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To Kill a Mockingbird | Discussion Questions 81 - 90


In Chapter 22 of To Kill a Mockingbird what is Atticus's response when Alexandra scolds him for allowing the children to witness Tom Robinson's trial?

At home again, Alexandra suggests that Atticus should not have allowed the children to go to court. Atticus tells her that Maycomb is their home and that they need to know the truth about what goes on there.

In Chapter 22 of To Kill a Mockingbird, on the morning after the trial what do the Finches and Calpurnia find left on their doorstep?

The day after Tom Robinson was convicted, Calpurnia and the Finches find many gifts of food on their doorstep. The food is given, in part, to repay Atticus for what he has done for Tom Robinson. During the Great Depression many people—especially farmers—bartered the foods they grew or raised for services they needed, as an earlier scene relates. The feast of food left at Atticus's doorstep is both a payment and a tribute.

In Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird what does Atticus tell Jem about the Cunninghams when Atticus reveals he allowed a relative of Walter Cunningham onto the jury?

Atticus says that once a person earns the respect of the Cunningham family, the Cunninghams "were for you tooth and nail." Atticus tells Jem and Scout that he believes that they may have earned that respect the night at the jailhouse, and so it positively influenced the Cunninghams. For that reason Atticus allows one of the Cunningham's connections to stay on the jury. It was this man, Atticus lets on, that kept the jury deliberating as long as it did—a thing that Atticus takes as a sign that someday change might come.

In Chapter 23 of To Kill a Mockingbird, after listening to Atticus discuss the trial and the Cunninghams what does Scout suggest that indicates a shift in her thinking?

Scout, listening to Atticus and Jem talk about the trial, is having a change of heart about the Cunninghams. She suggests that when school starts she should invite Walter Cunningham Jr. home to dinner. Considering this is the same boy about whom Scout once said "He ain't company, Cal, he's just a Cunningham ... "—she is making strides. This stands in contrast to her aunt's declaration against the idea, in which she calls Walter Cunningham "trash."

What is said in Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird about how Tom Robinson has been killed?

Atticus comes home with news that Tom Robinson has been shot and killed while trying to escape. He mentions Tom was shot—17 times—while attempting to scale the prison fence.

In Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird why has Atticus has come home early?

Atticus has come home early to ask Calpurnia to accompany him to see Helen Robinson, Tom Robinson's wife. He has just heard Tom was killed trying to escape from prison. It is interesting to note that he asks Calpurnia to go with him. While one might first think he is asking Cal because she knows the family, it occurs that he is instead asking her because she is a woman. If that is indeed his reasoning, that he chooses Calpurnia over his own sister further reveals his high opinion of Calpurnia.

In Chapter 24 of To Kill a Mockingbird what does Scout tell the ladies of the missionary circle she is wearing?

At Aunt Alexandra's invitation Scout joins the missionary ladies' meeting during the refreshments. Scout is wearing a dress, which draws compliments, and when someone asks where her overalls are Scout tells the ladies that she is wearing her overalls beneath her dress. It appears from what she says that she is not kidding.

Following the trial, how does Chapter 25 of To Kill a Mockingbird show that Maycomb retains its prejudice and yet reveals what Atticus calls "the shadow of a beginning"?

In capturing the townspeople's various reactions, Chapter 25 shows both the entrenchment of prejudiced thinking and the possibility of change. The more disparaging remarks Scout and Jem hear—for instance that Tom Robinson's attempted escape was typical of a black man whose instinct is "to cut and run"—suggest that some of Maycomb is bound to stay unenlightened. But with the editorial that The Maycomb Tribune publisher Braxton Underwood puts in the newspaper—which compares Tom Robinson's killing to the "slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children"—there is hope.

In Chapters 24 and 25 of To Kill a Mockingbird, how do Atticus's feelings about Tom Robinson's chance to win on appeal make Tom's death all the more tragic?

Atticus seems to feel Tom has an excellent chance of being freed on appeal. To be honest with Tom, however, all Atticus can tell him is to remain calm and patient because they have a "good chance." He is worried that Tom has lost all hope, but as Calpurnia tells a friend, "Mr. Finch couldn't say somethin's so when he doesn't know for sure it's so." When Atticus relates sadly that Tom has been shot in an attempted escape, he observes, "I guess Tom was tired of white men's chances and preferred to take his own."

In Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird what confuses Scout when Miss Gates cites differences between the United States and Nazi Germany with regard to prejudice and persecution?

In contrasting the United States and Nazi Germany, Miss Gates says, "Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody." Scout recalls seeing Miss Gates outside the courthouse the evening of Tom Robinson's trial. In Scout's retelling, Miss Gates had said, "It's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves."

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