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Nelle Harper Lee was born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, a small Alabama town. Lee, a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, is the daughter of Amasa Coleman and Frances Fincher Lee.
Lee's father was a lawyer in Monroeville, much like Atticus Finch in Maycomb County. Lee was educated in the public schools of Monroeville, and was a childhood friend of Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, The Glass Harp, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. After high school, she attended Huntington College in Montgomery, Alabama from 1944 to 1945. Four years later, Lee went to the University of Alabama to study law. While there, Lee contributed to several campus publications. She left the university six months before completing her degree and struck out for New York and a literary career.
During the 1950s Lee worked as a reservations clerk before she gave up the job to focus intensely on her writing. A literary agent who'd read her manuscript of three essays and two short stories encouraged her to expand one of the stories into a novel. This work became her first and last novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). This work won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the Alabama Library Association Award and the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In 1962 she received the Bestsellers' paperback of the year award. Lee's novel remained on the bestseller list for over eighty weeks. To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into ten languages and adapted for film by Horton Foote. The movie was released in 1962 and starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.
"Although occasionally faulted as melodramatic, To Kill a Mockingbird is widely regarded as one of the most sensitive and revealing portraits of the American South in contemporary literature."
Edgar H. Shuster is quoted in World Literature Criticism as saying, "The achievement of Harper Lee is not that she has written another novel about race prejudice, but rather that she has placed race prejudice in a perspective which allows us to see it as an aspect of a larger thing; as something that arises from phantom contacts, from fear and lack of knowledge or 'education' that one gains through learning what people are really like when you 'finally see them.'"
Since the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, Lee has contributed a few nonfiction pieces to national magazines, but has written nothing else of great note.
Blackwell, Louise. "Lee, Harper." Southern Writers: A Biographical Dictionary. ed. Robert Bain, Joseph M. Flora, and Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Louisiana State University Press: Baton Rouge, 1979.
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1960.
"Lee, Harper." Biographical Dictionary. New York: Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd., 1997.
"Lee, Harper." World Literature Criticism: 1500 to present. ed. James P. Draper. vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992.
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.
Scout Finch: Originally named Jean Louise Finch, Scout is the narrator. In the story she is looking back as an adult to the two years of her life when she learned about courage and kindness and the importance of doing what is right. She learned from her father and her neighbors that doing what is right isn’t always rewarded, but it’s the right thing to do and that protecting innocence is a large part of that.
Jem Finch: Scout’s older brother, Jem is Scout’s primary source of knowledge, and he takes responsibility for her in most instances. As Jem grows older, he finds it difficult to deal with the hypocrisy and cruelty of people, but Atticus helps him work through some of that disappointment.
Atticus Finch: Scout and Jem’s father, Atticus is a lawyer in Maycomb County. When he undertakes to defend Tom Robinson, accused of rape, he unknowingly puts his children in danger. Atticus is a God-like father who teaches his children to be respectful and honest. He is ethical and fair in his work and his home, and his children respect him very much. He teaches them about courage and kindness through his own example and he is a well-respected member of the Maycomb community.
Dill Harris: Charles Baker Harris (Dill) is the little boy who spends the summers with his aunt next door to the Finch family. Dill is Scout and Jem’s dearest friend and they spend the summers playing and trying to find ways to make Boo Radley come out. Dill asked Scout to marry him during his second Maycomb summer, and he returns to endure with them the most difficult summer of their lives -- the summer Tom Robinson’s case goes to court. While they watch the trial, Dill gets upset about the way the prosecuting attorney treats Tom while he’s on the stand. Dill can’t understand why anyone would want to be so cruel to another human being.
Calpurnia: The colored woman who cooks for the Finch family, Calpurnia is the surrogate mother in the family because Scout’s mother died when Scout was only two. She and Scout have a love-hate relationship that eases when Scout finally starts school. Calpurnia is the source of many arguments between Atticus and his sister, Alexandra, because Alexandra wants Atticus to let Cal go, but Atticus insists that she is part of the family and so she remains.
Boo Radley: Boo Radley (Arthur) is the object of fascination for Jem, Scout, and Dill. He is a recluse who has remained in the house down the street from the Finch house for years. When he was younger he got into some trouble when he became involved with a group of rowdy kids from Old Sarum. One night they resisted arrest by Maycomb County’s beadle and locked him in the courthouse outhouse. After that, Arthur’s father, Mr. Radley, took him home and he wasn’t seen again for fifteen years. But it was said that one day Boo Radley stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors while cutting newspaper clippings for his scrapbook. For this he was locked in the courthouse basement for many years before he came home again. From these stories learned from gossiping neighbors, Jem, Scout, and Dill made ghost stories of Boo Radley, and the other children in town were afraid of him as well. They said that he only came out at night to eat cats and squirrels, and he was the local spook. Boo, however, begins to win Scout and Jem over by leaving gifts for them in the knothole of an oak tree until his brother, Nathan, cements the knothole. Boo even covers Scout with a blanket on a cold night she and Jem spent in front of the Radley house while Miss Maudie’s house burned down. Boo was so quiet that Scout never even realized he’d covered her shoulders with the blanket until after the fact. After all the children’s attempts to drag Boo Radley from his house, he ends up saving them from Bob Ewell.
Bob Ewell: Father of the bunch of Ewells who only attend school on the first day so the truancy lady will leave them alone. He is an alcoholic who poaches game to feed his family because he spends whatever money they have on booze. He accuses Tom Robinson of raping his daughter and has him thrown in jail, and although the whole town knows the Ewells are not to be trusted, Tom Robinson is convicted because he’s black.
Tom Robinson: Tom is a respectable, humble, kind Negro whom Atticus is defending against the charge that he raped Mayella Ewell, daughter of Bob Ewell. Atticus knows he will lose because Tom is black, but he also knows that Tom is innocent and that he must defend him. Tom was only trying to help Mayella because no one else would, but she made advances that he refused and her father saw them. She claimed that Tom raped her and beat her, but there was no way he could have done it. All of her bruises were on the right side of her face, but Tom’s left hand was a withered and useless appendage he’d caught in a cotton gin as a child. Tom was sent to a work prison after his conviction and Atticus was expecting a new trial soon, but Tom was shot trying to escape the prison before Atticus could get him out of jail.
Miss Caroline: Miss Caroline is Scout’s young first-grade teacher who gets on Scout’s bad side by telling her that she can’t read with Atticus anymore because he doesn’t know how to teach. She also whips Scout on the first day of school because she misunderstands when Scout tells her that Walter Cunningham is poor and that’s why he doesn’t have a lunch. Miss Caroline had a trying day that day because not only was Scout unintentionally causing her problems, but she also had a run-in with Burris Ewell who cursed her and made her cry before he left the school that afternoon.
Walter Cunningham: Walter is the son of a local farmer whom Atticus helped with a legal problem regarding his land. The Cunninghams are a poor family who pays their debts with the yield of their crops. Scout gets in trouble for explaining that Walter won’t borrow any money for lunch from Miss Caroline because he can’t pay her back. After Jem rescues Walter from Scout’s abuse on the playground later that day, Walter goes home with them for lunch and gets Scout into trouble again because she questions him when he pours molasses all over his lunch.
Burris Ewell: Burris Ewell makes his appearance on Scout’s first day of school. Miss Caroline notices a ‘cootie’ crawling in his hair, and when she sends the filthy child home to bathe and wash his hair, he curses her and tells her that he’s done his time by coming to the first day of school. He has been to the first day of first grade for three years, and he never shows up again after that. All of the Ewell kids do this. He challenges Miss Caroline to make him stay and then reduces her to tears with all sorts of horrible insults when she sends him away. He comes from the wretched Ewell family of Maycomb County, which everyone leaves to their own filth and rancor.
Miss Stephanie Crawford: Miss Stephanie lives in the same neighborhood as the Finch family. She is a gossip and a busybody tattletale. Miss Stephanie is one of the main sources for stories about Boo Radley.
Miss Maudie Atkinson: Miss Maudie is a neighbor who allowed Jem and Scout free reign of her yard as long as they stayed out of the flowers she worked so hard to maintain. She was always out in her yard working during the daytime and looking like an elegant lady on her front porch in the evenings. She had grown up with Atticus and his brother, Jack, and she and Scout became close one summer when Jem and Dill often excluded Scout from their games. Miss Maudie’s house burns down on the coldest night anyone can remember, and that’s when Boo Radley sneaks up behind Scout and covers her with a blanket without her even knowing he is there.
Nathan Radley: Nathan Radley is Boo’s older brother who moved back to Maycomb County from Pensacola when his father died.
Mr. Radley: Mr. Radley was Boo and Nathan’s father, a very religious, strict man who walked to town and back home once a day and never spoke to anyone when they greeted him. He died when Jem and Scout were a few years younger, but Boo didn’t even come out of the house then.
Mrs. Radley: Mrs. Radley is Boo and Nathan’s mother, and her only visible function in the family is to come out onto the porch and sweep occasionally. Mrs. Radley dies just before the cold snap when Miss Maudie’s house burns down.
Mr. Avery: Mr. Avery is a fat neighbor who tells Jem and Scout that the weather only changes because of bad children like them. So when it snows just a little, Jem (with Scout’s help) constructs a snowman that looks just like Mr. Avery.
Aunt Alexandra: Alexandra is Atticus’ sister who lives with her husband at Finch Landing, the old homestead. She is constantly nagging Atticus about how he raises Scout because she’s a tomboy.
Uncle Jack: Jack is Atticus’ younger brother who is a doctor in Boston. He comes to stay with Atticus, Jem, and Scout for a week every Christmas, and the kids love him. It is he who takes Scout aside when she’s going through her cussing phase and convinces her to quit because he doesn’t like to hear such words.
Miss Rachel: Miss Rachel lives next door to the Finch family, and her nephew, Dill, comes to stay with her every summer and becomes close friends with the Finch kids.
Simon Finch: Simon was the first Finch in the United States. He sailed across the Atlantic from his Cornwall home because of persecution against the Methodist church, and he ended up in Alabama making money as an apothecary. He built the family homestead known as Finch’s Landing and began the Finch family line. He lived to an old age and died wealthy.
Francis Hancock: Francis is Scout and Jem’s cousin. They see Francis at Christmas when they go visit their Aunt Alexandra at Finch’s Landing, but they don’t really like him very much. The Christmas after Atticus took on the Tom Robinson case, Scout beat Francis up for saying mean things about Atticus, and her Uncle Jack whipped her for it before he heard her side of things.
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose: Mrs. Dubose is a sickly old neighbor two houses down from the Finches. She is a crotchety old woman who yells mean things at Scout and Jem about how they’ll amount to nothing when they grow up. Jem takes her abuse until she says something mean about Atticus, and that finally gets to him. That afternoon on his way back from town Jem takes Scout’s new baton and breaks off all the blossoms of Mrs. Dubose’s camellia bush. Atticus sends him down to apologize to her and she insists that Jem read to her for two hours every afternoon for a month. He does it and hates every minute of it. Not long after his sentence ends, Mrs. Dubose dies and leaves Jem a perfect camellia blossom. Atticus explains that she was a morphine addict, and she died after freeing herself from her addiction. Atticus considers her one of the bravest people he knows and he wanted Jem to see that about her.
Mr. Link Deas: Mr. Link Deas owns the cotton fields that Tom Robinson worked in. He stood up in court after Atticus questioned Tom, and insisted that Tom was a good man who’d worked for him for eight years and never caused any trouble. His outburst, although meant to help Tom, got Mr. Deas thrown out of the courtroom, and his words were stricken from the record.
Reverend Sykes: Reverend Sykes is the preacher at Calpurnia’s church who goes out of his way to be kind to Scout and Jem. He makes them feel welcome when they accompany Cal to church. At the courthouse, he takes them up to the balcony where the colored people are sitting because all the seats on the first floor are taken.
Heck Tate: Heck is the Maycomb County sheriff who hands over his gun to Atticus when confronted with a rabid dog. He’s also one of the men in the group who comes to talk to Atticus about the danger of having Tom Robinson locked up in the Maycomb County jail. He didn’t want to be responsible if Tom got lynched.
