To Kill A Mocking Bird

Harper Lee

BACKGROUND

The author of this book (Harper Lee) is a woman. In the book, Scout is kind of based on her. This book takes place in Alabama during the 1930’s. So this means there’s a lot of racism and stuff like that. This book is an American classic.... good movie too.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Jean Louise Finch (Scout): Scout is a 5 year old girl who is really smart.  Her mom is dead and her dad is alive. Scout’s brother is Jem. Scout is a tomboy and doesn’t have many friends. But she’s super smart and acts very mature for a 5 year old girl.

Atticus Finch: Atticus is Scout and Jem’s father. He’s not very good with kids. Atticus is a very smart guy, who is also a lawyer.

Jem Finch: Jem is Scout’s older brother by four years. His best friend is Dill. Jem is quiet, and smart too like his sister.

Calpurnia: Calpurnia is a black servant who works for the Finches. She’s a cool lady and the Finches are nice to her.

Charles Baker Harris (Dill): Dill is Jem’s best friend. He comes from a broken home. He lies a lot about what he’s done.

Arthur Radley AKA "Boo" Radley: Boo Radley is a weird old guy who lives in the town. He did some illegal shit when he was younger and his dad locked him up in the house. So everyone in the town creates lies about him because nobody knows him. They think he’s this weird psycho dude. He hasn’t been seen outside his house in years.

Tom Robinson: He’s a black dude who gets accused of raping a white woman. He didn’t do it. He gets killed in the end.

Mayella Ewell & Bob Ewell: Mayella is the one who says she got raped. Bob is her FATHER. He’s an abusive, drunk bastard.

PLOT

The story starts in the summer with Scout and Jem. They meet this kid named Dill. Dill is from Mississippi, and he is staying with his Aunt in Alabama for the summer. The kids talk about Boo Radley, the weird guy of the town. They want to get him out of his house. They tell the stories about Boo Radley that everyone thinks are true, and how crazy his family is. They play around and pretend to act out incidents from those stories, like when Boo Radley stabbed his father with scissors. Then Dill goes back home. The schoolyear comes and goes. Scout doesn’t like school because she can read and write already so school is pretty boring for her. Towards the end of the schoolyear, Scout and Jem find out that someone is leaving gifts such as gum and stuff for them in a tree on the edge of Boo Radley's property (Most likely Boo Radley is leaving the gifts). 

When the summer hits, Dill returns to Alabama. The kids talk again about trying to get Boo Radley to come out of his house. Before dill goes back home, they all decide to do something. so they go to Boo Radley’s porch to look inside his house. Boo Radley’s brother (Nathan) sees the nosy kids and scares them away. When Jem is running away he gets caught on a wire fence and rips his jeans. He leaves his jeans behind at Boo Radley’s house. Then Jem returns to get his jeans. He finds his jeans stitched up and everything. That’s when Jem realizes that Boo Radley is a nice dude, and not a friggin psycho. The next winter Boo Radley does something nice for Scout. Some chicks’ house catches fire and while Scout is standing there watching it, Boo Radley wraps her in a blanket. What a swell guy. So now that they see he’s a nice guy, they really don’t care about him anymore.

Then the story shifts to Jem and Scout’s dad (Atticus). Atticus gets assigned a case in court to defend a black man (Tom Robinson) who was accused of raping some white chick. Everyone starts making fun of Atticus because he’s helping out a black dude (Remember, this is Alabama). People start fights with Jem and Scout too, but their dad tells them not to fight because fighting is bad. The kids wonder why their dad is such a wimp, but they later learn that he used to be an awesome rifle marksman and stopped shooting/fighting because he wanted to. However, the kids do not listen to their dad, and they still get in fights. Mrs. Dubose, some old lady who insults Atticus and the kids, gets her garden destroyed by Jem. Jem is punished for that.

Everyone in the town is talking about this big rape trial. Atticus learned that some of the white guys plan on killing Tom Robinson. Atticus goes to the jail to make sure Tom doesn’t get killed. Then Scout and Jem go down to the jail. They see an angry mob there who plan to kill Tom. The mob leaves though.

