1. To Kill a Mockingbird chs 21-25): In Ch. 22, after the trial, Atticus tells Aunt Alexandra that what happened to Tom Robinson is just as much what Maycombe is all about as ‘Missionary Teas’. In Ch. 24 the news of Tom Robinson’s death interrupts the Missionary Tea gathering that is hosted by Aunt Alexandra. The author is forcing us to compare the trial and death of Tom Robinson with this Missionary Tea gathering—what does the author want us to notice? What can you think of that makes these things (the trial, Tom’s death, and the Missionary Tea gathering) similar? How do they all represent what Maycombe County is all about?
2. To Kill a Mockingbird chs 26-30): In Ch. 30 Atticus and Sheriff Tate confront each other on the porch of Atticus’ house. We are again compelled to compare role models for ethical behavior—this time we contrast Atticus with the Sheriff. We are also compelled to question the wisdom of both of Atticus’ rules for ethical behavior (see Reading Response 4.1, where these 2 rules are listed). The 1st rule is challenged by the Sheriff’s comment (in Ch. 29) that “there’s just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say hidy to ‘em.” (he is talking about Bob Ewell). Atticus 2nd rule is challenged by the Sheriff’s decision about how he wants to handle Bob Ewell’s death—a decision that Atticus eventually quietly agrees to go unchallenged. Discuss in what ways the Sheriff’s way of handling Bob Ewell’s killing challenges Atticus’ 2nd rule. Is it sometimes necessary to lie and be hypocritical for a greater good?
We are already familiar with Atticus and his two most important ethical rules: 1) walk around in another person’s shoes before you judge them, & 2) always behave the same inside your house as you do outside of it.
3.To Kill a Mockingbird ch 31): What do you think Scout means in Ch. 31, very near the end of the book, when she says “Besides, nothing’s real scary except in books.” Remarkably, she is claiming this shortly after the horrifying attack she and Jem had experienced earlier in the evening?