Mr. Underwood: Mr. Underwood is the editor, writer, and printer for The Maycomb Tribune. Although he is a bigot, he hides in his office next to the jailhouse to protect Atticus and Tom Robinson from the Old Sarum mob that tries to take Tom from the jail to lynch him.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Cunningham was one of the men from Old Sarum who came to lynch Tom Robinson but was unsuccessful because of Scout, Jem, and Dill’s interruption. He was also one of Atticus’ clients when he needed legal help with a land problem. Scout and Jem had taken his son, Walter, home from school to have lunch with them on their first day of school. When Scout recognized him and began to talk to him on a personal level, he was convinced to lead the Old Sarum mob back home without hurting anyone.
Mayella Ewell: The girl Tom Robinson is accused of raping.
Judge Taylor: Judge Taylor is the Maycomb County judge who presided over the Tom Robinson trial. He is an informal man who runs his court with ease.
Mr. Gilmer: Mr. Gilmer is the solicitor from Abbottsville who comes to town when court is in session. He is the prosecutor in the case against Tom Robinson, and he and Atticus are friends. The way that he questions Tom Robinson in his cross-examination upsets Dill because Dill thinks he’s being mean to him. Scout thinks that Mr. Gilmer wasn’t really trying very hard in this case because she’d seen him be a lot rougher on other defendants, but it still bothered Dill nonetheless.
Mr. Dolphus Raymond: Mr. Raymond is understood to be a chronic alcoholic. He comes through town bobbing and weaving and drinks from a brown paper bag. He is wealthy, owns one whole side of the riverbank and is from an old family, but lives by himself with his colored woman and their mixed children. When Scout and Dill leave the courtroom because Dill is so upset, they meet Mr. Raymond and discover that he doesn’t drink whiskey from a paper sack -- it’s Coke. He does it so that people will believe that alcoholism is why he lives the way he does rather than face the fact that he lives with colored people because he wants to.
Mrs. Merriweather: A pious old church member who attends one of Alexandra’s missionary teas and proceeds to humiliate Alexandra by going on and on about people who do things thinking they’re right when really they’re just stirring up trouble in relation to Atticus defending Tom Robinson in court. Miss Maudie, the Finch’s neighbor and long-time friend, summarily hushes Mrs. Merriweather.
Cecil Jacobs: Cecil Jacobs is Scout’s classmate who scares her and Jem as they’re walking to the high school pageant on Halloween. On their way home, Scout and Jem believe that Cecil is following them again in an attempt to repeat his prank, but it’s really Bob Ewell preparing to kill them to get revenge against Atticus for making him look like an idiot and a liar in court.
Miss Gates: Miss Gates was the teacher Scout discovered to be a hypocrite. Miss Gates preached to her class the evilness of Hitler’s prejudice but didn’t realize the same error in her own heart. Scout remembered that after the trial she’d overheard Miss Gates talking about how right the jury was to put black people back into their place because they’d been getting too high and mighty lately.
The Radley Place: The children of Maycomb County believe that the Radley Place is evil and haunted. They run past it whenever they cannot avoid going by it, and they won’t eat the pecans that fall into the schoolyard from the pecan tree that grows in the Radley yard because they think they’re poisoned.
Knothole: The knothole is in a tree in front of the Radley place, and Scout and Jem begin finding little treasures waiting for them. They find chewing gum, two pennies, and a ball of twine, soap carvings of themselves, and a pocket watch that doesn’t work. Boo Radley leaves these treasures for the kids, and they keep them safely in a trunk in Jem’s room. They have established communication with Boo, but then Nathan Radley cements over the knot in the tree as a way to end the communication and claims that the tree was dying. Jem and Scout are crushed.
Blanket: On the coldest night Maycomb County has seen in a long time, Jem and Scout are watching Miss Maudie’s house burn, from a safe vantage point on the Radley property. Scout is freezing, and she doesn’t notice until Atticus points it out that she has acquired a brown blanket without even realizing it. Boo sneaked out of the Radley house and covered her with the blanket while she was absorbed in watching the fire.
Jem’s Pants: While Jem, Scout, and Dill were trespassing on Radley property and trying to peer in windows, someone who came out on the back porch scared them off. In their haste to escape, Jem’s pants got caught in the fence so he left them there. When he sneaked back to get them later that night, they were folded across the fence and the rips were crudely sewn. Boo Radley had repaired them for him knowing that he’d come back to get them.
Finch’s Landing: The old homestead built by Simon Finch, Scout and Jem’s ancestor. Atticus’ sister, Alexandra, and her husband live at Finch Landing, and every Christmas Scout and Jem are forced to go visit with their father. Their Uncle Jack stays with them for a week then, and they enjoy that, but the Christmas Day trip to visit Aunt Alexandra is a source of aggravation for both Scout and Jem because they have to play with their cousin, Francis.
Ewell Family: The Ewell family is the most wretched family in Maycomb County. The father is a drunkard, and they have no mother. The children show up at school on the first day and then don’t return until the first day of the next year. They are filthy and uncouth, and Scout blames their family for Jem’s broken arm.
Maycomb County: Maycomb County is where Scout, Jem, and Atticus live. It’s a small, Alabama town that is old and set in its ways. Everyone in Maycomb has been there forever, and everything is public knowledge as it is in most small towns.
Tim Johnson: Tim Johnson is an old dog who wanders Maycomb County as the community pet until it gets Rabies and Atticus has to shoot it to save the neighborhood. Before this moment, Scout and Jem think their dad is feeble and lacking any sort of impressive talents, but this moment changes their mind about Atticus. They learn that he can shoot, but he doesn’t take advantage of this talent because he doesn’t want to brag, and he considers it an unfair advantage over the animals he’d be hunting.
Chiffarobe: The chiffarobe was the chest of drawers that Mayella Ewell claimed she asked Tom Robinson to come onto their property and chop up on the evening she claimed he raped her. Although she and her father both insisted that she asked him to chop up the chiffarobe that night, Tom said that she’d asked him to do that the spring before the alleged rape.
Quote 1: "I told Calpurnia to just wait, I'd fix her: one of these days when she wasn't looking I'd go off and drown myself in Barker's Eddy and then she'd be sorry. Besides, I added, she'd already gotten me in trouble once today: she had taught me to write and it was all her fault." Chapter 3, pg. 29
Quote 2: "cootie" Chapter 3, pg. 30
Quote 3: "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company. Sometimes I did not understand him, but my periods of bewilderment were short-lived." Chapter 6, pg. 61
Quote 4: "pass the damn ham, please" Chapter 9, pg. 83
Quote 5: "that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that ... I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year . . . . but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go on about my business, he didn't mind me much the way I was." Chapter 9, pg. 86
Quote 6: "'nigger-lover'" Chapter 9, pg. 87
Quote 7: "'whore-lady'" Chapter 9, pg. 89
Quote 8: "I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said." Chapter 9, pg. 93
Quote 9: "'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'" Chapter 10, pg. 94
Quote 10: "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." Chapter 11, pg. 105
Quote 11: "'The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.'" Chapter 11, pg. 109
Quote 12: "'It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.'" Chapter 11, pg. 116
Quote 13: "know[s] now what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work." Chapter 13, pg. 137
Quote 14: "'What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it?'" Chapter 18, pg. 190
Quote 15: "Maycomb gave [the Ewells] Christmas baskets, welfare money, and the back of its hand." Chapter 19, pg. 194
Quote 16: "'They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it -- seems that only children weep.'" Chapter 22, pg. 215
Quote 17: "Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." Chapter 25, pg. 244
Quote 18: "'Hey, Boo.'" Chapter 29, pg. 273
Quote 19: "'There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it's dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time....'" Chapter 30, pg. 278
Quote 20: "'[m]ost people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'" Chapter 31, pg. 284
Benevolence 1: Boo Radley is leaving gifts for Scout and Jem in the knothole of an oak tree that leans over the sidewalk. He leaves gum and Indian-head pennies because he's extending his friendship to them whether they realize it or not. Jem is the first to figure out who is leaving the gifts for them, but he doesn't tell Scout. He's still not sure whether or not to trust Boo.
Benevolence 2: Boo Radley found Jem's pants all tangled in the fence and mended them for him and left them folded across the fence. This act of kindness frightened Jem because he felt that anyone who would know to leave his pants there for him like that must actually know him pretty well, and he was scared of what that might mean. He worried about this incident for a week before he told Scout about it and even she was spooked by it.
Benevolence 3: Boo kept leaving little trinkets and surprises in the knothole for Jem and Scout to find, and just when they were going to thank him, Nathan took away their line of communication. The things that Boo left for the children won them over, and Jem, more than Scout, was pretty certain who their benefactor was.
Benevolence 4: While Scout and Jem stood watching Miss Maudie's house burn down, they were shivering in the cold air. What Scout didn't notice, until Atticus called it to her attention, was that someone had given her a brown blanket without her realizing it. Boo Radley had sneaked up behind her and covered her shoulders with the blanket while she and Jem were so absorbed in watching the fire.
Benevolence 5: Atticus goes out of his way to be polite and kind to Mr. Dubose because he knows that she is suffering. Although she is mean to his children and says horrible things about him, he chooses to be kind to her and tells them to do the same because he knows she's in pain. He teaches them acceptance and compassion rather than vengeance.
Benevolence 6: Atticus stayed at the jailhouse to protect Tom Robinson from the mob from Old Sarum. Although he wasn't really obligated by law to do that for his client, he put himself in harm's way. Atticus knew that there was a danger that something would happen to Tom, and he planned to do everything he could to make sure that Tom had a chance to tell the truth in court.
Benevolence 7: Tom Robinson helped Mayella Ewell with odd chores because he felt bad that no one in her family would help her. He thought that she seemed to try harder than the other members of her family, and so he didn't mind going out of his way to lend a hand when she needed it. He was just being kind and polite.
Benevolence 8: Miss Maudie tried to explain to Jem that the people of Maycomb weren't as heartless and cruel as he thought although they'd let him down by convicting Tom Robinson despite the evidence in his favor. Maudie pointed out to him all the subtle ways that people had helped Tom out, one of them being that Judge Taylor had appointed Atticus to defend him because no one else could do it as well. Although many of the townspeople were ignorant, prejudiced people, there were some like herself and Atticus who believed in kindness and Christian principles. Despite her explanation, Jem is still heartbroken over the case and wary of the townspeople he once considered the best in the world.
Benevolence 9: Boo Radley came out of his house for the first time in many years because Jem and Scout were in danger. He rescued them from Bob Ewell and put himself in danger not only of being harmed, but also of being exposed to the townspeople. He left his refuge to save the children without a thought to his own personal safety, because after watching the children for years he had grown fond of them.
Benevolence 10: Heck Tate and Scout both realize the importance of keeping Boo's part in Bob Ewell's death a secret because they want to protect him. Boo did a courageous and kind thing for the children. The sheriff and Scout return the favor by doctoring the story of Ewell's death to protect Boo from being exposed to the neighborhood. To them, dragging Boo into the limelight would be just as great a sin as killing a mockingbird.
Courage 1: The truest challenge to anyone's courage is the Radley place. Dill made a bet with Jem that challenged Jem's courage. Rather than look like a coward, Jem took the bet to touch the Radley house although he was really scared to do it. He couldn't allow Dill and Scout to think him a coward because his courage was a source of pride.
Courage 2: When Scout popped out of the tire, there was no time for courage. She realized she was in the Radley yard and Jem was screaming at her to get out of there. Although she was afraid, the most disconcerting aspect of the event was that someone inside the Radley house was laughing. When Jem accused her of turning into a girl because she ran so fast that she forgot the tire, she didn't tell him what she'd heard' although that would have more than made up for her forgetful and hasty escape from the Radley yard. She didn't even explain to Jem and Dill that that was the reason she didn't want to play the morbid Boo Radley game any more. She just let them go on thinking she was a chicken.
Courage 3: Curiosity finally got the better of Dill and Jem, and it created in them the courage to sneak up to the Radley house to peer in the windows until they got caught and had to run away.
Courage 4: Curiosity wasn't the only thing that bred courage. Because Jem didn't want to disappoint Atticus, he was forced to go back to the Radley place to retrieve his pants so that he wouldn't have to explain where he'd lost them. Although he knew it was dangerous and he was scared to go, Jem went to the Radley place because the courage to go there was easier to summon than the courage to face Atticus and tell him that Jem had flat-out disobeyed him.
