TO KILL a MOCKINGBIRD STUDY QUESTIONS
The following study questions are due when the reading for the related
chapter is due. The answers to the study questions may form the basis of a
homework grade, class discussion, group activities, or oral/written quizzes.
Students should prepare written responses in the classwork section of their
binders: 1.) the chapter number, 2.) the question (as an alternative, students
may print out the questions for the chapter and paste it in their notebook), 3.)
related concrete detail from the text with page numbers, and 4.) the students
own ideas (note form or bullet points are fine).
Bring your study question notes to class with you every
Question: Write the question or print out the questions for chapter 3 and
paste them in your binder.
CD: write down related CD. Use ellipses to segment quotations. Be sure to
note the page number
||Make a bulleted list of points/ideas to answer the question.
||You may be able to reference these notes during an oral or written quiz.
Chapter 1 introduces readers to the town of Maycomb, its appearance, its
inhabitants, and the particular attitudes of many of its people. Find a sentence
or paragraph which illustrates each of the following attitudes/ideas. Quote at
least a portion of the sentence or paragraph and give the page number.
||pride in ancestry and tradition
||pride in conformity and distrust of those who are different
||awareness of the difference in social classes
||narrow span of interest and almost no interest in the world outside of
- Scout makes three mistakes during her first day at school. What are her
mistakes, and why do they make Miss Caroline so angry?
- Why are the professional people on Maycomb poor at this time?
- What is the WPA, and why won't Mr. Cunningham work for it.
- Calpurnia lectures Scout on manners when Scout criticizes Walter's manners
and Atticus supports her. What does ths tell you about how both Calpurnia and
Atticus feel about others?
- Burris Ewell, Walter Cunningham, and Chuck Little are all from extremely
poor families. However, there are great differences in both appearance
and attitudes, particularly between the Cunninghams and the Ewells. What are
those differences and why do you suppose they exist?
- Atticus tells Scout, "You never really understand a person until you
consider things from his point of view...until you climb in his skin and walk
around in it." What are some of the things that Scout begins to realize at
- Why does Atticus say that the law is rigid for "common folk," but it is
bent in certain ways for the Ewells?
- What is the "compromise" which Atticus suggests?
- In what specific ways does Scout criticize the school she is attending?
- Where do you suppose the gum and pennies are coming from? What makes you
- Scout has two reasons for wanting to quit the "Radley Game." What are
- Based on the descriptions of Miss Maudie and her conversations with Scout,
write a brief character analysis of Miss Maudie. Give your evidence.
- When Miss Maudie shows her disgust with "foot-washing Baptists," is she
actually putting down all Baptists, or a particular point of view? Explain.
- Explain Miss Maudie's statement on p. 49--"...sometimes the Bible in the
hands of one man is worse than a whiskkey bottle in the hand of--oh, of your
- Paraphrase Atticus' speech about the Radley's right to privacy. Do you
agree with his point of view? Why or why not?
- What reasons do Jem and Dill give for trying to peek into the Radley
window on theis particular night?
- What final statement by Jem makes Scout finally go along with the plan.
- After the incident, Jem's real desire is not just to recover his pants but
to keep on good terms with Atticus. What does this tell you about Jem's
relationship with his father?
- What was the condition of Jem's pants when he found them? Why did their
condition frighten him further?
- What is the significance of the gifts in the tree?
- Explain why Mr. Nathan Radley fills the hole in the tree with cement. Why
does Jem cry about this?
- Why do Jem and Scout make the snowman such an obvious replica of Mr.
- Why does Atticus decide to keep the blanket incident a secret?
- After the fire is over, how does Miss Maudie feel about the destruction of
her house? What does this tell you about her character, her values?
- Explain Atticus' statements about the following (obviously, the concrete
detail is provided here. Simply be able to cite a page number, explain the
textual situation, and your ideas):
the use of the word "nigger"
his personal reasons for defending Tom Robinson
"simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no
reason for us not to try to win."
Don't pay attention to her, Jack. She's trying you out. Cal says she's been
cussing fluently for a week now.
When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness' sakes. But don't
make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion
quicker than adults..."
"...the answer is she knows I know she tries. That's what makes a
Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro
comes up, is something I don't pretend to understand..."
- Who are the following characters? How are they related to Atticus and to
- At the beginning of this chapter, Scout is ashamed of Atticus. List his
faults as she sees them.
- Explain why it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, according to Miss Maudie.
- Miss Maudie tries to explain Atticus' excellent markemanship and his lack
of pride in it. How does she do this?
- Why won't Jem allow Scout to brag about Atticus at school? Do you agree
with him? Why?
- Why is Atticus so insistent about
a. Jem and Scout being polite to Mrs. Dubose
b. Jem reading to Mrs. Dubose
- Why do you think the author gives such a detailed and ugly description of
Mrs. Dubose? How does it make you feel?
- Discuss Atticus' description of the phrase "nigger-lover". Do you agree
with his ideas on the subject? Why?
- Atticus explains to the children why he considered Mrs. Dubose to be a
"great lady" and a brave person. How does this "fit in" with his explanation
of why he is defending Tom Robinson.
- Jem is now 12.There is a widening gap of understanding between Jem and
Scout. Find 2 or 3 examples which illustrate the emotional distance between
- How do you explain Lula's antagonism toward Jem and Scout?
- Scout finds the church service to be similar to her own except for a few
differences. Explain the differences.
- Why does Cal speak on way around colored people and another way around
white people? Is she being honest or hypocritical in what she does? Explain.
- Scout and Aunt Alexandra communicate very poorly with each other. Is one
more at fault, or are they equally to blame? Explain.
