To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Ch. 9 – 11 Discussion Questions
Discussion Questions – Ch. 9
 What can be deduced about the character of Atticus
from his defense of Tom Robinson?
 Atticus takes a personal interest in the Tom Robinson
case; he says every lawyer has one case like this in his
lifetime. He must defend Tom Robinson to remain true
to his convictions. Atticus knows that he is not going
to “win”, but he doesn’t think that is a reason to not
try. He must undertake the defense to maintain his
own integrity. Atticus is a man of conscience and
Discussion Questions – Ch. 9
 Contrast Aunt Alexandra and Atticus.
 Atticus and Aunt Alexandra are so unlike each other
that Scout suspects Alexandra is not really Atticus’
 Aunt Alexandra is only concerned with appearances and
shallow traditions.
 Atticus is concerned with people’s character, not
superficial manners and dress.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 9
 How does Atticus hope to prevent Jem and Scout
from catching the disease of most people in
 Atticus hopes that Jem and Scout will not be inflicted
with Maycomb’s racism. He hopes that his example
will keep the children from becoming bitter and
prejudice. He hopes they will emerge from the
summer as individuals with strong values, and will
turn to him for guidance.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 10
 Explain the symbolic meaning of the mockingbird?
 Mockingbirds cause no harm to anybody. They are
gentle and give themselves through song, which is
why the children shouldn’t shoot at them because they
don’t deserve it. When Atticus gives his advice, he is
also referring to people whose natures are like the
mockingbird. It is a sin to destroy a gentle person.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 10
 What are the effects of the chapter’s main events Atticus,
Jem and Scout?
 Most importantly, in this chapter, the children learn to see
their father in a different light. When the chapter opens, Jem
and Scout view their father as old and feeble. To them, he
lacks admirable characteristics because he is not physically
active. What they do not realize until the end is that Atticus
is a true gentleman; he does not flaunt his accomplishments
and abilities.
 When Atticus drops the approaching “mad dog” with a
single shot, it is a revelation to Jem and Scout. This is the
man that would not teach them to shoot – Ol’ One-Shot. The
children are proud of his courage and skill.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 11
 What causes Jem to strike out against Mrs. Dubose?
 Mrs. Dubose is a sickly and sour old lady who says
nasty things to Jem and Scout whenever they pass by.
Mrs. Dubose does not agree with the way that Atticus
is raising the children, and she tells the children so.
Her reference to their deceased mother are especially
upsetting to Jem.
 Once Mrs. Dubose lashes out against Atticus his
defense of Tom Robinson, Jem has had enough and
strikes out by destroying her camellia buds.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 11
 As the nature of Mrs. Dubose’s affliction is
discovered, what is learned about her character?
 As it becomes more apparent, it is learned that she is a
woman of great strength and courage. Her illness in
the past has caused doctors to prescribe painkillers
which led to her morphine addiction. When she
realizes she has a short time left, she wants to “kick
her habit.” Her decision to die free greatly increases
her physical agony, but her moral strength and
courage triumph.
Discussion Questions – Ch. 11
 What does Jem gain from his experience with Mrs.
 Jem learns what real courage is. Courage is when a
person hand on tenaciously despite the fact that from
the outset he knows he is licked. In addition, Jem and
Scout learn a lesson about tolerance.

similar documents