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Kill a Mocking Bird


The Author
Chapter 1
Chapter 2-3
Chapter 4-5
Chapter 6-8
Chapter 9-11
Chapter 12-13
Chapter 14-15
Chapter 16-17
Chapter 18-19
Chapter 20-22
Chapter 23-25
Chapter 26-27



Chapters 4 and 5


Scout describes her school year as being boring as she is not challenged by what is being taught. Quite bored with school, Scout anticipates her afternoons playing her yard with Jem. Jem, however, leaves school thirty minutes after Scout so Scout walks herself home passed the Radley house. One day, as she passes the house, she notices something shiny in the knot of an old oak tree that stands on the border of the Radley property. Scout examines the object and realizes it is two pieces of chewing gum. Scout takes the gum and tells Jem about the incident when he arrives home. Scared by the fact that Scout found the gum on the Radley lot, Jem orders Scout to spit out the gum.

On the last day of school, Scout and Jem pass the oak tree together and find a shiny package made of gum wrappers containing two, polished Indian-head pennies. The children wonder who left the pennies in the tree but decide to take the pennies until they can ask their friends at school next Fall if they'd lost the pennies. Scout has no idea who placed the pennies in the tree but Jem seems to have an idea.

School ends and Dill returns from Meridian. As usual, the three friends play act stories that they have read. This summer, however, they find themselves bored with the sotires they've already done and want to try something new. On one occasion they find and old tire and Scout curls up inside it and the other two puxh it down the street. She loses control and the tire rolls right into the Radley's yard. The children panic and stop this game. This episode gives Dill another idea for a new game.

Dill, still fascinated by the legend of Boo Radley, wants to act out Boo's story. The three take roles: Scout plays Mrs. Radley, Dill plays Mr. Radley, and Jem gets to play Boo. For several days the threesome play "Boo Radley" in their front yard, acting out the scene in which Boo stabs his father with a pair of scissors. The neighbors notice the game and alert Atticus. Atticus takes the scissors away and scolds the children who lie by saying they are not talking about the Radley's. Atticus leaves the situation alone but the children's enthusiasm about the game wanes.

Chapter Five opens with Scout lamenting over Jem and Dill's growing relationship. To occupy her time while Jem and Dill spent their afternoons in their treehouse, Scout turned to her neighbor, Miss Maudie. A kind and patient woman, Maudie also had her own eccentricities. Unlike most other proper Maycomb ladies, Maudie spent most of her time outside, working in her garden. She treated Scout with respect and allowed her to be herself rather than criticize her for her tomboy ways.

Maudie and Scout spend one summer afternoon discussing the history of the Radley family. Miss Maudie describes Mr. Radley, Boo's father, as a "foot-washing" Baptist who believed that pleasure was sin. Foot-washers, according to Maudie, believe that flowers and women are also sins by definition. Scout wonders if this is the reason why they locked Boo in the house, to keep him away from women and flowers. Although Maudie offers no explanation for Boo's reclusion, she does warn Scout against believing all the gossip she hears about Boo.

The day after her conversation with Maudie, Scout finds Jem and Dill plotting to send a note to Boo by attaching a piece of paper to a fishing pole. Scout reluctantly joins the boys but their plan fails as the paper remains attached to the fish hook and Atticus catches them in the act. He issues his final warning and scolds the children for the "Boo Radley" game they had thought he had forgotten. Atticus firmly believes all people, including Boo, deserve respect and should be treated decently regardless of their class, race, or strange behavior.



We get further information concerning the childhood adventures of the three with the shadow of Boo Radley hanging over their activities. This threat is purely self-generated by the children, in particular, Dill’s vivid imagination.

Scout discovers gifts in the Radley tree, and of course, the reader immediately realizes where these are coming from, but Scout does not see the connection.

Lee cleverly retains Scout’s naivety for a six-year old whilst giving the reader sufficient information to draw an adult conclusion.

Miss Maudie is one of the book’s strongest female characters and one of the few residents of Maycomb who shares Atticus’ sense of justice. She also becomes a close friend of Scout’s and is the principal maternal figure along with Aunt Alexandra. Whereas Aunt Alexandra will provide guidance regarding the correct behavior for ladies, Miss Maudie will provide a stronger role model, as she understands the tomboy aspect of Scout’s character.

There are several central themes throughout the novel’s plot.

It is clear that Scout’s real education comes from outside school, from Atticus and from the books, which she reads. She would read anything, which was available in the house, especially Time Magazine, but she is bound by the law to endure the drudgery of the Maycomb County School system.

There are differing types of prejudice prevalent in the Alabama culture, not only by whites to blacks, but vice versa.  Calpurnia’s attitude about the way the Finch children should speak is typical.  She is clearly concerned to teach the children to be white in total contrast to the way she brought up her own son, Zeebo. There is also prejudice between the better-off residents of Maycomb and the impoverished families like the Ewell’s and Cunningham’s.

Despite the specter of evil, which the children have generated concerning Boo Radley, they show bravery by continuing to flirt with this force.  A typical example of this is Jem’s bravery in deciding to deliver a note to Boo by shoving it under his door.

Scout’s world is a safe place. The only fears she has have been generated through her own imagination. When she passes the Radley house she takes and eats the gum on trust.

Coupled with trust is, of course, truth and we find during the course of the story that almost every character lies at some stage, although these lies are meant to protect people from trouble.

Scout will face different forms of femininity as she tries to understand what it is to ‘be a girl’. The two main female role models have different views on femininity, but it would appear that Scout would tend to adopt Miss Maudie’s line.

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