Then the trial starts. During the trial, Atticus makes the rape victim (Mayella Ewell) and her father (Bob Ewell) look like liars. Bob is pissed at Atticus for making him look bad. Tom Robinson is clearly innocent, but the jury convicts him anyway because they are total racist assholes. Tom Robinson is pissed and tries to escape from jail but is shot and killed.

After a school play, Scout and Jem are walking home. Bob Ewell sees them and decides to get his revenge by killing Atticus’ kids. So he follows them and attacks. But Boo Radley comes out of nowhere and kills Bob Ewell, saving the kids. He is a hero.

CHAPTER BY CHAPTER

CHAPTER 1

  • Scout Finch is the narrator of the book.
  • We learn that Jem’s arm is broken. This is a story where they start at the end and recap all the events leading up to WHY the arm is broken.
  • She talks about the history of her family. Her ancestors were slave owners and redneck farmers.
  • We learn Scout is 6, and her mom died when she was 2.  Her father (Atticus) is a lawyer and isn’t very loving.
  • Scout and her brother Gem meet Charles Harris, whose nickname is Dill. Dill is from Mississippi and tells them stories about his town.
  • They tell Dill about Boo Radley. Boo Radley is like the town freak, or myth.He’s like "the bogeyman" or "the man with a hook for an arm"
  • They tell Dill all the stories they heard (gossip) about Boo.  He stabbed his dad once and he is a perverted peeping tom.

CHAPTER 2

  • Dill goes back to Mississippi in the fall.
  • Scout is starting her first year at school
  • Scout can already read (taught herself at home)
  • Scout’s teacher is Ms Caroline Fisher. The teacher is pissed because Scout can already read and the teacher wanted to teach everyone how to read. She has some fucked up system where she wanted all the kids to not know how to read so she could use her "method" of teaching.
  • The teacher comes from another part of Alabama so she doesn’t know anybody in the town.
  • She sees that one of her students (Walter Cunningham) did not bring lunch so she gives him $$.
  • It turns out that Walter’s family is poor and doesn’t accept charity.
  • Scout fills her teacher in on Walter’s family. The teacher gets pissed and thinks that Scout is a cocky brat, so she punishes her.

CHAPTER 3

  • Jem and Scout invite Walter Cunningham to their house for lunch.
  • Scout is shocked because her dad treats Walter with such respect, even though is a poor kid.
  • Scout makes fun of Walter because of the way he eats. Calpurnia (black servant) punishes Scout.
  • (Calpurnia is like the kid’s surrogate mommy)
  • The kids return to school that day. A student (Burris Ewell) has lice and is sent home. He yells at the teacher.
  • That night Scout asks her daddy if she can quit school. She is mad because the teacher wants her to stop reading at home with her daddy
  • Her dad tells her that he will keep reading to her but she must try and make friends with her teacher. He gives her a lesson in life: that you have to get along with people even though they think differently.

CHAPTER 4

  • The schoolyear passes.
  • Then the story cuts to the spring. Jem and Scout find out that someone is leaving little gifts in a hole in a tree on Boo Radley's poperty. They find gum and Indianhead pennies. Jem thinks the gum is poison but thinks the pennies are good luck.  
  • Then the story cuts to the summer. Dill comes back from Mississippi.
  • They all play some games: roll around in a tire and act out Boo Radley’s weird ass stories.
  • When they play the tire game, Scout accidentally rolls into Boo Radley’s yard.  She thinks she hears laughter inside the house.

CHAPTER 5

  • Jem and Dill become best friends. Scout is kinda being pushed out of the loop so she makes friends with her neighbor Ms Maudie (old widow)
  • Ms Maudie talks shit about everyone in the town.
  • She talks about Boo Radley and that his father is very religious.
  • She talks about Ms Stephanie (town gossip) saying she’s a whore.

