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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




The narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird is Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch who lives with her brother Jem and widowed father who is a lawyer in the Alabama town of Maycomb. The story covers three consecutive summers and at the start of the tale Scout is aged six.

During the first summer, a new boy named Dill moves into town and he, Scout, and Jem become good friends. They play a lot together acting out different stories and fantasies. One recurring theme deals with a run-down, eerie looking house on their street owned by Mr. Nathan Radley. Even though the Radley brothers live there, they have not been maintaining the property and nobody in town has ever seen either of them.

The reader learns that this was Scout's first year at school and that she has been having problems. She would prefer to stay at home and be taught by her father, but this is against the law. As time goes by, Scout and Jem find some mysterious presents in the knothole of an old tree on the Radley place, leading to fascination with the mysterious Boo Radley.

Jem, Dill, and Scout venture out one night to try to see into Boo Radley's back window - an adventure that leads to frightening results, especially for Jem. As the summer comes to a close, Scout and Jem find more presents in the Radley tree. Their treasures include small sculptures and a watch. Unfortunately, Mr. Radley, who seals up the hole in the tree, suddenly cuts off their bounty.

Winter comes quickly, bringing a rare snowstorm to Maycomb. Miss Maudie's house is ruined in a fire, and Scout has a rare encounter with Boo Radley without even knowing it.

Scout gets into a number of fisticuffs with both a classmate and her cousin when the two boys taunt her about her father, whom they insult by calling him a "nigger lover." Atticus explains to Scout that he will be defending a black man named Tom Robinson on the charge of rape.

That Christmas which is spent at Finch's Landing, the family farm, they are given air rifles, but are told not to kill a mockingbird. It is explained to them that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird as they only given humans pleasure by singing their heart out.

Jem and Scout's Aunt Alexandra decides to come and stay with them during the final summer of the story and initially it appears that Scout will be on her own as her older brother has no time for her, and Dill will stay with his mother and new stepfather. He, however, runs away from home to stay with his aunt in Maycomb for the rest of that summer.

The trial of Tom Robinson is scheduled to begin and when he is placed in the local jail a mob gathers to lynch him. Atticus has taken up a position outside the jail anticipating this development. The mob seems determined to have their way and it is only Scout's intervention, which brings about the dispersal of the mob through her innocence and honesty.

When Tom Robinson's trial finally begins, evidence begins to show that Robinson is obviously innocent. Heck Tate and Mr. Ewell take the stand giving further evidence to prove Robinson's innocence. Atticus points out that a left-handed man must have beaten Mayella Ewell. He goes on to show that while Mr. Ewell is left-handed, Tom Robinson's left arm is crippled due to a farming accident. When Mayella Ewell takes the stand, it becomes obvious that her story has many holes in it. However, she starts crying hysterically before Atticus may point many of them out. When Tom Robinson takes the stand, the obviously true story comes out. It becomes evident that Mayella Ewell was a very lonely person who's only crime was to kiss a black man. Her father, Bob Ewell, beat and raped her for this crime. Mr. Ewell also forced her to say that Tom Robinson did it, so that he wouldn't get in trouble.

Even though it is clear that Tom Robinson is innocent, the all-white jury convicts him and he is later shot whilst trying to escape.

Months pass, Summer turns to Fall, the routine of school starts for the children, but Bob Ewell holds on to his grudge against some of Maycomb's citizens, including Judge Taylor, Helen Robinson and Atticus. In October, the night of Halloween, Scout prepares for a presentation at her school. She plans to wear a bulky pig costume, one that severely limits her vision. While returning home from the school pageant, Jem and Scout are attacked. Jem's arm is broken, and a stranger carries him home. Scout cannot see what is happening because of her constrictive costume.

Afterwards, a search of the area by the local officials turns up Bob Ewell's dead body.

As Heck Tate and Atticus listen, Scout tells them what happened to her and Jem, ending by pointing to the man who had carried Jem home. It is then that Scout realizes that the stranger is Boo Radley who had come to their rescue. Atticus assumes that it was Jem who stabbed Bob Ewell, but the sheriff tells Atticus that he intends to report that Ewell fell on his own knife. Atticus is sure that the sheriff is trying to protect Jem, until it finally dawns on him that it was actually Boo Radley who killed Ewell. Scout walks Boo Radley home and then returns to her house.


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