Courage 5: Atticus showed his children that he was a courageous man when he stepped into the street to face down a rabid dog. Although he didn't consider the act particularly courageous and was completely uninterested in proving anything to his children, Jem and Scout were proud of, and impressed by, his courage in such a precarious situation. But shooting something wasn't really Atticus' idea of courage. He viewed courage on a more intellectual level, as a moral thing, not as something that can be proved with a weapon.
Courage 6: Scout wasn't really sure what got into Jem to make him so bold as to destroy Mrs. Dubose's camellias when it was a well-known rumor that she was armed with a Confederate pistol at all times. Although Jem was familiar with the rumor, his rage pushed him beyond caring that he might be hurt or get into trouble because Mrs. Dubose had bad-mouthed Atticus, and Jem just couldn't take it. His fury made him bold enough to wreak havoc in her yard with little regard for the consequences.
Courage 7: Atticus uses Mrs. Dubose as an example of true courage to show Jem that courage isn't a man with a gun, but someone who fights for what's right whether he or she wins or not.
Courage 8: Atticus went to the jailhouse to protect Tom Robinson from the mob he knew was coming for him. Although he was alone against several men, Atticus held his ground until his children showed up. Only then did Atticus seem truly afraid because they were in danger. He'd expected to get roughed up a little in the struggle to protect Tom Robinson, but he never imagined that his children would be in the way. That's when his courage failed him, but Scout's complete innocence saved them all.
Courage 9: Atticus was unaffected by Bob Ewell's threat because he didn't believe the man would make good on it. He refused to fight or arm himself against Ewell although Jem and Scout requested it. He believed that once Ewell had threatened him in public, he'd satisfied his vengeance. Unfortunately Atticus was wrong.
Courage 10: Heck Tate finally stepped out of the shadows and did the right thing. He hadn't been able to do it in the Tom Robinson case, but this time he refused to lie down and let an injustice occur. Although he had to lie to protect Boo Radley, he knew that keeping his role in Bob Ewell's death a secret was the right thing to do, and he did it.
Innocence 1: Scout tries to explain to her teacher that she is embarrassing Walter Cunningham by offering him something that he won't be able to pay back. Scout realizes that because her teacher isn't a local, she won't know that about the Cunninghams, but Scout's explanation gets her into trouble. She wasn't trying to be insulting, but Miss Caroline mistook her frank and innocent explanation as condescension or rudeness and punished her for it. Scout's perception of the world and her classmates is not yet marred by the social divisions that adults see.
Innocence 2: Scout really does insult Walter this time as she questions the way he eats and makes him feel self-conscious. She's not doing it intentionally -- she's just curious because she's never seen people who eat that way. She's too young to understand the social graces of Southern hospitality that dictate that you always make people feel at home and welcome no matter how unusual their habits may be.
Innocence 3: Dill asked Scout to marry her more because she was one of the only girls he knew than because he loved her. They are too young to understand what marriage means or why people marry, so they just pretend as a way of feeling grown up.
Innocence 4: Jem didn't realize that without actually saying that they were playing the Boo Radley game he still admitted to his father that that's what they were doing. His father used a courtroom technique to make his son confess, and it bothered Jem because he hadn't expected that from Atticus.
Innocence 5: Although Atticus made threats to his children all the time, he'd never whipped them. Jem didn't want to have to disappoint Atticus by explaining that he'd deliberately disobeyed him, so he went back for his pants despite the danger of it. He didn't want to change the nature of his relationship with Atticus by making him punish Jem.
Innocence 6: Jem realized that it was Boo Radley leaving little gifts for them in the knothole of the oak tree, and he was crushed when Nathan Radley cemented up their only line of communication. Nathan said he did it because the tree was dying, but it was obvious to Jem that he did it just to keep them from communicating with Boo, and it made him sad.
Innocence 7: When Atticus suggested they return the blanket to the Radley house, Jem poured out all the secrets they'd been keeping about their contact with Boo Radley and how Nathan found ways to prevent it. Jem didn't want to return the blanket because he didn't want to get Boo into trouble since he'd never done anything but help them out although he'd had plenty of opportunity to hurt them. Jem realizes that Boo is a friend in a way and he wants to protect him, so he was willing to expose all his secrets to Atticus in order to protect Boo.
Innocence 8: Scout hears her classmates saying terrible things about Atticus because he's defending a black man, but she doesn't see the wrong in what her father is doing. Atticus explains to her that it's not really a bad thing, but some people see it that way. Scout is too young to understand prejudice and injustice. Atticus tries to preserve this innocence by raising her to believe that there is nothing wrong with defending a black man. It's his duty, and so it should be hers as well.
Innocence 9: It's a sin to kill a mockingbird because they are innocent birds who only live to make music for us to enjoy. That's what Atticus and Miss Maudie told Scout after she and Jem got their air rifles for Christmas. It's a sin to willfully destroy innocence, and a mockingbird embodies innocence.
Innocence 10: Scout, in all her youthful naïveté, believes that Atticus and Cal need her around to run the house and make decisions. In her mind her role is greatly exaggerated, and Dill has experienced the painful realization that he's not needed as much as he thought he was. He's reached a point of awakening that Scout has yet to reach, but he's no happier for the knowledge he's gained.
Innocence 11: Scout had no idea that the men gathered around her father were intending to harm him. She disarmed them with her youth and innocence in the way that she talked to Mr. Cunningham as a friend because she knew he'd done business with her father and she knew his son from school. The way she tried to strike up a friendly conversation with him must have reminded him that they were neighbors and friends, and that protected Atticus and Tom Robinson from being harmed by the mob of men from Old Sarum that night.
Innocence 12: Dill cries after seeing the condescension with which Mr. Gilmer questioned Tom because he was a Negro. Dill believed that it was unfair to treat anyone that way, Negro or not. Dill was still too young to realize that it was commonplace for Negroes to be treated so disrespectfully. Mr. Raymond predicted that in a few years he might notice the injustice, but he would be so accustomed to it that he wouldn't cry over it any more.
Innocence 13: Scout doesn't understand the hypocrisy her teacher displays in hating Hitler for his prejudice against Jews, yet she hates blacks just as much. The inconsistency bothers Scout and her realization of this double standard among people is the beginning of her awakening to the hypocrisy of most people.
Scout, formally known as Jean Louise Finch, talks about how her brother Jem, older by 4 years, broke his arm badly at the elbow when he was thirteen. To this day she insists that the entire incident began with the Ewell family, the most wretched family in Maycomb County, but Jem disagrees. He believes that the whole thing started way back when Dill came from Meridian, Mississippi, to spend his first summer in Maycomb with his aunt, Rachel Haverford, the Finch's neighbor. To take a broader view of things, Scout suggests that it all started when General Jackson chased the Creek Indians north and Simon Finch, their ancestor, moved up the river and built Finch's Landing. Because they couldn't decide who was right, they asked their father, Atticus, and he says that they were both right. Scout begins relating the stories of her childhood that build up to the night that Jem broke his arm.
Years before Scout and Jem were born, Atticus broke the tradition of having a male Finch living at the homestead when he went to Montgomery to study law. His younger brother, Jack, went to Boston to study medicine. Their sister, Alexandra, stayed on at Finch's Landing with her husband. When Atticus was admitted to the bar, he returned to Maycomb County, twenty miles east of Finch's Landing, to practice law. He got off to a rocky start because his first two clients were hanged. Scout counts that as the reason Atticus began to dislike practicing criminal law.
Scout remembers that Maycomb was a tired, slow-moving town when she first knew it as a child years ago. There was no hurry to get anywhere and nowhere to go beyond the boundaries of their small county. At that time the Finch family lived on the main residential street with Calpurnia, their cook. Scout and Jem liked Atticus very well as far as fathers go, but in her earlier years, Scout battled constantly with Calpurnia and always lost because Atticus usually sided with Cal. Scout believed then that Cal was too hard on her and liked Jem better. But her cries of injustice were ignored because Cal had been with the Finch family longer than Scout had. Calpurnia became a part of the Finch family when Jem was born and stayed on after Mrs. Finch died. Scout was only two years old when her mother passed away, so she didn't remember or miss her. But Jem could remember her, and Scout was sure that he missed her.
When Scout was six and Jem was almost ten, they met Dill for the first time and made a lasting friend. Scout and Jem were playing in their backyard when they heard something in Miss Rachel's collard patch next door. Expecting to find a puppy, they found Charles Baker Harris, a.k.a. Dill, sitting in the collard patch watching them. Dill was a little fellow with blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt. He had a shock of white hair on top of his head and blue eyes. He was almost seven years old, a year older than Scout was then, but he was small for his age. He was so small, in fact, that when he'd been sitting in the collard patch, he wasn't any taller than the leaves. Dill bragged that he could read, but Jem was unimpressed because Scout had been reading since she was born. Although Dill didn't win them over with his literacy, he hooked them when he told them about seeing Dracula at the movies. From that moment on, they were inseparable friends. For the rest of the summer the three of them played together. As the days went by and they bored with their games, Dill became fascinated with the Radley place, a gray and isolated house three doors down from the Finch's house.
To entertain and inform Dill, Jem and Scout had told stories about the living ghost in the Radley house. Miss Stephanie Crawford, a gossipy neighbor, had given Jem all his information because Atticus wouldn't talk about the Radleys. He had always told Jem to mind his own business and let the Radleys mind theirs. Miss Stephanie, however, was happy to tell Jem that from the beginning the Radley family seemed peculiar to Maycomb because they kept to themselves. They didn't associate with their neighbors during the week, and they didn't even go to church on Sundays although it was known that Mr. Radley was an extremely rigid Baptist. Mrs. Radley only came outside to sweep the porch and water her cannas, and although Mr. Radley walked into town every day at 11:30 and returned promptly at noon, he didn't speak to people. Jem and Scout could attest to that information because when they used to pass him on the sidewalk and greet him with polite caution, he'd only cough in response. That was all long before Dill arrived in Maycomb.
Miss Stephanie explained that the story about Arthur Radley, known to the children of Maycomb as Boo, was that he got involved with the wrong crowd when he was a teenager. One night the boys locked the Maycomb County beadle in the courthouse outhouse. After that transgression Boo Radley's father locked him up in their own house. It was said that Boo wasn't seen again for fifteen years, until one day that Jem was old enough to vaguely recall. The gossips claimed that Boo had been cutting newspaper articles for his scrapbook and his father walked by. Without any warning, Boo supposedly stabbed him in the leg with the scissors and then went right back to clipping articles. Mr. Radley insisted that he not be sent to an asylum, so Boo was locked in the courthouse basement until the city council insisted that he go back home. Boo hadn't been seen in daylight by anyone since then, and his presence was a great source of curiosity for Scout, Jem, and Dill.
When Mr. Radley died, the neighborhood had expected that Boo would come out, but he didn't. Instead, his older brother, Nathan, moved back to Maycomb from Pensacola and took his father's place in almost every way. He was just like old Mr. Radley except that he would speak to Jem and Scout on his daily walks to town.
Now the legends around Maycomb dictated that Boo Radley would only come out at night when there was no moon, and he would peep in windows. Miss Stephanie claimed that she awoke one night and saw Boo Radley peering in her window, and Jem could swear that he'd seen his footprints in their backyard. Boo's fearful neighbors automatically attributed to him any crimes committed in Maycomb County, and total belief in these stories made it necessary to run full speed past the Radley house when the kids had to pass it on the way to school.
The more Dill learned about Boo, the more determined he was to find a way to make him come out that summer. Thinking that Boo would come out if he saw someone in his yard, Dill bet that Jem wouldn't get any further than the Radley gate. Jem, after a few days of pondering, was goaded into running up to touch the corner of the house. As he ran back out the gate, Scout and Dill followed close behind lest the terrible Boo Radley catch them. Breathing heavily on their porch, the kids looked back at the Radley house and nothing had changed except the slight movement of an indoor shutter.
Topic Tracking: Courage 1
Dill left soon after that to go back to Meridian, and it was time for Scout to go to school for the first time. She had been waiting her whole life to go to school, but it turned out to be a great disappointment. Miss Caroline, Scout's very young first grade teacher from North Alabama, was surprised to find that Scout could read very well and even write in cursive. Rather than being proud of her or excited about such a bright pupil, Miss Caroline told Scout that she was not allowed to read with her father anymore because Atticus didn't know how to teach. Scout was crushed.
