Chapter 3 Notes from To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 3

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.

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