To Kill a Mockingbird
(Parent Version with answers)
1. Who is the narrator of this novel?
(Scout) Jean Louis Finch
2. How do we know that the narrator is an older person looking back to her youth?
As the novel opens, she tells her story in the past tense, going back years to the time when her brother was 13 years old.
3. What other information do we get in the first two paragraphs?
Dill came to town that summer and brought with him the idea of getting Boo Radley to come out.
4. What is the setting of the novel?
The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama sometime during the Great Depression (1933).
5. What is the mood of Maycomb?
It is a slow, easy-going, peaceful town.
6. The fifth character introduced is Calpurnia. Describe her.
Calpurnia is the African-American cook, housekeeper and substitute mother in some ways. She cares for the children and is a warm person.
7. Who are the first four characters mentioned?
Atticus, Jem, Scout, and Dill (Charles Harris)
8. What began the misery of the Radley house?
The youngest son, Arthur (Boo), got in trouble with the police. The father has not let him out of the house since.
1. What picture of Atticus, as a father, do we get in this chapter?
He loves the children, but he works hard during the day and does not spend much time with them.
2. What do we learn about the Cunningham clan?
They are poor but hard-working farmers who will not take charity; they pay Atticus with food instead of money.
1. Who are the Ewells, and why are they allowed special privileges?
They are a very poor family that lives next to the town dump. The father drinks and the mother is dead. Because it may be the only food the children get, the town looks the other way when the father hunts out of season; when the children don’t go to school, the authorities don’t try to enforce the truancy regulations, probably because it would do little good.
2. What compromise does Atticus make with Scout?
She will attend school, but they will continue to read at night.
1. What game do the children make up in this chapter?
They make up a game about the Radley family based on neighborhood gossip.
2. What information does Scout give us at the end of this chapter? Who do you suppose was inside the house and what did Scout hear?
Scout mentions that earlier that morning she rolled up to the Radley house in a tire. When she fell out, she heard someone laughing. At this point we are not sure who was laughing.
1. When Miss Maudie says, “but sometimes the Bible in the hands of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hands of—oh, of your father.” What person is she criticizing, and what is the point of her criticism?
She is being critical of Boo Radley’s father. Her point is that Mr. Radley’s sense of right and wrong was so rigid that it led him to punish Boo in a cruel and excessive fashion. As a result, Boo has become a recluse.
2. The children view Boo Radley as a strange and frightening figure. How do Miss Maudie and
Atticus view Arthur Radley?
They see him as a shy man who simply wishes to stay inside the house. Miss Maudie blames Arthur’s father for this seclusion.
1. Describe what the children were doing in the Radley yard and what they saw that made them run away?
They were trying to look in the Radley window when they saw a shadow on the porch.
2. Why is it important to Jem that he go back and get his pants before morning?
He does not want Atticus to find out what they were up to.
3. What line indicates that Jem decided what they did was wrong?
“We shoudn’a done that tonight, Scout.”
4. What might account for Jem’s change of heart?
He is getting more mature.
1. Jem has been acting odd since he went to get his pants that night. What surprised him that night?
His pants were mended and folded over the fence.
2. Who do you suppose was responsible for the gifts in the knothole and Jem’s pants? Why does he do this?
Boo Radley was probably the one responsible. He likes the children and enjoys the contact, as limited as it is.
3. Why is Jem so upset the knothole is plugged?
He is upset that the contact with Boo Radley has been stopped, blocked.
4. Why is Jem crying at the end of this chapter?
The hole is cemented and we can infer that Jim is feeling sorry for himself and Boo because of this.
1. Why does Atticus make the children leave the house and stand in front of the Radley house?
There was a chance that the fire would spread.
2. Who put the blanket around Scout’s shoulders and how did the person know she was cold?
Someone in the Radley house must have seen her standing outside shivering.
3. What does Atticus mean when he says, “looks like all of Maycomb was out tonight, in one way or another”?
He assumes that it was Arthur Radley who put the blanket around Scout.
4. Why do they decide not to return the blanket at this time?
Arthur would probably get hollered at for having gone outside.
1. Why does Atticus think that he can’t win Tom Robinson’s case?
It will become an African-American man’s word against a white woman’s, and there is no question at all who the jury will say is lying —even if the facts prove otherwise.
2. Who calls Scout a coward; why does she walk away?
A child insulted Atticus; in walking away, Scout follows her father’s directions.
3. Why is Atticus worried about Scout learning to “keep her head” in the next few months?
With the trial coming up, it is likely that the children will hear many unkind things said about their father.
4. In the last sentence of this chapter, what does Scout mean?
When she grew older, she realized that her father wanted her to hear what he had said to Uncle Jack that night.
1. Why is it a sin to kill a mockingbird?
Mockingbirds do not harm anyone or anything, but they do sing for people.
2. Why are the children a little disappointed and a little ashamed when they compare Atticus to other fathers?
He is older than the other fathers and does not seem interested in doing the athletic, brave, masculine things that Jem and Scout see the other fathers do.
3. What does Atticus do that surprises the children and makes them feel proud?
He kills the mad dog with a single shot between the eyes.
4. Why does Jem say that they should not tell anyone at school about the incident?
Atticus is a modest person; Jem understands this and feels that it wouldn’t be right to brag about him.
1. Describe Mrs. Dubose.
She is an old, cranky woman who shouts at the children while they pass her house.
2. Why does Jem knock the top off her flowers?
His anger has been building up over the past couple of weeks.
3. What does Atticus mean when he says, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a man’s conscience”?
Your own conscience must tell you what is right or wrong, and it does not matter how many others agree or disagree with you.
4. What is Jem’s punishment for knocking the tops off of Mrs. Dubose flowers? Why is the time period extended each day?
He must go to her house and read aloud to her. The length of time he reads each day is extended in order to help her break her addiction to morphine.
5. What does Atticus say real courage is?
“It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through to the end no matter what.”
1. At the beginning it is apparent that this is novel which deals with the passage of a youth from innocence to maturity. In what sense is Jem “coming of age”?
We see him leaving childhood, by degrees, behind him.
2. What does Scout mean when she says of Calpurnia, “Again I thought her voice strange: she was talking like the rest of them.”
Among her own people Calpurnia speaks in a African-American dialect.
3. The mature narrator (Scout) seems to be upset by the way both the African-American and white churches regard women. What is it specifically that upsets her about what the churches teach?
Both black and white churches seem to preach about the inherent immorality of women.
4. What is “linin’” and why is it done?
One person speaks the line of a song so the rest of the chorus knows what to sing. It was done at Calpurnia’s church because many of the people in the church could not read, and there weren’t enough hymnals for everyone to have one.