Then, just before lunch, Scout tried to helpfully explain to Miss Caroline that Walter Cunningham did not have a lunch with him because he was poor. Scout knew that because Miss Caroline wasn't from Maycomb she wouldn't understand that Walter couldn't take the quarter she kept offering him because the Cunningham's didn't borrow what they couldn't pay back. Scout was educated on the Cunningham's particular situation because Atticus had once helped Walter's father with a legal matter pertaining to his land, and Mr. Cunningham had paid Atticus with farm goods rather than money. Miss Caroline, however, thought Scout was just being rude, so she swatted her hand with a ruler and made her stand in the corner. Scout was exiled there until the lunch bell rang.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 1
When Jem started across the schoolyard to go home for lunch, he found Scout rubbing Walter Cunningham's nose in the dirt. She blamed him for getting off on the wrong foot with her teacher. Jem called his sister off of the little boy and invited Walter to come home with them for lunch. Walter was reluctant until Jem assured him that their fathers were friends. He also promised Walter that Scout wouldn't fight him anymore, and although it annoyed her to be bossed around by her big brother, she agreed to behave herself.
When Atticus met them at home for lunch, he and Walter talked about farming. Scout noticed that Walter sounded like a grown man because he knew so much about it. Dinner went along almost smoothly until Walter poured molasses all over his food and Scout asked him "what the sam hill he was doing." She embarrassed Walter and Calpurnia called her into the kitchen and gave her a stern talking-to.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 2
Cal told Scout that Walter was company and you never question the ways of company. Then she swatted Scout on the behind and made her finish her lunch in the kitchen. Scout says,
"I told Calpurnia to just wait, I'd fix her: one of these days when she wasn't looking I'd go off and drown myself in Barker's Eddy and then she'd be sorry. Besides, I added, she'd already gotten me in trouble once today: she had taught me to write and it was all her fault." Chapter 3, Pg. 29
In class that afternoon, Miss Caroline had another run-in with a student, but this time it was with Burris Ewell. Burris, being a member of the Ewell family, was unclean and ill mannered. After Miss Caroline saw a "cootie" Chapter 3, Pg. 30 crawl out of his hair and tried to send him home to clean up, one of the other students explained that he was just a Ewell (like Walter was just a Cunningham). The little boy said that Burris wouldn't come back after the first day of school because that was the only day any of the Ewell children came to school. With this new information, Miss Caroline told him to stay and then he challenged her to make him stay. Knowing she couldn't win with him, she told him to leave again, and on his way out he called her names and yelled horrible things at her, to make sure she was crying before he left. The rest of the first grade tried to comfort her.
By the end of the day, Scout was sure that she didn't want to go back to school because she didn't want to have to refrain from reading and writing for nine whole months. After supper Atticus asked Scout if she was ready to read, and she told him that she didn't want to go to school anymore. She explained that she didn't want to go because Miss Caroline wouldn't allow her to read and write. Atticus insisted that she go to school, but with his insistence, he offered her a compromise. He said that they would read together every night as they always had if she went to school as she should, but she wasn't to tell her teacher about their reading. The deal worked and Scout grudgingly went to school.
The rest of the school year passed in a haze of boredom as did the following years of her public education. For Scout, the saving grace of that year was the excitement of finding surprises in the knothole of a Radley oak tree she passed on the way home from school. The first time she noticed the knothole was one day when something shiny caught her eye. She went back to look and found two pieces of gum in shiny wrappers. After sniffing and licking them to make sure they weren't poisoned, she chewed the fat wad until Jem came home and made her spit it out. On the last day of school as they walked by the knothole together, they found a ring box wrapped in the shiny tin of gum wrappers and inside were two scrubbed Indian-head pennies. Jem kept the treasures in a trunk in his room and they were baffled as to who would leave their treasures in the knothole of the oak tree. They had all summer to think about it because school was over and they wouldn't pass by the Radley place anymore until the fall.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 1
Dill came back to Maycomb a few days later. On their first day out in the yard they couldn't decide what to play, so Scout suggested that they roll in an old tire. She rolled herself up inside it and Jem pushed her as hard as he could. When she dizzily popped out of the tire in a heap, Jem was yelling at her and she saw that she was laying in the Radley yard. Realizing where was, she scrambled back to the front porch of her house. Scout was so frightened that Jem accused her of turning into a girl, but she had a good reason to be afraid.
Topic Tracking: Courage 2
After that Jem suggested a new game, the Boo Radley game. They were assigned parts in the stories that they'd heard about Boo Radley, and although Scout was afraid to play it at first, she was pressured into it. They'd act out each part of the story that they knew, and when it was time for Boo to stab his father, Jem would sneak in the house and steal the sewing scissors while Cal's back was turned. They would stop their game whenever any of the neighbors were looking, but one day Atticus caught them and took the scissors away. He suggested that if their game had anything to do with the Radleys, they'd better quit playing it. Jem denied that it did and assured Dill that they could keep playing. When Scout hesitated, Jem told her she was being a girl, but Atticus was only the second reason she didn't want to play. The first was that when she'd rolled into the Radley yard, amid all Jem's shouts and her nausea, she'd heard someone inside the house laughing and she was sure it was Boo.
After enough of Scout's nagging, Jem finally gave up the Boo Radley game. Although Dill had asked Scout to marry him, he and Jem spent a lot of time on their own. Since Dill and Jem were inseparable, Scout began to spend the evenings on Miss Maudie Atkinson's porch. Miss Maudie had always allowed Jem and Scout to play in her yard across the street from the Finch house provided that they stayed out of her flowers. Before Scout began spending time with her on her porch, she and Jem had never really gotten to know Miss Maudie, but once they did, they found out that she was a nice lady despite her acidic tongue.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 3
One night Scout asked her if Boo Radley was still alive. Miss Maudie said that he was and insisted that the stories Scout had heard were made up, a significant portion of the lies constructed by Miss Stephanie Crawford. Miss Maudie explained that when she'd known Arthur as a little boy, he'd been as polite as he could be to her, but maybe after so long inside that house he had gone crazy.
The next morning Dill and Jem decided to write Boo a note and stick it on the windowsill with a fishing pole so that they wouldn't have to go up to the house and risk getting caught. Dill and Scout were the lookouts, and Dill would ring a silver dinner bell if anyone was coming so that they could get away from the Radley place. The note requested that Boo come out and tell them what he does in there, and in exchange they would buy him an ice cream cone. As Jem struggled with the note and the pole, trying to make it stay on the sill of a window with a broken shutter, the bell started clanging and Dill stood face to face with Atticus. After Atticus lectured them about the privacy of Boo Radley and his family and their right to live in peace without children bothering them, he used his courtroom technique to trick Jem into admitting that the game they were playing did involve Boo Radley. Jem was so bewildered that he had been suckered that he didn't argue anymore and instead pouted because his father had tricked him.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 4
Although Atticus had instructed the children to leave Boo Radley alone, Jem and Dill just couldn't let it go. So on Dill's last nightin Maycomb, after watching Mr. Avery pee off of his porch, Jem and Dill convinced Scout to go with them over to the Radley place and sneak up to the house to look in the window.
Topic Tracking: Courage 3
They couldn't see much in the window, so Jem had creeped up onto the porch and was peeking in the window when Dill and Scout saw a long, black shadow fall over him. Jem felt it and looked up. The shadow retreated and the kids took off running. Almost to the fence line that separated Radley property from the schoolyard, they heard a shotgun blast go off. They scrambled through the fence, but Jem caught his pants on the barbed wire and had to wiggle out of them and head for home. When they got to their house they saw a small crowd gathered in front of the Radley house, and they went over so as not to look suspicious. Nathan Radley was explaining that a colored man had been on his property and he didn't shoot at him, but he planned to put a bullet in whatever caused the next sound he heard out there.
After a moment Miss Stephanie noticed that Jem wasn't wearing pants. They made up an excuse about losing the pants to Dill in a game of strip poker played with matches.
That night while Jem and Scout were out on the screened porch, Jem decided that he had to go back to the Radley place for his pants so he wouldn't have to tell Atticus what happened. Scout didn't want him to go because she worried that he'd get shot and in comparison a whipping seemed like no big deal, but Jem refused to listen. He explained that Atticus had never whipped him before and he'd like to keep it that way, so he was going back for his pants. Scout says, "It was then, I suppose, that Jem and I first began to part company. Sometimes I did not understand him, but my periods of bewilderment were short-lived." Chapter 6, Pg. 61 Scout waited and after a while Jem crept silently back onto the porch.
Topic Tracking: Courage 4
Topic Tracking: Innocence 5
Jem stayed quiet and moody for a week, so Scout left him alone until he was ready to talk. School started, and Scout discovered that second grade wasn't much of an improvement on first grade. One afternoon Jem confessed the secret he'd been mulling over since the night he went back to the Radley place to retrieve his pants. He told Scout that when he'd wriggled out of his pants in such a hurry, they'd been tangled up in the fence, but when he went back to get them, they were folded across the fence and had been sewn up in a crude manner. They had seemed to be waiting for him, and that worried Jem.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 2
They walked past their tree with the knothole and a gray ball of twine was stuck in the hole. They waited for three days before they took it just to be sure it wasn't someone's hiding place, but no one claimed the twine, so Jem took it. As days passed they found two soap carvings that closely resembled Scout and Jem, an entire pack of gum, a spelling bee medal, and a broken pocket watch with an aluminum knife on its chain. They decided to leave a note for their benefactor, but before they could leave the note in the knothole, Nathan Radley had cemented the knothole over. Nathan claimed that the tree was dying, so he cemented it up to save it. Later that evening Jem asked Atticus if the tree looked sick, and he said no. When Jem came in from the porch, Scout could tell he'd been crying.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 3
Topic Tracking: Innocence 6
That winter an unusual thing happened in Maycomb County -- it snowed. Mr. Avery, the pot-bellied neighbor they'd watched peeing off his porch last summer, insisted that the weather changed because of bad children like Scout and Jem. They ignored him and went on playing in the thin layer of snow. Then Jem was struck with inspiration. He constructed a skeleton of sticks and mud before he plastered the snow over it, and the pot-bellied snowman looked suspiciously like Mr. Avery. Atticus, amused and impressed, insisted that they try to disguise the resemblance by dressing it up with Miss Maudie's straw hat and garden shears.
That night was colder than anyone in Maycomb County remembered, and Atticus woke Scout after what seemed like only a few minutes of sleep because Miss Maudie's house was burning. Atticus sent Scout and Jem down the street by the Radley place to watch from a safe distance, and they stood there shivering as their neighbor's house melted to ashes. Scout and Jem shivered together on the sidewalk in front of the Radley place, and when they went back home, Atticus noticed a brown blanket around Scout's shoulders. She had no idea where it came from and was shocked when Jem and Atticus discovered that it was Boo who had covered her up. When Atticus suggested that they return the blanket, Jem refused and then poured out all their secrets about his pants, about the knothole, and how Nathan cemented up the knothole to keep them from having contact with Boo. Atticus agreed that they should just keep all of this to themselves and maybe one day Scout could thank the man who covered her with the blanket.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 4
Topic Tracking: Innocence 7
A kid at school began giving Scout trouble because her father was defending a black man. Scout wasn't sure what he meant by that or why that was such a bad thing, so before she cleaned his clock, she consulted Atticus to learn more about the matter. Atticus explained to her that he was defending Tom Robinson, a black man, in a trial. He said that he had to do it although he knew he wasn't going to win because if he didn't take on this fight, he couldn't expect Jem or Scout to ever mind him again, and he couldn't represent their town in the state legislature. Scout really didn't understand what he was talking about, but he asked her not to fight whenever someone made comments about him or this case. He wanted her to remember that although it might get ugly, these people were still their friends and Maycomb County was still their home. So Scout did the unthinkable and walked away from a fight because she didn't want to let Atticus down, and she made good on that bargain until Christmas.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 8
Uncle Jack, younger brother to Atticus, came to spend his annual Christmas week in Maycomb County, and he stayed with Atticus and the kids as usual. Shortly after his arrival, he was introduced to Scout's new speech -- she was cursing left and right as part of her campaign to get out of school. She thought that if Atticus figured she had learned such words at school, he'd stop sending her. He, however, just ignored it and advised his brother to do so as well, but when Scout requested at dinner that Jack "pass the damn ham, please" Chapter 9, Pg. 83, Jack could take no more of Scout's vulgarity. He gave her a talking-to after dinner, instructing her that words like "damn" and "hell" were only to be used in instances of extreme provocation and that was that.