CHAPTER 6

  • The book cuts to the end of the summer. Dill is about to leave for Mississippi.
  • Before he leaves, the kids decide to go to Boo Radley’s porch.   When they are there, a man comes out and fires his gun to scare them away. (The man is Nathan Radley, boo’s brother)
  • While running for his life, Jem’s pants get caught on a fence. He takes them off and runs, leaving his pants behind.
  • When they get home, Jem tells his dad he lost his pants playing Strip poker. Atticus doesn’t believe them
  • Jem goes back in the middle of the night to get his pants back

CHAPTER 7

  • After the incident, Jem tells Scout that when he went back to get his pants, someone had fixed the rip.
  • The story cuts to the fall and the kids find gifts in that hole in the tree again near Boo Radley’s house.  They find, carved soap, a pocket watch, and gum.
  • Nathan Radley fills the hole with cement because he says the tree is dying.
  • Atticus tells the kids that the tree ISN’T dying.

CHAPTER 8

  • The story cuts to winter. The kids make a snowman.
  • Ms Maudie leaves her stove on at night and her house burns down.
  • When the kids are outside in the cold watching the fire, someone puts a blanket around Scout.
  • The kids figure out that it must be Boo Radley because everyone else was trying to put out the fire.
  • Jem, Scout and their dad talk about Boo Radley. They decide that Boo isn’t some psycho weirdo, but a nice guy who happens to be weird.

CHAPTER 9

  • Scout gets in a fight at school because some kid said that her dad "defended niggers"
  • Scout asks her dad about it. She finds out that he is defending a black dude accused of rape.
  • Atticus tells Scout not to fight with the other kids because they are insulting him.
  • Scout’s cousin (Francis) calls Atticus a nigger lover, and Scout decks him.
  • Scout gets spanked by her Uncle Jack
  • Atticus and Uncle Jack talk about the case and how the kids are gonna have a rough time because everyone will be making fun of them and their father.

CHAPTER 10

  • Jem and Scout think their father is a big wimp because he never fights, never does any rough stuff, and never hunts.
  • Atticus hates guns, but he gives Jem and Scout air rifles for Xmas because they’re youngsters, and most young folks in Maycomb packed heat.
  • He told them though, to never kill a mockingbird because they’re nice birds (hence the title)
  • One day a dog with rabies wanders the streets. The sheriff asks Atticus to shoot the dog. the kids find out that their father is not a wuss, but is a highly skilled marksman. He stopped shooting though because he felt he was too good.

CHAPTER 11

  • One day Jem and Scout are walking and they pass by the house of this old lady (Mrs. Dubose)
  • Mrs. Dubose insults their father. So on the way home, Jem destroys all of her beautiful flowers.
  • Atticus punishes Jem. His punishment: He has to read to her (Mrs Dubose) for 2 hours every day.
  • Scout goes along with him and the kids hate it because she’s such an old bitch. Then she asks them not to come anymore
  • Shortly after, she dies. The kids learn that she was addicted to morphine, and the reading helped her kick her addiction.
  • Atticus is proud of his son for what he did.

CHAPTER 12

  • Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to her black church.  Some of the black people are mad because there are whites in the church.
  • The kids learn that some black people hate whites.
  • In the church a collection is taken up so Helen Robinson (wife of accused rapist) can have some $$.

CHAPTER 13

  • After church, the kids go home and see that their Aunt Alexandra is visiting.
  • The kids hate their Aunt because she is such a snob.
  • Alexandra wants to turn Scout into a lady instead of a tomboy.

CHAPTER 14

  • Alexandra argues with Atticus about a lot of stuff, including his big rape case.
  • She wants Calpurnia fired because she thinks a black woman is bad for the kids.
  • One night Scout finds someone in her room. It turns out to be Dill.
  • Dill ran away from home because his parents were mean.
  • Jem did not want his dad to find out that Dill was in the house because his dad was angry enough (because of Alexandra was bitching at him).
  • Dill’s parents tell Dill that he can stay with his Aunt in Alabama. So everything works out.