- Discuss Cousin Joshua Finch as a.) Atticus describes him, b.) Aunt
Alexandra describes him. Explain the difference in opinion.
- What did Scout mean when she stated, "I know what he was trying to do, but
Atticus was only a man. It takes a woman to do that kind of work."
- How does Aunt Alexandra feel about Calpurnia? Explain why this is in
keeping with her character.
- Why is Scout so happy about the brawl with Jem?
- Explain how Jem "broke the remaining code of our childhood."
- Dill tries to explain to Scout why he did not want to stay with his mother
and stepfather. Explain his reasons.
- Atticus discusses the Ku Klux Klan and concludes by saying the Klan is
gone. Is this statement correct? Explain.
- Describe events prior to the scene at the Maycomb jail that show the
tension and unrest of the town. Be specific.
- Discuss the irony of the following statement and the situation which it
describes: "...there followed what I later realized was a sickeningly comic
aspect of an unfunny situation: the men talked in near-whispers."
- Why does Jem openly defy Attious and refuse to leave.
- What does Scout's childish attempt at conversation accomplish? Explain.
- Why was Atticus so affectionate toward Jem after Jem disobeyed him?
- Atticus is in disagreement with Aunt Alexandra over many things. Explain
at least two matters of disagreement.
- Paraphrase how Atticus explains the mob's actions to Scout.
- Why do you suppose a man like Mr. Underwood (who is a known hater of
Negroes) was covering Atticus at the jail?
- Mr. Dolphus Raymond is evidently a complicated and interesting person.
Describe his way of life and comment upon its effect on the town.
- Judge Taylor's appearance and his ability are two different things. Why do
you think this difference exists? Does he appear as he does on purpose?
- Atticus spend a great deal of time discussing Mayella Ewell's injuries.
What does he seem to want to reveal?
- The Ewells are "poor white trash." Explain thtis term according to what
you know about the way they live and the kind of people they appear to be up
to this point.
- Mayella Ewell is both disgusitng and pathetic. Give examples of both
qualities by quoting statements she makes
- What is so important about Tom Robinson's physical appearance? What,
according to the testimony, does this prove beyond a doubt?
- How does Atticus appear to feel about his method of cross-examining
Mayella? Explain why this is so.
- In contrast to the Ewells, what kind of person is Tom Robinson? Explain
- Why does Atticus mention Tom's previous record of conviction?
- According to Tom's testimony, what actually happened on November 21? Be
- What "mistake" did Tom make in saying that he felt "sorry" for Mayella?
- Explain Scout's statement that "she (Mayella) was even lonelier than Boo
- How does Mr. Raymond defend his deliberate appearance of drunkeness?
- Why does he tell Scout and Jem about his life?
- In five or six sentences, paraphrase Atticus' summation (closing speech)
to the jury.
How does Scout "know" about the verdict before she hears it?
Why do the Negroes stand when Atticus leaves the courtroom?
- How does Atticus feel when the verdict is announced?
- After Jem expresses disillusionment over the trial and the verdict, Miss
Maudie defends the town and its people. Paraphrase what she says to Jem.
- What causes Miss Maudie to say at leats they have made a "baby step" in
the right direction?
- What kind of clown does Dill decide to be? Explain his reasoning.
- How does Atticus react to Bob Ewell's threat against him?
- Explain Atticus' statements about the following
"When it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always
"People have a way of carrying their resentments right into the jury box."
"It's all adding up, and one of these days we're going to pay for it."
- Briefly show the difference in attitude toward the Cunningham,s as
- Why can't Jem accept Scout's opinion that there "is just one kind of
- What unfortunate characteristics do the ladies of the missionary circle
display? Do you think this is typical of such groups?
- Discuss the irony of Mrs. Merriweather's admiration for J. Grimes Everett
and her attitude toward the trial.
- Scout feels she prefers men to women. Why? Do you agree with her reasons?
- What does Miss Maudie mean by "We're paying the highest tribute we can pay
to a man"?
- In this chapter Scout learns something about being a true lady. Explain.
- How does most of the town react to Tm's death?
- In what way is Mr. Underwood's editorial in the Maycomb Tribune similar to
Attius' advice to Jem and Scout when they got their guns?
- Scout is growing up. Explain her feelings now about
their former cruel
games concerning Boo Radley
her remaining desire to see Boo in person
Atticus' apparent knowledge about their previous activities
- What is the irony of Miss Gates' lecture on democracy when compared to her
comments on the trial?
- When Scout tries to tell Jem about Miss Gates, why does he react so
violently? Explain Atticus' answer to her about this.
- What were the threatening things that happened in Maycomb by the middle of
October? How do the methods of each thing or occurrence tell you about the
kind of man Bob Ewell is?
- Why do Atticus and Aunt Alexandra not intend to go to the Halloween
- What does Cecil Jacobs do before the pageant which helps set up the
incidents which occur after the pageant?
- What things do Jem and Scout think the noise might be?
- How many people are finally involved in the skirmish under the tree? List
- Who saved Jem and Scout?
- Atticus and Heck Tate disagree over the essential worth of Bob Ewell. With
whome do you agree and why?
- Briefly describe the meeting between Scout and Boo. How does this compare
to how she imagined the meeting would be?
- There seems to be an immediate understanding between Scout and Boo. Why do
you think this is so?
- Atticus and Heck Tate have a heated argument. Dos either of them really
believe what he is saying?
- How does Scot assure Atticus that Mr. Tate is right?
- When she takes Boo home, Scout understands many things as she sees the
street from this new point of view. Explain some of the things she "sees" now.
- Describe your thoughts and feelings about the closing scene.