To Kill a Mockingbird Plot Summary
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story of Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, in 1930's Alabama. Through their neighborhood meanderings and the example of their father, they grow to understand that the world isn't always fair and that prejudice is a very real aspect of their world no matter how subtle it seems.
The summer when Scout was six and Jem was ten, they met Dill, a little boy who spent the summer with his aunt who lived next door to the Finches. Dill and Jem become obsessed with the idea of making Boo Radley, the neighborhood recluse, come out of his home. They go through plan after plan, but nothing draws him out. However, these brushes with the neighborhood ghost result in a tentative friendship over time and soon the Finch children realize that Boo Radley deserves to live in peace, so they leave him alone.
Scout and Jem's God-like father, Atticus, is a respected and upstanding lawyer in small Maycomb County. When he takes on a case that pits innocent, black Tom Robinson against two dishonest white people, Atticus knows that he will lose, but he has to defend the man or he can't live with himself. The case is the biggest thing to hit Maycomb County in years and it turns the whole town against Atticus, or so it seems. Scout and Jem are forced to bear the slurs against their father and watch with shock and disillusionment as their fellow townspeople convict an obviously innocent man because of his race. The only real enemy that Atticus made during the case was Bob Ewell, the trashy white man who accused Tom Robinson of raping his daughter. Despite Ewell's vow to avenge himself against Atticus, Atticus doesn't view Ewell as any real threat.
Tom Robinson is sent to a work prison to await another trial, but before Atticus can get him to court again, Tom is shot for trying to escape the prison. It seems that the case is finally over and life returns to normal until Halloween night. On the way home from a pageant, Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout in the darkness. After Jem's arm is badly broken, their ghostly neighbor, Boo Radley, rescues Scout and her brother. In order to protect Boo's privacy, the sheriff decides that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife while he was struggling with Jem. Boo Radley returns home never to be seen again.
Through the events of those two years, Scout learns that no matter their differences or peculiarities, the people of the world and of Maycomb County are all people. No one is lesser or better than anyone else because they're all people. She realizes that once you get to know them, most people are good and kind no matter what they seem like on the outside.