CHAPTER 15

  • The Sheriff and a mob of people come to Atticus’ house to talk. Jem and Scout think they’re gonna beat up their daddy.
  • Atticus tells Jem and Scout that the group was nice and they weren’t gonna hurt him.
  • The next day, Jem and Scout find out that they wanted to talk to Atticus about Tom Robinson (accused rapist) and how he might get killed by some angry townspeople.
  • That night Jem and Scout can’t find their dad. They find out that he went down to the jail to stop an angry mob from killing Tom Robinson.
  • When Scout and Jem go down to the jail, they see a group of men.   At first they think they’re friendly but they see that the guys are there to kill Tom Robinson.  Scout recognizes one of the guys (Walter Cunningham, father of that poor kid)
  • She talks to him and because she’s friendly with him she kind of embarrasses him, considering the situation. So he calls off the mob and gets everyone to go home.
  • The kids then see that the whole time this was going on, Mr. Underwood (newspaper editor) was hiding with a gun ready to open fire on the mob.

CHAPTER 16

  • The big trials starts
  • Everyone in the town heads down to the courthouse, because this is like the OJ trial to these people.
  • Atticus tells his kids to stay at home but they go to the trial anyway and sit with the blackfolk.

CHAPTER 17

  • At the trial the sheriff testifies that Mayella Ewell "said" she was raped by Tom Robinson.
  • We learn the Ewell family is a dirty white trash family. But because Bob Ewell (Mayella’s father) said she was raped by a black dude, people are befriending him.
  • The Sheriff said that Mayella was hit and bruised on the right side of her face. Then Atticus gets Bob to sign his name and we see that he’s left handed. (Because someone who swings with their left hand, would hit you on the right side of your face).
  • Atticus makes it look like Bob Ewell is the one who attacked his daughter

CHAPTER 18

  • Mayella testifies and said that Tom Robinson came to her house. She paid him to do some work, but instead he raped her.
  • She tells some lies about how Tom Robinson attacked her and she cries.
  • Then Atticus tells Tom to stand up.
  • We see that his left hand is injured, which means there is no way he could beat her up.

CHAPTER 19

  • Tom Robinson takes the stand. He says that he did work for her a long time ago. The night she "said" she was raped, she invited him into the house.
  • Then she kissed him.
  • Then her father caught them kissing.
  • He ran (because a black guy kissing a white girl in Alabama...not good)
  • Then the cross examination starts.
  • Tom gets grilled by the other lawyer. Tom admits he felt sorry for her because she was nice but her father and brother were assholes.
  • The chapter ends with Dill and Scout talking. Dill feels sorry for Tom because the other attorney is being a prick to him.
  • Scout thinks the other attorney is just doing his job.

CHAPTER 20

  • The kids are outside and they talk to Mr. Raymond, some rich dude.
  • Everyone thinks Mr. Raymond is a drunk  because he’s married to a black woman. It turns out he just drinks coke and MAKES it look like he’s a drunk so people will leave him alone
  • Back in the courtroom, Atticus gives his closing speech. He talks equality and how even though Tom Robinson is black, the jury should be fair according to the law.

CHAPTER 21

  • Calpurnia comes to the courthouse, and then Atticus finds out that his kids snuck out and are at the courthouse.
  • He is not mad, and tells them to come later at night to hear the verdict.
  • Jem thinks Tom will be found innocent.
  • The kids return late at night to the courtroom to hear the verdict. The jury finds Tom guilty.
  • Even though he lost, Atticus is loved by all the black townspeople for doing his best in the trial.

CHAPTER 22

  • This chapter is basically about how everyone reacts to the case.
  • Jem is pissed that Tom is guilty.
  • Ms Maudie is sad, and tells Scout and Gem that their father is a crusader and does things that need to be done but aren’t very popular.
  • Bob Ewell is REALLY pissed at Atticus, and says that he’s gonna kill him.

CHAPTER 23

  • Atticus is not scared of Bob
  • Bob wants to kill him because Atticus made him look like an idiot in front of the whole town, and also made it obvious it was he who beat his daughter.
  • Jem and Atticus talk about the verdict. Atticus talks about the jury system and how people in Alabama that serve on juries are stupid hick farmers, which makes it hard to get a fair trial.
  • We learn the only juror who almost sided with Tom Robinson was a Cunningham, related to the guy who was part of the lynch mob.