The next morning was Christmas and after receiving the air rifles they begged for, it was time to go to Finch's Landing to visit their Aunt Alexandra. Scout and Jem disliked the trips to the Landing because their cousin, Francis was a sniveling brat and they were forced to play with him while they were there. On the other hand, the food was wonderful, so they were almost willing to suffer through a day with Francis. Alexandra constantly harped on the fact that Scout wore pants. Although Scout insisted that she couldn't do anything in a dress, Alexandra was certain that she need not be doing anything that required her to wear pants. She told Scout that she needed to behave herself and be a ray of sunshine in her father's sad life. Scout observed:
"that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that... I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year . . . .but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go on about my business, he didn't mind me much the way I was." Chapter 9, Pg. 86
In the course of conversation with Francis, Scout mentioned Dill, and Francis began to make fun of her. He said that Alexandra had said that Dill didn't really have a home in Meridian, but was passed from relative to relative. Then he said that it wasn't Scout's fault she was too dumb to know that because Alexandra said it was Atticus who let her and Jem run around with stray dogs. Alexandra also said that if Atticus was a "'nigger-lover'"Chapter 9, Pg. 87, that's his own business, too, but it's ruining the rest of the family. Francis kept taunting her until she couldn't take anymore and she pounced on him and walloped him until Jack pinned her. Francis insisted that Scout called him a "'whore-lady'"Chapter 9, Pg. 89 and then hit him, and Scout owned up to it. Jack, without hearing her side of things, whipped her for her transgressions and she pouted long after they arrived at home.
When Jack came in to talk to her she explained that he didn't understand children at all because he hadn't even listened to her side of the story before he whipped her. She told him what Francis had been saying about Atticus. She hadn't really understood what the words he said meant, but she knew by the way he was saying it that it was bad and she couldn't let anyone talk bad about Atticus. Although Jack wanted to tear Francis up for the things he said, Scout made him promise not to say anything because she didn't want Atticus to know she'd let him down by fighting over someone saying bad things about him. Then she asked Jack what a whore-lady was, and he avoided her question and left it at that.
Later that night Scout tiptoed downstairs for a drink and she overheard Atticus and Jack talking. She listened in because they were discussing her behavior and she was waiting to see if Uncle Jack would break his promise to her and tell Atticus why she had fought Francis. He didn't say a word. Atticus explained to Jack that he knew Scout tried to do the right thing, and although she didn't even come close to it most of the time, she knew that Atticus knew she tried and that's all that mattered. He explained that times were going to be difficult for their family because of the upcoming trial, but he hoped that Scout and Jem would come to him for answers to the questions that this trial was going to raise instead of listening to the townspeople. He didn't want his children to be infected with the same paranoia and hatred that most Maycomb County people were afflicted by whenever a situation with a colored person arose. As Scout listened in, Atticus called out to her and told her to go to bed. Scout says, "I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said." Chapter 9, Pg. 93
Scout's promise to Atticus about fighting was tested constantly at school because of the case he had taken on, but she bit the bullet and kept her fists down. She and Jem began to notice that their father was older than most of their classmates' fathers. Scout viewed him as feeble and was disappointed that he couldn't do the things most fathers did like playing football in the Methodist versus Baptist fundraiser game. He didn't hunt or fish or play poker. All he really did was sit in their living room and read. And he didn't have an admirable job like a dump truck driver or a farmer or even a mechanic. He just sat in an office. And to top it all off, he wore glasses. He didn't even teach Jem and Scout to shoot when they got their air rifles, but he did ask that they shoot at tin cans or bluejays but not mockingbirds because it was a sin to kill mockingbirds. Scout had never heard her daddy say that something was a sin, so she was naturally curious as to why mockingbirds were so special. She went to Miss Maudie for answers, and Miss Maudie explained that, "'Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'" Chapter 10, Pg. 94
Topic Tracking: Innocence 9
Then Scout went on to discuss her disappointment that Atticus was older than most dads were and he couldn't do anything really impressive. Miss Maudie tried to ease Scout's disillusionment, but in her mind, Atticus was just an old man.
One Saturday not long after that, Scout and Jem were playing outside when Jem noticed that old Tim Johnson, the liver-colored dog who belonged to a man from the Southern edge of town, was acting strangely. They ran inside to tell Cal, and when she saw him, she raised the alarm that a rabid dog was heading for their street. All the neighbors closed up their doors when the operator called them with the news, but the Radleys didn't have a phone. Cal ran to their house and banged on the door warning them, but there was no response. She and the children locked themselves in and watched at the windows for the dog to come down their street. Atticus came home with Heck Tate, the Maycomb sheriff , and they waited for the dog to come around the bend in the road. The dog stopped in front of the Radley house, and Heck was afraid that if he shot and missed, the bullet would go into the house and the dog would attack. It was a one-shot kind of job, so he insisted that Atticus do it. Scout and Jem were shocked to see the father they considered feeble walk into the street with the mad dog, drop his glasses, and shoot the gun like an expert. Tim Johnson was dropped with one shot, and Jem and Scout learned that day that their father was an expert marksman.
Topic Tracking: Courage 5
Miss Maudie explained that Atticus didn't hunt because he realized that God had given him an unfair advantage over most creatures, and he decided that he wouldn't shoot anymore until it was necessary. He had never mentioned it before because Atticus was too much of a gentleman to brag about his marksmanship.
When Scout was well into second grade, she and Jem had moved beyond harassing Boo Radley and had grown more interested in the actual town of Maycomb. The only problem was that to get to town, they had to pass the home of Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, who lived two doors down. She was a mean old woman who always yelled terrible things at Scout and Jem. She lived alone with only a colored girl who took care of her, and the part of the day that she didn't spend in bed, she spent wrapped in shawls in a wheelchair on her front porch. It was rumored among the town that she kept a Confederate pistol hidden under those shawls, but no one knew for certain. No matter how they tried to handle Mrs. Dubose, she was always cross and mean to them, and Atticus told them to ignore it because she was just a sick, old lady. Because they were older then, Jem insisted that they meet Atticus at the post office on his way home from work, and that meant passing Mrs. Dubose every day. And every day Atticus would stop at her house, take his hat off, and wish her a cheerful good day. Then he would swing Scout up onto his shoulders and they would continue home. Scout said, "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived." Chapter 11, Pg. 105
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 5
The day after Jem turned twelve, he and Scout set out for town to spend his birthday money. Jem planned to buy himself a miniature steam engine and with the money left over, he was going to buy Scout the baton she'd been eyeballing for a while. As they walked past Mrs. Dubose's house, she began with her barrage of insults and barbs, and Jem warned Scout to just ignore her like Atticus said, but then Mrs. Dubose made a comment that hit home. She began ranting about Atticus defending Tom Robinson and then went on to say that he was no better than the trash he represented in court. Jem's face turned red and Scout pulled him down the sidewalk toward town with Mrs. Dubose yelling after them about the degeneration of their family. They went on to town and Jem bought the steam engine and the baton, but he took no joy in his new possession. Mrs. Dubose wasn't on the porch when Scout and Jem approached her house this time. Suddenly Jem took Scout's baton and ran into Mrs. Dubose's yard. Using the baton as a machete, he snapped the tops off of every camellia bush in her front yard and then, when he was finished, he bent the baton over his knee and left it amidst the litter of leaves and blossoms that covered the yard. Scout was screaming by that time and he grabbed her by the hair and told her to hush or he'd pull every hair out of her head. She kept screaming over her lost baton, and he kicked her. Then she lost her balance and fell on her face, and although he roughly helped her up, he seemed sorry.
Topic Tracking: Courage 6
They didn't meet Atticus at the corner of the post office that day. When he came home, he had Scout's broken baton and some camellia buds in his hand. He sent Jem back to Mrs. Dubose's house to have a talk with her. While Jem was gone, Atticus talked to Scout about the case. He explained that he realized that it was hard on them, but defending Tom Robinson is something he had to do or he couldn't live with himself. When Scout asked how he could be right if everyone else thought he was wrong, he told her that "'The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.'" Chapter 11, Pg. 109
Jem came back and told them that among the other things he had to do for her, Mrs. Dubose had also asked him to come every day for a month and read to her for two hours. He didn't want to, but Atticus insisted that he do it, and so the next day he and Scout went to Mrs. Dubose's house to read. She handed out her usual verbal abuse for a while, but then she seemed to go off into her own little world, and her mouth worked and her head moved as if she was having some sort of fit. She didn't seem to hear a word Jem read, and then an alarm clock went off. The girl who lived with Mrs. Dubose sent them away because it was time for the old woman's medicine.
A month later, Scout and Jem were at Mrs. Dubose's house reading when Atticus came to the door. He had come home and the children weren't there, so he wanted to see if they were with Mrs. Dubose. It was then that Scout noticed that they'd been staying a little bit longer every day. The alarm clock was set for a few minutes later each day, and usually when it rang, Mrs. Dubose was in the middle of one of her fits, but she hadn't had a fit yet that day and it had been almost two hours. Mrs. Dubose said that Jem would read to her for one more week just to be certain -- certain of what was left up in the air because Jem started to protest, but Atticus shushed him with a hand gesture. On the way home Jem said that he'd been reading for a month and that was the deal. Atticus insisted that he read for one more week. So for another week, Jem and Scout listened to the abusive Mrs. Dubose, who didn't have any more fits. She sent them home every afternoon instead of the alarm clock, and then after a week was up, she sent them home for good. They were ecstatic to be free to enjoy the spring without the daily burden of Mrs. Dubose.
More than a month passed and then Mrs. Dubose died. Atticus explained to Jem that Mrs. Dubose had been a morphine addict. Her fits were withdrawals, and although she only had a few months to live, she suffered through the fits because she wanted to break her addiction before she died, and she had. He told Jem that before she died, Mrs. Dubose had her servant girl prepare the box for Jem. When he opened it, he looked down at a perfect camellia blossom just like the ones he'd destroyed. Atticus explained that the camellia was her way of telling Jem that everything was okay. He said that Mrs. Dubose was truly courageous. Atticus was glad that Jem had been able to see what real courage was -- "'It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.'" Chapter 11, Pg. 116 Mrs. Dubose had won.
Topic Tracking: Courage 7
Since Jem had turned twelve, he had grown hard to handle -- moody and hungry all the time. Scout kept out of his way after he told her that it was time she started behaving like a girl. Atticus and Cal explained that he was just getting older and so Scout spent the beginning of her summer waiting for Dill. She was disappointed when she received a letter explaining that his mother had remarried, and he was not coming to Maycomb County that summer. Scout was at a loss for what to do with summer if Dill wasn't there and Jem was acting strangely. To top it all off, Atticus had to go to an emergency session of the state legislature. Life wasn't going well.
While Atticus was gone, Cal stayed with Scout and Jem, and on Saturday Cal realized that Atticus hadn't made sure that Scout and Jem's teacher would be at their church on Sunday to make sure they behaved. He normally did that, but he must have forgotten this time, so Cal decided that they would go to church with her.
When they went to church with Cal, there was an initially ugly encounter with a woman who insisted that those white children didn't belong at their church, but the rest of the congregation treated them like royalty. Reverend Sykes introduced Scout and Jem to the congregation as the children of the lawyer who was helping Tom Robinson. On the way home from church, Scout was full of questions about the differences in the church service and the way Cal talked around the Finches and then around her friends and neighbors at church. Scout also asked why Tom Robinson is in jail, and Cal explained that Bob Ewell accused Tom of raping his daughter, Mayella Ewell, so Tom was thrown in jail. When Scout asked what rape is, Cal instructed her to ask Atticus. Then Scout asked if she could visit Cal at home sometime, and Cal said that she'd welcome her. When they reached the Finch house, Alexandra was sitting on the front porch with her bags.
