout is describing is different than others summers, because a boy named Dill comes to town to stay with relatives. He is an intelligent and talkative boy, and quickly becomes friends with Scout and her brother. The trio often plays together.

They spend the summer acting out stories they have heard or read, but they eventually run out of stories. At that point, Dill thinks it would be fun to lure a reclusive neighbor out of his house. Boo Radley has not been seen in years. He got into trouble when he was very young, and his father decided his punishment would be prison - in the house. Fifteen years after that, he stabbed his father, but the man refused to press charges or do anything about it. Eventually, Mr. Radley died and Boo's brother, Nathan, arrived at the house to live with Boo. Still, he would not come outside. Jem even runs over and touches the house on a dare, but nothing happens except a shutter that moves slightly. Scout wonders if Boo is watching them.

The entire novel is set between the time Scout turns five and the time she turns nine, but the first-person narration at the beginning of the story comes from an adult Scout who is much older. The voice fluctuates between adult and child, talking about the events as they took place and they looking back on...

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