CHAPTER 24

  • The story cuts to August.
  • Aunt Alexandra is having a tea party with her snobby friends, and she is trying to make Scout more ladylike.
  • Atticus comes home and tells everyone that Tom Robinson was killed while trying to escape from prison.

CHAPTER 25

  • Jem is really sad because Tom is dead.
  • He goes with his dad to tell Tom’s wife. She doesn’t take it very well (obviously)
  • Scout is sad too. She knows Tom never had a chance because he is a black guy and everyone in the town is racist and would never give him a fair trial or a chance to defend himself.

CHAPTER 26

  • Scout goes to school, and one of the kids brings in an article about Hitler for some project.
  • Scout’s teacher tells the kids how evil Hitler is because he is a racist.  Then Scout overhears her teacher talking about how she’s glad Tom Robinson is dead and how she doesn’t like blacks. Scout is mad because her teacher is a dirty hypocrite.
  • Scout tells Jem about this, and Jem gets pissed because Scout reminds him about the trial and Tom’s death. Jem doesn’t want to hear anything more on it.
  • Scout is sad and goes to talk to her daddy.

CHAPTER 27

  • Bob Ewell gets fired from his job because he’s a drunk bastard.
  • He starts stalking people involved with the rape trial. The judge scares him away from his house one late night. Bob Ewell also threatens Tom Robinson’s wife.
  • Atticus still isn’t scared of Bob coming after him.
  • The story cuts to Halloween.
  • There is a big carnival at the high school.
  • As part of the fair, there is a pageant where all the kids dress up as certain foods. (Remember, this is Alabama..they’re weird)
  • Scout has to be a ham.

CHAPTER 28

  • On Halloween, Jem and Scout go to the pageant. They walk by Boo Radley’s house and think about him again.
  • They go to the pageant and it really sucks.
  • Scout makes a mistake during the play and goes home because she’s embarrassed.
  • When they walk home, they see that someone is following them. The stranger attacks Scout then goes after Jem.  When Scout gets up, she realizes that there are 4 people fighting. She does not know who the attacker or the mysterious 4th person is who is defending them.
  • Then the mystery man takes Jem and carries him back to Jem’s house.
  • Scout thinks Jem is dead, but the doctor looks at him and finds that he only broke his arm.

CHAPTER 29

  • They find out that Bob Ewell is the one who attacked the kids. He was seeking revenge on Atticus.
  • The sheriff asks who saved them
  • Their mystery hero is still in Jem’s room and they didn’t know it. It is Boo Radley (the supposed bogeyman dude)
  • We learn that Bob Ewell was stabbed and died in the fight

CHAPTER 30

  • Everyone talks about the scuffle. The sheriff says that he will write a report that says that Bob Ewell accidentally fell on his knife.
  • The sheriff write it that way because he is protecting Boo Radley. He wants to save Boo Radley from all the publicity and questioning which would be a big pain in the ass.
  • Everyone agrees that this is the best course of action

CHAPTER 31

  • Last chapter, thank god.
  • Scout realizes she finally got Boo Radley to come out if his house.   She is talking to him on the porch.  Then they go back to Boo’s house.
  • She sits on his porch and can finally see the town through his eyes.
  • She is not scared of Boo Radley anymore.
  • She goes back home and Atticus reads a book to her.
  • Scout never sees Boo Radley ever again.

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • The title means not to kill innocent things.
  • Atticus tells the kids not to shoot mockingbirds because they don’t do any harm.
  • In the book, innocent people (mockingbirds) have bad stuff happen to them, like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley.
  • Discrimination is a big point in the book.
  • Not only is a black man given an unfair trial, but Boo Radley is labeled as a weirdo just because he doesn’t talk and keeps to himself.
  • Jem and Scout really grow up in this book. They start off as kind of naive and young. By the end of the book, they’ve experienced a lot of stuff firsthand and really have matured.
  • Lee (Author) makes the kids look more intelligent and fair than the adults in this book.