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To Kill a Mockingbird | Discussion Questions 51 - 60

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In Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird when Atticus, Jem, and Scout return to their house following the fire, what does Atticus notice Scout has with her?

When the fire is out and it is safe for the neighbors to return to their homes, Atticus, Jem, and Scout settle into the kitchen for some hot chocolate. It is then that Atticus notices Scout is wearing a blanket around her shoulders that isn't theirs. When he queries them about having stayed in front of the Radleys' house as he had instructed them to do, they assure him they did. Atticus then realizes what must have happened: Boo Radley had come outside and draped the blanket around Scout. Atticus tells the children, "Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up."

In Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird what does Scout do in the schoolyard the day after Atticus explains to her the reasons he will defend Tom Robinson?

Scout and Atticus's discussion of the Robinson case impacts Scout's thinking. When she sees and hears how committed Atticus is to the case despite the fact that he thinks he will lose, she seems to understand at least a little bit. The following day at school she walks away from a fight with Cecil Jacobs when he taunts her about Atticus being a disgrace for defending a black man.

In Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird how does Scout explain the mixed feelings she and Jem have about Christmas?

Scout explains that the good side of Christmas was the Christmas tree and the fact that Uncle Jack, Atticus's younger brother, came to stay for a week. The downside of the holiday was that Christmas also meant spending time with Aunt Alexandra, Uncle Jimmy, and their son, Francis Hancock. Uncle Jack—younger, single, and a doctor—is a lot more like Atticus in his thinking; Alexandra, the middle child of the three siblings, is entrenched in Maycomb's society and thus a supporter of its rigid rules of behavior, including its prejudice. Jem and Scout find being in her presence stifling, because she tends to make them a target of her criticism.

In Chapter 10 of To Kill a Mockingbird what does Atticus do that changes Scout's estimation of her father?

When Jem and Scout discover that a local dog named Tim Johnson has gone rabid, Atticus and Sheriff Heck Tate speed to the Finch neighborhood to take care of the situation. When Sheriff Tate is unsure of his ability to hit the dog and not hit the Radley house, he hands the gun to Atticus, who kills the ill animal with a single shot. The children learn then that Atticus had been a marksman in his early years, earning him the nickname "One-Shot Finch." Miss Maudie says that she thinks that Atticus "put his gun down when he realized ... [he had] an unfair advantage over most living things." Atticus is a man of character who cares for others.

In Chapter 10 of To Kill a Mockingbird to whom does Scout turn for help in sorting out her recent comparison of Atticus to other Maycomb fathers?

Scout's comparison of her father to other fathers begins, no doubt, as a result of all the negative statements the children are hearing about him. But Scout, like Jem, is reflective, and becomes more reflective as the novel progresses. Scout begins to think and compare in earnest about the time she and Miss Maudie begin to spend more time together, and Scout is fortunate enough to have Miss Maudie to turn to—and smart enough to give credence to what the older woman tells her.

In Chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird what does Atticus eventually tell Jem and Scout that Mrs. Dubose was trying to do before she died?

After Mrs. Dubose dies, Atticus tells the children she was a morphine addict and had been taking the drug for years to combat pain. (Although Atticus doesn't explicitly say her addiction is the cause of Mrs. Dubose's meanness, Harper Lee seems to imply this.) Sometime before she died, Atticus tells his children, Mrs. Dubose had decided that she wanted to break her addiction so that she might leave the world "beholden to nothing."

In Chapter 11 of To Kill a Mockingbird when Mrs. Dubose is on her deathbed, what does she give Atticus to take home for Jem?

Mrs. Dubose sends home a candy box with a single, perfect camellia in it for Jem. Although Jem takes the gesture as one more poke at him—he had earlier destroyed her camellia bushes after she made negative and racist comments about Atticus—Atticus suggests that it is her way of telling Jem that everything is okay now. Mrs. Dubose now symbolizes forgiveness and strength when before Jem thought of her as mean.

In Chapter 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird where do Jem and Scout go with Calpurnia while Atticus is out of town?

When Atticus goes away for an emergency session of the state legislature, Calpurnia realizes he hasn't made any plans about getting them to church on Sunday. Ultimately, Calpurnia invites Jem and Scout to go with her to her church, the First Purchase African M.E. Church.

In Chapter 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird what is the significance of the scene in which Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to church with her?

Calpurnia takes the children with her to her own church to make sure they do not act up in their own Sunday school. There, the children learn about the respect the African American community has for their father and the plight of Tom Robinson's family. The children also learn what Calpurnia already knows: that a person's race has no merit before God. When a parishioner, Lula, stops Calpurnia to ask why white children are coming to a black church, Calpurnia responds with a simple "It's the same God, ain't it?"

In Chapter 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird Dill writes Scout early on that summer telling her what?

In the early part of Chapter 12 Scout notes that it is shaping up to be a difficult summer. In addition to Jem turning 12 and being moody, she has received a note from Dill saying that he won't be coming to his Aunt Rachel's for the summer. According to his letter Dill has a new stepfather; together they plan to build a boat that summer.

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