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 compassion. 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’ sister. 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 Maycomb? 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. Dubose? 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.