Thursday, August 11, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird Discussion: Chapters 1-10

Scout and Jem are Atticus's kids. Jem is the eldest and scout looks up to him. They live in Maycoumb. Scout and Jem are somewhat obsessed with one of their neighbors who are an oddity. The Radley's. They have a son who was involved in crimes around the town until one day his father gives his word to a judge that he won't cause harm anymore. So the son, Boo Radley is more or less locked up at home. Dill comes to visit one summer. He has an aunt who lives in the neighborhood. Jem and Scout tell him all they know about the Radleys. Dill dares Jem to go and touch the Radley house. After much hesitation he does it. Dill unfortunately has to leave as the school year's about to start. Scout's first day in first grade is terrible. She's lectured by the teacher because she can read and write. Her father reassures her that they'll continue their secret lessons as long as she keeps going to school. You meet the cunninghams who are poor yet proud people and the Elays who are mannerless and they only come to school on the first day.

Next summer arrives and Dill is back. The summer before they used to act plays of their own, but now they start a dangerous game. Playing the Radleys. They once heard that Boo Radley stabbed his father in the thigh so Jem and Dill act that scene among others. One day Atticus sees them and gets suspicious.

On Dill's last day, they all go to the Radley's house peeping in. A gunshot is heard, and as they rush outside, Jem's pants are stuck and so he leaves them there. Atticus and the neighbors are outside, saying that Mr. Radley shot a black man. They ask Jem about his pants, and Dill quickly says he won them in strip-poker. Atticus asks him to get them back. Jem leaves that night to retrieve them from the Radleys house despite Scout's pleas.

We then meet Uncle Jack around christmas. They all go to their aunt's place. Scout, who's very hot-tempered, gets into a fight with her cousin because he called her dad a nigger-lover. Atticus takes them back home. Scout told Uncle Jack all about the incident because everyone thought it was Scout's fault. She made him promise not to tell her dad because she promised Atticus she wouldn't fight anyone talking bad about him and instead walk with her head held high.

Snow arrives. Jem and Scout see it for the first time. They even make a snowman that looks like one of their neighbors. They borrow snow from Miss Maudie's yard. Miss Maudie is very nice to them, she always makes cake for them and loves her plants dearly. Scout spends some time with her during the summer when Jem and Dill won't include her in their games. They talk about many things, including the Radleys. Sadly enough, her house catches fire one day and the fire even extends to the Finch's house. She's doesn't grieve the fact that her house is destroyed because she always dreamed of wrecking it herself.

A tree standing on the way Jem and Scout take to school, has holes where they find things. First Scout finds chewing them, then they both find a watch, a packet of chewing gum and 2 dolls that looking exactly like them. They wonder who puts things there till one day they find that the holes have been cemented. Mr Radley tells Jem he did it because the tree was dying. Jem asks his father if it is, but Atticus says it's not.

A mad dog shows up in their neighborhood one day. Calpurnia, their maid, calls Atticus and tells him about it. He and another man show up with a rifle to kill it. Calpurnia warns everyone and the street's soon deserted. Atticus shoots the dog.

Review written by Noor.

Which chapter did you like best? Which character interests you the most? Ask the questions that came to your mind when reading the 10 chapters for the other members to answer and leave the points that you'd want to discuss with us here.


  1. I definitely like Atticus the most out of all the characters! It's really interesting, it' like we're finding out stuff about his 'great' past, I mean who would have known he can shoot a creature from so far away? Ha! Also, didn't you think it's odd that Mr. Radley immediately accused a "Black man"? (When Jem was running across his yard) he just thought it was a black man stealing from him. A theif. The iory in that time period.. The injusticeness and racisim! I read the book once and reading it again is great :)
    Keep up the good work!
    - Malak

  2. I would say my favorite character at this point is Scout - she is naive and innocent, and for the author to make us look into this world from her eyes was a very clever thing to do: she describes everything from afresh, with no prejudice no previous knowledge, like when she explained walter cunninghams poverty to Miss Caroline. A situation that would make a grown up cringe! It's funny to read

    As for my favorite chapter, it would probably be the one where Scout starts in the first grade, especially the scene where Miss Caroline discovers a cootie, as well as when Burris Ewell swears at her, and the little kids console her and tell her to just go back to teaching them; the role reversal was just perfect.

    The things that I found interesting are a few; the fact that the main plot of the story doesn't get brought up at all until the ninth chapter, I guess it's a good way to introduce readers to the whole town and all it's characters.
    I also wonder at three incidents which I always thought were sort of premonitions of things to come. The first is the snow falling, something so out of the ordinary for the town that Scout and Jem had never seen it before. Mr. Avery yelled at the kids and said that sudden weather changes was because they had been behaving badly. The second is the fire at Miss Maudies house, and the third is the strange dog appearing on their street. Separately, they don't mean anything, but together they seem like (borrowing a term from my old English classes lol) foreshadowing the main plot of the story I think.

    Anyways, I absolutely love the writing style of this book, I'm so glad I'm reading it again!


  3. My favorite scene from this section is when the sherrif hands Atticus the rifle and he shoots the dog from an incredible distance. So far, Atticus is presented as a fairly unremarkeable man, not somebody Jim can brag about to his friends at school. Yet Jim learns through this scene that modesty is in no way the same as weakness. Atticus simply doesn't like to dwell on his talents, giving him a reserve of strength largely hidden from his children. This is the first time that Jim and Scout start to see beneath the surface.

  4. My favorite character has to be Boo Radley. Mostly because he's so suspicious and the *bad guy* (when he does what every young immature kid would do during this time period) when hes really not that bad and looks out and sees what Scout, Jem, and Dill do as kids because he missed out on his childhood.

    ~ Robert (8th grade)

  5. the start of the book is boring but as i progressed through it became more interesting and the vocabulary is very rich. overall good book