Alexandra announced that she'd be staying with them because she and Atticus had decided that it was time the children had a feminine influence in their home. Alexandra moved right in and made herself at home, and soon enough it seemed as if she'd lived there forever. She was an active part of the neighborhood, and she brought with her a sense of the social hierarchy of Maycomb County. When it became obvious to her that Scout and Jem had no sense of pride concerning their heritage as well as no sense of duty to their name, she insisted that Atticus explain to them that they were Finches and they should behave like it. Atticus tried to explain to them how they should behave being from a family of gentle breeding, and as he talked, he fidgeted uncomfortably and cleared his throat. His behavior and his request didn't seem like the Atticus they loved at all. As he had talked, he had realized the ludicrous request Alexandra had made on him and his children and told them to ignore what he'd said. When he had said that, Scout had felt like the old Atticus was back. Scout says that she "know[s] now what he was trying to do, but Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work." Chapter 13, Pg. 137
As the summer went on, Scout and Jem heard more and more about their family in the whisperings of the townspeople when they walked past. Scout overheard someone say "rape" and remembered that she'd never asked Atticus about the definition. That night in the living room after dinner, Scout interrupted his reading to ask and he gave her the legal definition that she didn't understand but didn't question. In the course of their conversation, it came out that she and Jem had gone to church with Cal. Scout also remembered that she had wanted to visit Cal at home, but Alexandra said no before Atticus could answer. Scout insisted that she'd asked Atticus, and she got in trouble for sassing her aunt. Scout was mortified that Atticus had corrected her so harshly, so she went to the bathroom to escape the heat and retain what was left of her dignity. On her way back to the living room, she listened outside the door as Atticus and Alexandra argued. Alexandra insisted that Calpurnia wasn't needed anymore, but Atticus refused to let her go because she was part of the family to him and his children.
Jem took Scout upstairs and told her that he would spank her if she bothered her aunt any more. Enraged at being reprimanded again that night, Scout just lit into him. When Atticus came upstairs and broke up the fight, Scout asked if she had to mind Jem now, too. Their father answered that she only had to mind him if he could make her and sent them both to bed.
As Scout prepared for bed, she stepped on something warm and dry, but when she turned on the light, it had disappeared under her bed. She called Jem thinking it was a snake, and he got the broom to sweep it out. It turned out to be Dill hiding under her bed. He'd run away from home, and he expected them to hide him for a while. Although Scout was willing, Jem called Atticus and told him what was going on. Dill and Scout were astonished at his betrayal. Atticus told Dill's Aunt Rachel where he was so that Dill's parents wouldn't be worried, and it was agreed that Dill could stay with them for the night.
During the night Dill came and crawled in bed with Scout rather than sleep with Jem. He'd run away because his mother and her new husband didn't really need him around. Scout didn't know how he felt because she knew that Atticus and Cal needed her around. As they drifted off to sleep Scout wondered aloud why Boo Radley never ran away, and Dill suggested that maybe he had nowhere to run to.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 10
It came about that Dill's parents were convinced to let him stay in Maycomb County, and summer seemed perfect for about a week. Then the nightmare descended. One night while they were in the living room after dinner a group of men came to the Finch house to speak with Atticus. Although they'd only come to talk with Atticus about the danger of moving Tom Robinson to the Maycomb County jail, Jem thought it was a mob after Atticus. His father explained that those people were their friends and neighbors and that there were no mobs in Maycomb, so Jem need not worry. That night Jem told Scout that he was worried something would happen to Atticus, but he wouldn't be specific about his concerns, so Scout was left in the dark.
At church the next day, Scout saw Heck Tate and Mr. Underwood, The Maycomb Tribune editor, talking to Atticus although they were not churchgoing men. Atticus told her that they'd shown up to tell him that Tom had been moved back to the Maycomb County jail. The rest of that Sunday passed in the same dull routine until that evening when Atticus came in the living room with a long extension cord with a light bulb on the end. He told them that he was going out and wouldn't be back until quite late so he was saying goodnight then. He drove away in the car, which he usually only used for business trips, and Jem's curiosity and concern were peaked. That night at bedtime he and Scout sneaked out of the house, gathered Dill, and headed to town to find Atticus. He wasn't in his office in the bank building, so they headed up the street to see if Atticus was at the newspaper with Mr. Underwood. As they walked they noticed a light in front of the jailhouse, which was unusual because the jail didn't have an outside light. As they got closer they discovered that Atticus was sitting under the extension cord with its light bulb hanging over his head. He was in a chair by the jail entrance reading a newspaper. They turned to take a shortcut home, satisfied that he was okay, but as they walked across the square, they saw four cars stop in front of the jail.
Scout, Jem, and Dill hid themselves near enough to watch what happened as men got out of the cars. The men demanded Tom Robinson, but Atticus wouldn't budge. Scout, misunderstanding the seriousness of what was happening, ran through the crowd to her father. Dill and Jem followed her because they couldn't stop her. Atticus looked afraid then. Scout was embarrassed when she looked around and realized that she didn't know any of these men. They weren't the same group of neighbors who had gathered in their yard the night before. These people were strangers and they were all looking at her. Atticus insisted several times that Jem take Dill and Scout home, but Jem wouldn't budge. While Atticus pleaded with Jem, Scout looked around again and recognized Mr. Cunningham, her classmate Walter's father. She started talking to Mr. Cunningham about Walter and the case Atticus had helped him with. She kept trying to make desperate attempts at conversation and Mr. Cunningham didn't respond. Scout began to feel more embarrassed than ever so she kept rambling on. She realized she was sinking and looked around her again. Atticus stood with his mouth hanging open a little in amazement and Scout asked what was the matter. Mr. Cunningham surprisingly told her that he would tell Walter that she said hello as she'd asked him to do. Then the group of men got in their cars and drove away.
When Scout turned to her father to ask if they could go home, he was sagging against the jail in relief. A voice from a window overhead asked if the men had gone and Atticus assured Tom that the men wouldn't bother him anymore. Then Mr. Underwood furthered that assurance from his window above the Tribune office as he leaned out with his shotgun and told Atticus that he'd had him covered the whole time. On the way home Jem and Atticus walked ahead of Scout and Dill, and although she expected Atticus to be angry with Jem for his disobedience, when they passed under a streetlight, Atticus was ruffling Jem's hair, the only sign of affection he ever exhibited.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 6
Topic Tracking: Innocence 11
Topic Tracking: Courage 8
When they returned home, Scout started crying when she went to bed because the full weight of what happened that night hit her and she was scared. Jem put her in bed with him and told her that it all might be over by the next day because that's when the trial was. The following morning Atticus ordered the children to stay at home and then he left for court. Scout and Jem watched from the front yard as a parade of people walked past their house all dressed up and on their way to town to watch the trial. After lunch Jem, Scout, and Dill sneaked into town and made their way into the courthouse with the rest of the crowd. While there, Scout overheard some old men talking about Atticus and one of them mentioned that the case had been assigned to him. She thought it strange that her father hadn't mentioned that before because it would have come in handy when she and Jem were defending him and themselves. The other man complained that the problem wasn't that Atticus was assigned to defend Tom Robinson, but that he planned to really defend Tom.
Inside the courthouse, the room was packed, so Reverend Sykes took the children upstairs with him and they watched the trial from the colored section of the court.
The trial began with Judge Taylor presiding. Heck Tate testified that on the evening of November twenty-first, Bob Ewell came to get him claiming that his daughter, Mayella, had been raped. When Heck and Bob returned to the Ewell home out by the town dump, Mayella was beat up and lying on the floor in one of the rooms of the small, dirty house. When Heck asked her who hurt her, she blamed Tom Robinson for the rape and beating. So Heck took him to jail and that was that. Atticus asked repeatedly if a doctor ever saw Mayella, but no one thought of taking her to the doctor. Atticus also determined from Heck's testimony that Mayella was beaten on the right side of her face. He stressed that observation to the jury because it was important to his defense.
Now the Ewells were the most wretched people in Maycomb County. They lived out by the dump in a cabin roofed with flatted tin cans and insulated with sheets of corrugated iron. A makeshift fence surrounded their house and the yard was littered with refuse from the nearby dump. The most fascinating part of the yard, however, was the slop jars filled with red geraniums. The geraniums seemed to be well tended, and it was rumored that they belonged to Mayella.
Bob Ewell was called to the stand next. In a cocky manner he answered his attorney's questions and explained that he was coming in from gathering kindling when he heard Mayella screaming. He dropped the load and went running to the house, but got tangled up in the fence. When he got away from the fence, he claimed that he ran to the window and saw Tom on top of his daughter. Ewell insisted that before he could get inside, Tom ran out, and because he was so worried about Mayella, he didn't go after Tom. He said he then went to get Heck Tate and brought him back to their home. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney, finished questioning Ewell and Atticus began his cross-examination.
Ewell was wary of Atticus' questions and was reluctant to cooperate, but Atticus lured him into a sense of security with a line of questioning about Mayella's injuries. Atticus asked him if he could read and write, and although it seemed irrelevant, the judge allowed the questioning. Atticus gave Ewell a pen and an envelope to write his name on and the room went silent. Everyone stared at him as he wrote his name. He didn't understand why everyone was so interested to see him write, and the judge pointed out that he was left-handed. Seeing the implication in the fact that Mayella's injuries were on the right side of her face and Bob Ewell's dominant hand was his left, Ewell went on a tirade about how Atticus was a tricking lawyer who was taking advantage of him. He stuck to his story about Tom Robinson and Atticus ended his examination.
From the balcony Jem watched the proceedings with glee, certain that Atticus had pinned Ewell and proved Tom innocent. Scout, however, was doubtful. She thought Jem was getting a little ahead of himself because Tom could just as easily be left-handed as well.
19-year-old Mayella Ewell was called to the stand next and she seemed fragile at first. She corroborated her father's story about the rape. She explained that she'd been on the front porch that evening while her father was gone. He'd left a chiffarobe for her to chop into kindling, but she said she wasn't feeling well. So when Tom walked by, she offered him a nickel to come in and chop it up for her. She said that when she went inside to get the money, he followed her in. She said he ran up behind her and got her around the neck. She said he hit her again and again. Then she said he flung her down and had his way with her. The next thing she claimed to remember was her father standing over her. Then she thought she fainted because the next thing that happened was Mr. Tate helped her up.
It was Atticus' turn to cross-examine the witness, and Mayella was stubborn. Atticus began questioning her about her home life, establishing for the jury, without her realization, that her father was a drunkard who wasted the little money the family got from the state on liquor. When Atticus asked her if her father was good to her and easy to get along with, Mayella said that he was except when . . . but she didn't finish her sentence. She realized what Atticus was up to and denied that she'd started to say anything. Atticus then asked if her father had ever beat her when he was drunk. She denied that as well.
Atticus turned the questioning in the direction of Tom Robinson. He asked Mayella if she'd ever called on him to do odd chores before. After she denied it repeatedly, she admitted that she might have asked him to before because she'd had a few Negroes do odd jobs, but she couldn't remember whom. Atticus asked if she remembered Tom hitting her in the face. She didn't answer for a while and then said that he did hit her, but she didn't remember it because it all happened so fast. Atticus told her to identify the man who raped her and she pointed to Tom, so Atticus made him stand up. The jury and the people in the courthouse were aghast to see that useless and limp at his side, Tom's left arm was twelve inches shorter than his right one with a withered hand at the end of it. Reverend Sykes explained to Jem and Scout that Tom had gotten it caught in a cotton gin as a child.
Atticus shot a rapid-fire barrage of questions at Mayella then concerning how Tom could have held her down and raped her if she'd been fighting as hard as she could. And if she'd been screaming, why didn't her brothers and sisters come from the dump to see what was happening? Atticus presented the idea that maybe she didn't scream until she saw her father in the window. He asked her, "'What did your father see in the window, the crime of rape or the best defense to it?'" Chapter 18, Pg. 190 Mayella didn't answer any of his questions for a moment, and then she told him that she'd been raped and if he and all the yellow men in Maycomb County weren't going to do anything about it, then they were cowards. She refused to answer any questions after that. Then Atticus called his only witness.
Atticus called the defendant, Tom Robinson to the stand to testify. When Tom tried to take the oath, his withered left hand slipped from the Bible, further proof that it was useless to him. When he took the stand, Tom admitted that he'd been in trouble with the law one other time because he'd gotten in a fight with a man who tried to cut him. He'd spent thirty days in jail because he couldn't pay the fine, and although the other man in the fight had been convicted of the misdemeanor as well, he hadn't served jail time because he paid the fine. With his record exposed, Atticus moved the questioning toward the case at hand.
