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Essay/Term paper: To kill a mockingbird: summary

Essay, term paper, research paper:  To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird: Summary


The book To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee. It was
published in 1960 then it went on to win the Pulitzer prize in 1961 and was
later made into an Academy Award winning film.

Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today
it is regarded as a masterpiece of American Literature.

There are so many characters in this book that I can't name all of them.
Here are most of the characters.

The Finch family contains of Atticus (The head of the household), Aunt
Alexandra (Atticus's sister), (Jem) Jeremy (The oldest of Atticus's two
children), (Scout) Jean Louise (The youngest of the two . She also trys to be a
boy by doing boy things). And you can't forget their black maid. Her name is
Calpurnia.

Miss Rachael is Dill's aunt that lives in Maycomb. Dill is a friends
with Jem and Scout. According to Scout they are married. (Boo) Arthur Radley is
the person that takes Jem back to his house after Jem gets hurt by Bob Ewell.
Tom Robinson is a black man that was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. Bob Ewell
is Mayella's father. He is out for revenge on Atticus for what he did to him and
his daughter. Mayella is Bob's daughter who supposedly got raped by Tom Robinson.
Judge Taylor is the Judge of Maycomb County. Heck Tate is the county law
official.

I think the protagonist in the story is Atticus Finch because he has the
main part and he has the biggest decision to make. The decision being whether to
defend or not to defend Tom Robinson.

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Maycomb County, an imaginary district in
Southern Alabama. The time is the early 1930s, the years of the Great Depression
when poverty and unemployment were widespread in the United States.

The story begins during the summer when Scout and Jem meet a new
playmate named Dill who has come from Mississippi to spend the summer with his
Aunt Rachael. Dill is fascinated by the neighborhood gossip about "Boo" Radley.
Egged on by Dill, Jem and Scout try to think up ways to lure him out of his
house.

Soon it is Summer again , and Dill returns for another visit. The
children's plans for making contact with Boo Radley grew bolder this year, and
on Dill's last night they decide to sneak up onto the Radley porch and spy on
Boo. Jem goes first, but just as he reaches the window, Nathan Radley catches
site of them and scares them off with a blast from a shot gun.

Jem realizes that Boo is not a monster after all, but has been playing
along with them. Scout does not figure this out until the winter, on the night
that the house of their neighbor burns to the ground. While Scout is standing
outside in the cold, someone sneaks up behind her and places a blanket around
her. Later, Scout and Jem realize that there was only one person in town who has
not already at work fighting the fire and that was Boo.

Now that Jem and Scout realize that Boo is basically a kind person,
their interest in the Radley family begins to fade. In the meantime, they learn
that their father has become the defense lawyer for Tom Robinson, who is charged
with raping Mayella Ewell.

As the trial of Tom Robinson grows nearer, the children become more
aware of the strong feeling it has aroused in everyone in Maycomb. One day their
housekeeper takes Jem and Scout to visit her church, and the children realize
for the first time that the black parishioners are supporting Tom Robinson's
wife.

Two nights before the trial is to start, a group of men come to the
Finch house to tell Atticus about threats against Tom Robinson's life. Atticus
spends the next night camped out at the jail to defend Tom from the mob. Jem,
Scout and Dill go downtown to check on Atticus and arrive at the same time as a
group of men, who have come to kill Tom. Scout recognizes one of the men in the
group as Walter Cunningham. Her friendliness embarrasses the man so much that he
and the mob leave.

The next day, at the trial, Atticus" questions make it clear that
Mayella and her father are lying about the rape. Neverless the jury convict him
because their prejudices prevent them from taking a black man's word against two
whites. Atticus is now a hero in the black community of Maycomb, but Bob Ewell,
vows to "get" Atticus for showing him up as a liar in front of the whole town.

Tom Robinson has give n up hope and trys to flee the prison, but while
doing it he gets caught and shot.

By the time Halloween comes around, the Finch family has begun to put
Tom's death behind them. There is a pageant planned and Scout much to her dismay
has been cast as a ham. After the pageant Scout decides to walk home still
dressed in her bulky costume, with Jem leading the way. The cowardly Bob Ewell.
seeing an opportunity to get revenge on Atticus through his children. He follows
the children down a dark street and tries to kill them. In the side. It is none
other than Boo Radley, who had seen the attack from his window. Boo stabs Bob
Ewell to death, and carries the wounded Jem home.

The sheriff decides to file a report that Bob fell on his own knife and
died, thus sparing Boo the publicity that would be sure to follow.

Scout never sees Boo again after that night, but she has learned that he
was a good man all along. She has learned a lesson about understanding and
tolerance. And through the sheriff's action she sees that sometimes there can be
justice and compassion in the world.

The title of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird is a key to some themes in
the novel. The title is first explained in Chapter 10 at the time that Jem and
Scout have just received air rifles for Christmas. Atticus tells his children
that it is a sin to shoot a mockingbird. Later Miss Maudie explains that Atticus
meant that Mockingbirds are harmless creatures who do nothing but sing for
enjoyment.

It is easy to see that the "mockingbird" in this story is Tom Robinson a
harmless man who becomes a victim of racial prejudice. Like the mockingbird, Tom
has never done wrong to anyone. Even the jurors who sentence him to death have
nothing personal against him. They find him guilty mostly because they feel that
to take the word of a black man over two whites would threaten the system they
live under, the system of segregation. Tom himself is guilty of nothing but
being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

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