To Kill A Mockingbird Questions and Discussion

To Kill A
Questions and Discussions
Questions for Chapter 1:
1) What do we learn about Atticus in the first
chapter regarding his personal integrity, his
courage, his sense of fairness, his
2) Describe the family life the Finches appear to
3) What is it about Dill that makes Jem and
Scout accept him?
4) What are some of the details Lee included to
place this story in the 1930s?
5) Explain in a clearly-written sentence or two
why the Radley family chooses to withdraw
from Maycomb society?
6) What are two of the local legends or
superstitions surrounding Arthur Radley?
7) Contrast Atticus’ approach to Boo with Miss
8) List Dill’s ideas for getting Boo to come out.
9) Why are the children so obsessed with seeing
Discussion: Narrator
Narrator: First person limited in retrospect
What are the benefits of this kind of narrator?
•As a child, Scout has a very simple and
“uncluttered” way of looking at the world. She is
innocent to the ways of adults and, as she
struggles to understand things, so does the reader.
•Also, because she is older and looking back on
her childhood, she can provide appropriate
commentary on the events
Discussion: Narrator
What are the downsides to this kind of narrator?
•Sophisticated vocabulary can make the events
difficult to work through
•You generally only get one perspective on a
situation that can include many different ideas
and beliefs.
Discussion: Setting
Setting: The small, fictional town of Maycomb,
Alabama in 1933
What are the characteristics of a small town?
Discussion: Setting
What are the characteristics of Maycomb in
•“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old
town when I first knew it” (pg. 5)
•“There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go,
nothing to buy and no money to buy it with,
nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb
county” (pg. 5)
•“The Radleys, welcome anywhere in town, kept to
themselves, a predilection unforgivable in
Maycomb...the shutters and doors of the Radley
house were closed on Sundays, another thing alien
to Maycomb’s ways” (pg. 9)
Discussion: Theme
One important theme from the novel is the idea
of “Othering”. What does this mean?
How does this idea of “othering” present itself in
the novel?
Discussion: Othering
Things to Consider:
• Atticus’ approach to Boo Radley vs. Miss
Stephanie Crawford’s approach (pg. 10-11)
• Dill’s approach to Boo Radley vs. Jem’s approach
• Turtle Conversation (pg. 14)
This doesn’t only to the Radley’s. People in
Maycomb “other” different families in their
•“But they were the Haverfords, in Maycomb
County a name synonymous with jackass” (pg. 5)
Questions for Chapters 2 & 3:
10) What is the name of Scout’s teacher and
what is she like? Why is she viewed with
11) Why does she tell Scout that she should no
longer read at home? What is ironic about
12) What do we learn about the Ewell family in
the first few chapters?
13) Explain how Walter Cunningham and Burris
Ewell are foils? Why might Lee have included
them in the novel?
14) Write one important fact about each of the following:
 Miss Stephanie Crawford
 Jem
 Scout
 The Cunninghams
 Boo Radley
 Finch’s Landing
 Calpurnia
 Atticus
 Dill
Discussion: Adult vs. Child World
Before these chapters, we saw very little of the
adult world. How does this world differ from
the simple child world that Scout, Jem and Dill
live in during the first chapter?
Do either worlds understand the other?
Discussion: Othering and Social Class
Finches vs. The Cunninghams:
• “The Cunninghams never took anything they can’t pay
back...they get along on what they have. They don’t
have much but they get along on it” (pg. 20)
• ‘“Are we poor Atticus?”
Atticus nodded. “We are indeed”
Jem’s nose wrinkled. “Are we as poor as the
Cunninghams?”’ (pg. 21)
• “Yo’ folks might be better’n the Cunninghams but it
don’t count for nothin’ the way you’re disgracin’ ‘em”
(pg. 24)
The Ewells:
• “Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace
of Maycomb for three generations. None of
them had done an honest days work in his
recollection.” (pg 30)
• “He said that the Ewells were members of an
exclusive society made up of Ewells. In certain
circumstances the common folk judiciously
allowed them certain priveleges by the simple
method of becoming blind to some of the
Ewell’s activities (pg. 30)
Social Class Hierarchy:
• Top: Finches (Though they are poor, they
have money. Upstanding individuals in the
 Middle: Cunninghams (They are poor but
they pay their debts. Are looked down on
by community but are still generally
• Low: Ewells (Dirt poor. Not trying to fit into
“civilized” society. Seen as a disgrace.)
Discussion: Walking in Another’s Shoes
“You never really understand a person until you
consider things from his point of view...until
you climb into his skin and walk around in it”
(pg. 30)
How does this come into play in these chapters?
Questions for Chapters 4, 5, & 6
15. As a naïve narrator, Scout often makes
mistakes which we, as well-informed, adult
readers may find humorous. What, for instance,
is it that Scout calls the Dewey Decimal System?
What, in reality, is the Dewey Decimal System?
16. In what ways is Miss Maudie like Atticus
(Chapter 5)?
17. What opinion does Miss Maudie have of
18. How does Atticus view the Radleys?
19. What is the Missouri Compromise?
20. Show how the theme of tolerance acceptance of others as they are - has been
developed so far.
Discussion: Othering Gender
How are females characterized in this novel?
“Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always
imagined things, that’s why other people hated
them so, and if I started behaving like one I could
just go off and find some to play with (pg 41)
The boys leave Scout to herself so she does go off
and find another woman to spend her time with.
Does this woman fit the description that Jem gives?
What is this woman like?
Miss Maudie as a Role Model
What kind of role model is Miss Maudie for
What does Scout learn from her?
Boo Radley
In this section of the novel, we slowly see Boo
Radley move from a “malevolent phantom” to
an actual human being. How does this happen?
• Jem and Dill and the game vs. Jem and Dill after
Atticus talks to them
• Scout before the tire rolls into the Radley yard vs.
• Scout before talking to Miss Maudie vs. after

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