Tom explained that he passed Mayella Ewell's home every day on his way to work for Mr. Link Deas. Tom said that he would always tip his hat to Mayella, and one day she asked him to come inside the fence and chop up a chiffarobe for her. The discrepancy was that this was one day in the spring, not in November as she had testified. After he did the chopping, she said she guessed she'd have to pay him for it, but he refused the money. From that point on, she'd often asked him to come in and do small chores, and he had done them because it looked like she didn't get any help from her father, Bob Ewell, or her siblings.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 7
As Tom testified, Scout decided that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She didn't have any friends, and her family wasn't respected enough for people to chalk up their peculiarities to just being their way as the townspeople would do if they were talking about some of the wealthier citizens with unusual habits. "Maycomb gave [the Ewells] Christmas baskets, welfare money, and the back of its hand." Chapter 19, Pg. 194
Tom explained that on November twenty-first he had been on his way home from work for Mr. Deas and he noticed that the Ewell place was unusually quiet. Mayella came out and hollered that she had some work for him to do inside the house. She told him that the door had come off its hinges and she needed him to fix it before it got cold out. So he went in the house, but the door wasn't broken. She shut the door behind him, and he realized that all the children who normally swarmed around the place were gone. He asked her where the children were, and she laughed when she told him that they'd gone into town to buy ice cream. She'd been saving for a year and finally had seven nickels so they could all go buy themselves an ice cream. Tom was wary and said he'd better be going, but Mayella insisted that he climb up on a chair and get a box down from the top of a chiffarobe that was almost as tall as the room. While he was on the chair, she grabbed him around the legs, and it scared him. He hopped down and the chair fell over, but he swore to the courtroom that that was the only furniture in the room that was knocked over when he was there. Tom explained that Mayella sort of jumped on him, not violently, but hugged him around the waist. He said that Mayella kissed him on the side of his face claiming that she'd never kissed a man so she might as well kiss him. She told him that what her father does to her doesn't count. Tom told Mayella to let him go, but he couldn't get past her because she was in front of the door, and he would have had to push her to get past her and he didn't want to hurt her. Just as he was telling her to let him go, her father started yelling from the window. Mr. Ewell called Mayella a whore and threatened to kill her, but Tom didn't hear more because he ran away. His situation was a delicate one. As a black man, he didn't dare mishandle or strike a white woman because he would be strung up for it, so his only other choice was to run, which looked like a sign of guilt.
Tom insisted that he did not rape Mayella Ewell and that he ran because he was scared, because if anyone there had been a black man in the same situation, he would have been scared. Atticus turned the witness over to cross-examination, but before Mr. Gilmer began his questioning, Mr. Deas stood up in the courtroom and announced that Tom had worked for him for eight years and never caused any kind of trouble. Judge Taylor threw Deas out of the courtroom and had his outburst stricken from the record. Mr. Gilmer began to cross-examine, calling Tom "boy" and suggesting that any man strong enough to bust up a chiffarobe with one hand could certainly sling a woman down and choke the breath out of her. Mr. Gilmer kept questioning why Tom would go out of his way to do so much for Mayella for free if he hadn't had his eye on her for a while. Tom tried to explain that he had wanted to help her because no one else would and he said that he felt sorry for her because she had no help. Mr. Gilmer pounced on that statement and presented it to the jury as an incredulous admission that this black man had the audacity to feel pity for a white person.
As the interrogation continued, Mr. Gilmer made it seem as if just because Tom's testimony contradicted Mayella's, he was calling her a liar. Tom insisted that she wasn't lying, she just remembered it wrong. Mr. Gilmer kept working him, jabbing at him, trying to rile him up or rattle him by suggesting that if he had been innocent he wouldn't have run. But Tom insisted again that any black man in that situation would have run out of fear that he'd end up in court for something he didn't do. Then Mr. Gilmer suggested that Tom was getting an attitude with him, and before the rest unfolded, Jem sent Scout outside with Dill because Dill was sobbing.
She and Dill sat out under a live oak tree and Dill explained that he was crying because Mr. Gilmer was being so awful to Tom. Scout tried to explain that that was his job and he treated everyone that way, but Dill insisted that Atticus didn't treat people that way. He thought that Mr. Gilmer was just being terrible to Tom and it didn't matter that he was just a Negro because Mr. Gilmer shouldn't treat anyone that way -- no one should.
A voice from the other side of the huge tree trunk agreed with him, and Scout recognized the man as Mr. Dolphus Raymond.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 12
Mr. Raymond was a peculiar man from an old, wealthy family. He lived with a colored woman and was the father to many mixed children, and he staggered around town drinking from a brown paper sack. Mr. Raymond gave Dill a drink from the paper sack and Dill smiled. He told Scout that it was just Coke, and she was confused. Mr. Raymond explained that he bobbed and weaved around town and drank from the paper sack so that people could believe that whiskey was the reason he lived like he did. He didn't expect that they would understand that he lived how he wanted to just because he wanted to, so he gave them something to blame it on. He told them that although Dill was moved to tears by the way the Mr. Gilmer treated Tom Robinson, in a few years Dill would be so accustomed to it that he wouldn't cry anymore. He might not believe it's right, but he wouldn't be as upset over it as he was then. Mr. Raymond then told Scout that she was too young yet to realize that her father wasn't like most other men, but if she'd look around the courtroom, she'd see it.
His reference to the courtroom reminded her that they were missing the cross-examination, so she and Dill said their goodbyes and went back inside. Atticus was making his final statement to the jury, explaining that all that was required for acquittal was reasonable doubt. He reminded the jury that there was no medical evidence that the crime was ever committed, much less that Tom Robinson did it. The only evidence the state had presented was the testimony of two white people whose testimony was contradicted by the defendant and called into serious question in cross-examination. Atticus told the jury that what happened was that Mayella was trying to cover up her shame at tempting a black man by having him executed. She had broken the sacred code that governed the relations between blacks and whites with disregard to the consequences, and to escape her guilt, she was trying to punish Tom Robinson for it. Atticus explained that Mayella crossed a line and her father threatened to kill her for it. He said that it was not known for certain what her father did to her for it, but there is considerable circumstantial evidence that someone beat her up, leading mostly with his left hand because of the marks on the right side of her face. Bob Ewell was left-handed, but Tom Robinson couldn't use his left hand at all. Atticus drew it to a close by explaining that this case came to trial because a Negro felt pity for a white woman and helped her out. For that, he had been forced to come to court and pit his word against two white people's stories, and the white people in the case came into the courtroom and testified with smug certainty. They acted as though whether or not they had any credibility on the stand, they would be believed because the only person who contradicted their story was a black man. Atticus then reminded the jury that the courtroom was the one place where all men truly were created equal. The law was the great leveler, and he expected that the jury would remember that and do the right thing in the name of God and let Tom go home to his family.
Just as Atticus finished his closing arguments, Dill pointed out that Calpurnia was walking up the center aisle to the railing.
Cal gave Atticus a note from Alexandra telling him that the children were missing and had been gone since noon. When Atticus explained it to the judge, Mr. Underwood, the town newspaperman, pointed Jem, Scout, and Dill out in the balcony. Atticus called them down and met them in the foyer. He sent them home with Cal to eat supper, but he gave in and told them they could come back after their meal to wait for the verdict.
After they'd eaten, the children went back up to the courthouse and waited until well after eleven that night. When the jury finally returned, Scout watched in a dreamlike state as they came back in. Atticus had once told her that if the jury had convicted the defendant, they wouldn't look at him. No one in the jury looked at Tom Robinson. They declared Tom guilty, and Atticus gathered his papers, said a few words to Mr. Gilmer, whispered to Tom, and then left the courthouse.
Scout watched from the balcony above as Atticus walked out until she realized that someone was shaking her shoulder. The reverend and all the colored folks in the balcony were standing because Atticus was walking by.
Alexandra was waiting up when they got home, and she seemed almost sad for Atticus. When she saw that Jem was upset she reminded Atticus that she hadn't thought it a good idea for the children to go to the trial. Atticus told her that what happened at the trial was just as much Maycomb as the missionary teas she attended so they should learn to cope with it. Jem was in tears, trying to understand how the jury could have returned such a verdict, and Atticus told him, "'They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it -- seems that only children weep.'" Chapter 22, Pg. 215 With that he went to bed.
The next morning Atticus and the children woke to an unusually large breakfast comprised of all the goods grateful friends of Tom Robinson had left on the doorstep during the morning. After the meal, the children went outside and found Miss Stephanie, Miss Maudie, and Mr. Avery gathered out in front of their houses talking. Miss Maudie called Jem to come over and Scout and Dill came with him. Miss Stephanie pelted them with questions until Miss Maudie hushed her and invited the children inside for cake.
Miss Maudie talked to Jem about the way things had turned out in the trial. She told him that Atticus was one of the men in the world who had been born to do the unpleasant jobs for everyone else. Jem explained to her that he was disappointed in the people of his town because they'd convicted Tom. He had believed that they were better than that, and they'd let him down. But Miss Maudie pointed out that not everyone involved in the trial had wronged Tom. She pointed out that Judge Taylor had appointed Atticus to defend Tom although court-appointed defenses usually went to young lawyers in need of experience. But Jem still wasn't comforted.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 8
Miss Stephanie, Miss Rachel, and Mr. Avery were standing outside talking excitedly and they waved the children over. Scout knew something was wrong. Miss Stephanie told them that Bob Ewell had stopped Atticus at the post office corner and spat in his face. Ewell threatened to get him back even if it took the rest of his life.
Atticus took it all in stride although Ewell's threat worried Scout and Jem.
Topic Tracking: Courage 9
Tom Robinson was at a work prison seventy miles from home where his family was not allowed to visit him, but there was an appeal in the works. If he lost that appeal, he'd go to the chair, but Atticus insisted that it wasn't time to worry yet because they had a good chance. Jem still complained that it wasn't right that a jury could convict Tom, but more than that, they didn't have to sentence him with death. What it all boiled down to was that a white jury convicted a black man because he was a black man and they couldn't rule in his favor against white folks. Atticus was adamant that any white man who would take advantage of a black man is trash.
The conversation turned to the kind of people who sit on juries, and Atticus pointed out that the reason the deliberation for Tom's sentence took so long was because one man had to be worn down from his stance on acquittal. He mentioned that that man was one of the Old Sarum group who had come for Tom the night before his trial. He was one of the Cunninghams, and Atticus had kept him on the jury on a hunch that he would try to do the right thing, and for a moment he had tried. It was at least a step in the right direction.
Scout was so impressed that she decided she'd invite Walter Cunningham home for lunch one day when school started again. Alexandra insisted from her corner that the Cunninghams were not the kind of people Finches associated with socially. Alexandra said that the Cunninghams were trash and although Scout should be polite to them in public, she was banned from inviting any of them over socially. Scout then burst into tears, and Jem took her upstairs.
After he cheered her up a little, Jem tried to explain that he'd discovered that there were four kinds of people in Maycomb -- ordinary folks like their family, people like the Cunninghams, people like the Ewells, and then colored people. Now the ordinary folks hated the Cunninghams; the Cunninghams hated the Ewells; and the Ewells hated the colored folks. Scout disagreed again because she believed that there was just one kind of people. Jem seemed to think for a while and then said that he used to think that, but if there was only one kind of people, why couldn't they get along? He said that he understood then why Boo Radley stayed inside -- he wanted to.
Scout was sucked into one of the missionary teas that Alexandra hosted at their home, and it required that she dress and behave like a girl. At the tea, a pious guest, Mrs. Merriweather, made thinly-veiled accusations that Atticus was wrong to defend Tom Robinson and that the sullen behavior of the local Negroes after the verdict was his fault. Soon after that, Atticus had burst in the house looking pale and requesting Alexandra's presence in the kitchen. She, Scout, and Miss Maudie joined him in the kitchen with Calpurnia and he told them that Tom Robinson was dead. He'd been shot trying to escape the work prison. Atticus wanted Cal to go with him to tell Tom's wife.
When Atticus and Cal left, Alexandra talked to Maudie about the strain the case had put on Atticus. Although Alexandra didn't approve of all that he did, she didn't understand how much more the people of the town wanted from him. Miss Maudie explained to Alexandra as she'd explained to Jem that calling on Atticus to do these things was a tribute because he was the man they trusted to do it right. The few people in Maycomb who believed that justice was colorblind and respected black people as human beings trusted Atticus to go to bat for their cause.
September came to Maycomb County, but summer weather stayed, and Scout missed Dill. The last two days he'd been in Maycomb, Jem had taken Dill down to Barker's Eddy to teach him to swim, so Scout hadn't been able to play with him. On his last day in Maycomb, Dill was walking home with Jem from the Eddy when they saw Atticus pass by in his car. Cal was in the backseat. Atticus let them ride with him because traffic was so light that they'd have trouble hitching another ride home, but he made them promise to stay in the car. He and Cal had been on their way out to Tom Robinson's house to tell his wife the sad news.
The town buzzed with the news for two days, and Mr. Underwood, the newspaper editor, wrote a scathing editorial in The Maycomb Tribune about the sin of killing cripples -- he compared it to killing songbirds. When Scout read it, she was a bit confused at first because Tom had been given his due process at court and had been convicted by a jury despite Atticus' attempts to save him. Then Scout understood.
"Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men's hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed." Chapter 25, Pg. 244
Miss Stephanie Crawford had been only too happy to spread the word around town and in front of Jem and Scout that Bob Ewell's comments on Tom's death were that now only two were left to take care of.
When school had started again that fall, Scout was no longer afraid of the Radley place, and she was even a little embarrassed that she'd been a part of the attempts to harass Boo Radley into coming out. She still wanted to see him, but she fantasized that if she did, they would talk as if they'd seen each other every day of their lives. So much had happened since that summer that Boo Radley seemed a lifetime ago. Although the Robinson case was over, it left a residue and it seemed to Scout that the adults in Maycomb talked to their children about the case. She felt as if the parents insisted that their children be nice to Scout and Jem in spite of Atticus because it wasn't their fault he was their father. So Scout and Jem were also forced to behave respectably as they had learned in the Dubose days. Despite their distaste for Atticus, it seemed that the townspeople had no problem re-electing him to the state. This contradiction prompted Scout's conclusion that people were just peculiar and it was better to stay away from them in general, so she didn't think about people unless she was forced to.
One day at school Cecil Jacobs presented his current event concerning Adolf Hitler and his incarceration of Jews. Miss Gates, Scout's teacher, discussed this injustice and crime against humanity, lecturing the children at great length about how wrong it was for Hitler to persecute them that way.
That night Scout was confused about something, some discrepancy in what she'd heard that day. She questioned Atticus about whether it was right to hate Hitler, and he told her that it's never right to hate anybody. Then she started to ask Atticus something, but decided that Jem would be better for this question she couldn't articulate.
She went to talk to Jem about it and she explained what Miss Gates had told her class at school that day. Then she asked Jem if it was wrong to persecute anyone. When he answered yes, she told him that she'd overheard Miss Gates talking to Miss Stephanie on the way out of the courthouse at Tom Robinson's trial. Miss Gates had said that what happened served those blacks right because they'd been getting above their station and needed to be taught a lesson. Scout hadn't been able to understand how someone could hate Hitler so much for what he was doing and then be so hateful to the people of her own community. Jem didn't answer her because he was furious. He shook her and told her not to ever talk about that night to him again. His quick anger scared her, and she ran downstairs to climb in Atticus' lap. Atticus had overheard Jem's outburst and explained to Scout that he was just trying to forget something for a little while until he could sort it all out. He was sure that when Jem had sorted through it, he'd be himself again.
Topic Tracking: Innocence 13
By mid-October things had settled down in Maycomb County with the exception of three small things that indirectly involved the Finches. The first thing was that in the span of a few days Bob Ewell acquired and lost a job. He blamed losing his job on Atticus, but Atticus was uninvolved and unconcerned at the accusation. The second peculiarity was that Judge Taylor had been at home reading one evening when he heard some scratching on the back porch. When he went to see what it was, the screen door was swinging open and a shadow at the corner of his house was all he saw of whatever had been there. The third thing was that Tom Robinson's death, his wife had taken a job with Mr. Link Deas, Tom's employer. The Ewell family harassed her until Mr. Deas set Bob Ewell straight with a threat to have him thrown in jail. Alexandra was worried about the incidents, but Atticus insisted that there was no reason to be alarmed. Bob Ewell had had his revenge on everyone involved in the case, and it was all over now.
Maycomb went back to normal and seemed just as it had in years. The only difference in Maycomb at the time was the introduction of a Halloween carnival at the high school to prevent children from pranks. Mrs. Merriweather had written a pageant about the history of Maycomb and other ladies prepared a carnival in the high school auditorium. Mrs. Merriweather wanted some children to dress as the agricultural products of Maycomb County in the pageant, and Scout was given the role of a ham. Scout's costume was chicken wire molded into the shape of a cured ham and covered with brown fabric and painted to resemble a ham. There were two eyeholes in the hock of the ham so that Scout could see, but she couldn't put on or take off the costume on her own because it kept her arms pinned at her sides.
The night of the pageant came and Atticus had just returned from Montgomery and was too tired to attend. Alexandra also refused, so Scout had to perform her part for them at home. Scout gave her performance and Jem agreed to take her to the carnival that night, and so began the longest journey Jem and Scout would make together.
Scout and Jem walked to the auditorium together on that black, warm night, and on their way Cecil Jacobs, Scout's classmate, jumped out from behind the oak tree and scared them as a Halloween prank. When it was time for the pageant to begin, Scout and Cecil went to don their costumes and waited for their part to come. As Mrs. Merriweather droned on through the history of Maycomb County, Scout had nestled down in her costume and fallen asleep. She didn't wake until the end and although she ran on then, it was too late. Her cue had long since passed. When Jem went backstage for her, Scout was too mortified to take her costume off or leave the auditorium until everyone was gone. Jem had humored her, and when the place was cleared out, they started across the field for home.
On the walk home Jem made Scout stop a few times because he thought he heard something behind them. They thought it was Cecil trying to pull his prank one more time, but he didn't respond to their jibes. When they walked she could hear the footsteps behind them and the steps stopped when she and Jem did. Jem led her by the ham hock because she couldn't take her costume off since she wasn't wearing much beneath it. When they reached the oak tree where Cecil had scared them before, Scout and Jem stopped but the footsteps behind them didn't. Jem screamed at Scout to run, but she was knocked down and her costume made it impossible to get up. She heard scuffling, the sound of metal tearing metal and bodies tangling on the ground in a struggle, and then Jem grabbed her and pulled her toward the road. Scout's head and shoulders were exposed, but the rest of her was so tangled in the chicken wire that they couldn't move fast enough. They had almost made it to the road before Jem's body was jerked back into the darkness. Scout heard more fighting in the darkness and then a crunching sound preceded Jem's scream. She ran toward his yelp and ran into a soft stomach. Her arms were still pinned at her sides as the man squeezed the breath out of her. As she was being crunched, someone from behind her assailant grabbed him and flung him to the ground. She thought it was Jem as another struggle ensued that ended with the wheezing sound of one man and the heavy, sob-like breathing of another. Scout heard the man walk heavily and awkwardly toward the road, and she headed in the direction she thought was home. On her hurried way saw a man carrying Jem pass under the streetlight. Jem's arm was hanging bizarrely from his body and in the light from the front door Scout saw Atticus help the strange man carry Jem inside. Jem was unconscious, his arm badly broken, but Scout was okay.
Heck Tate, the sheriff, came over and they gathered in Jem's room. Alexandra was in a rocking chair in the corner of the room and Atticus was standing by Jem's bed. The man who'd carried Jem in was standing in a corner pressed against the wall. Scout assumed he was some countryman she didn't know who'd heard their screams and come to help. Heck told them that Bob Ewell was under the tree with a kitchen knife stuck under his ribs.
Atticus was stunned by the news. Heck asked Scout to describe what had happened and from Atticus' lap she recounted her story. Heck examined Scout's crushed costume and pointed out a long, clean cut through the chicken wire where a knife had slashed the costume without harming Scout. The ham costume had saved her life. Scout went on to describe the scuffling. She said that when Mr. Ewell was trying to squeeze her to death someone pulled him off of her, and she thought Jem had gotten up again. But then she heard the hard breathing of someone older and thought it was Atticus. Heck asked who it was and she pointed to the man in the corner and said that he could tell Mr. Tate his name. As she looked at him she noticed the paleness of his hands and face. He looked delicate and his eyes were so colorless he almost looked blind. His cheeks were thin and his face looked hollow, and when she pointed to him he seemed to tense up. She stared at him a moment in wonder and he smiled timidly as her eyes filled and she greeted him with, "'Hey, Boo.'" Chapter 29, Pg. 273
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 9
As Heck stared at Boo, Atticus had suggested they sit out on the porch to discuss what happened, and Scout realized that he took them to the porch because it was dark there and Boo's eyes were more accustomed to the dark. Scout led him politely to the front porch and to a rocking chair in a dark corner and then sat beside him. She was living out her fantasy in a way. While they were on the porch, Heck and Atticus argued about what must have happened to Bob Ewell. Heck insisted that Ewell fell on his own knife, but Atticus was adamant that Jem had killed Ewell in the struggle. Heck refused to believe that a boy with such a severely broken arm could possibly have overpowered a grown man, so Ewell must have fallen on his knife.
When Heck began to demonstrate the way he believed it happened, he pulled a switchblade from his jacket to use as a prop. Atticus suspected that it was Bob Ewell's knife, but Heck insisted that he'd taken it from some drunk in town earlier that night and that Ewell was carrying the kitchen knife that killed him. He justified his belief with this statement: "'There's a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it's dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time....'" Chapter 30, Pg. 278
Heck insisted that he just couldn't bring himself to drag into the limelight a man as shy as Arthur Radley although Arthur had done the whole town a favor by killing Bob Ewell. He'd killed the man to save Scout and Jem, but if Heck had aired that to the whole town, the man's privacy would have been destroyed and Heck didn't want to do that to him. He would have considered it a sin to do such a thing. When Atticus asked if Scout understood that Ewell fell on his knife, she assured him that Heck was right. She explained to Atticus that exposing Boo would be like shooting a mockingbird. Atticus thanked Arthur for saving his children and then went in the house.
Topic Tracking: Benevolence 10
Topic Tracking: Courage 10
Scout took Boo's hand and led him back into the house to go check on Jem again. As Boo and Scout stood at Jem's bedside, he reached out to touch Jem's head, but hesitated. Scout explained that he could pet him, but only because he was asleep because when he was awake he'd never allow anyone to do it. Boo gently touched Jem's head. Then Scout led him downstairs and to the steps of their front porch when Boo asked her in a childlike voice if she would take him home. Rather than lead him home like a child, she made him crook his arm and she slipped her hand into it. Anyone who saw them wouldn't see her leading him home, but rather Mr. Arthur Radley escorting her down the sidewalk as a gentleman. When they got to his house, she walked him up onto the porch and he went inside. Standing on the porch she remembered all the things he had given them in the tree on top of saving their lives and how they had given him nothing, and it made her sad. She walked to the edge of the porch and she looked at the neighborhood and imagined all the things Boo must have seen from that end of the street. She remembered the events of the past few years and imagined how they must have looked from that spot realizing that Boo had been watching the whole time. She never saw Boo again.
On her way home Scout thought that she and Jem would grow up, but there didn't seem much else for them to learn now beyond algebra. She had gone into the house and up to Jem's room to check on him. She had so much to tell him about what had happened while he was asleep. She had found Atticus sitting in Jem's room reading The Gray Ghost, and he read to her until she had fallen asleep at his feet. He carried her into her room and put her into her pajamas as she had muttered that she'd heard every word and began repeating the story she knew so well. But as she told the story, she made a transition from the plot of The Gray Ghost to her own ghost story about Boo Radley, about how they had chased the ghost because they wanted to know what he looked like. And when they finally saw him, they realized that he hadn't done any of the terrible things they'd thought he had. He was really a nice person, and Atticus answered that "'[m]ost people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'" Chapter 31, Pg. 284