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To Kill a Mockingbird
Transcript of To Kill a Mockingbird
Maycomb is working towards returning to normal life in these chapters as the trial is now complete and people are hoping to put the events of it behind them.
The hypocrisy of the Maycombians is also demonstrated in Chapter 24. The ladies are discussing the need to assist the poor Mrunas, yet they proceed to discuss the “darky’s” and the black people around them as far less than themselves.
Scout better understands her father’s motives for accepting the case despite his knowledge that he was doomed to lose, and as she matures through doing this, she sees him for the courageous man that he truly is.
This chapter allows people to see that there are some people in Maycomb who disagree with the death of Tom Robinson and everyone is not as racist as the town is portrayed, including Miss Maudie. This was stated in reply to Aunt Alexandra’s questioning of why the town allows Atticus to go to such lengths for a useless trial: “The handful of people in this town who say that fair play is not marked by White Only…” (Page 316)
“Today Aunt Alexandra and her missionary circle were
fighting the good fight all over the house.”
“‘Stay with us, Jean Louise,’ she said. This was part of her campaign to teach me how to be a lady.” (Page 307)
“...they had no sense of family- I knew that’d distress Aunty...” (Page 303)
“‘Then lets join the ladies,’ she said grimly… Aunt Alexandra was ahead of me, and I saw her head go up as she opened the door.” (Page 317)
“Aunt Alexandra sat down in Calpurnia’s chair and put her hands to her face. She sat quite still; she was so quiet I wondered if she would faint.” (Page 315-316)
“He was certainly never cruel to animals before, but I had never known his charity to embrace the insect world.” (Page 320)
“‘Why couldn’t I mash him?’ I asked. ‘Because they don’t bother you,’ Jem answered…” (Page 320)
“‘You’d better catch a ride back. I won’t be going home for a while.’... Jem protested, then pleaded, and Atticus said, ‘All right, you can come with us if you stay in the car.'” (Page 321)
“‘Excuse me ladies,’ he said. ‘Go right ahead with your meeting,
don’t let me disturb you. Alexandra, could you come to the
kitchen a minute?’” (Page 314)
“‘They didn’t have to shoot him that much.’” (Page 315)
“‘This is the last straw Atticus,’ Aunt Alexandra said.
‘Depends on how you look at it,’ he said. ‘What was
one Negroe, more or less, among two hundred of ‘em?
He wasn‘t Tom to them, he was an escaping prisoner.’”
“‘We had such a good chance,’ he said. ‘I told him what
I thought, but couldn’t in truth say we had more than a
good chance. I guess Tom was tired of taking white men’s
chances and preferred to take his own.’” (Page 315)
“Atticus had used every tool available to free men to
save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s
hearts Atticus had no case.” (Page 323)
“‘Oh child, those poor Mrunas.’ (Page 308) ...
‘the cooks and fieldhands are just dissatisfied,
but they are settling down now- they grumbled
all next day after that trial.’” (Page 310)
“‘No, child. That darky’s wife. Tom’s wife, Tom-’” (Page 310)
“I heard Mrs. Grace Merriweather giving a
report in the living room…” (Page 303)
“‘Gertrude,’ she said, ‘I tell you there are some
good but misguided people in this town... Folks in this down who think they’re doing right, I mean.’” (Page 311)
“Mrs.Merriweather was one of those childless adults
who find it necessary to assume a different tone of
voice when speaking to children.” (Page 310)
“...I divided the lonely hours between Calpurnia and Miss Maudie.” (Page 305)
“I sat quietly, having conquered my hands by tightly gripping the arms of the chair and waited for someone to speak to me. Miss Maudie’s gold bridgework twinkled. ‘You’re mighty dressed up, Miss Jean Louise,’ she said. ‘Where are your britches today?’” (Page 307)
“Miss Maudie’s hand closed tightly on mine, and I said nothing. Its warmth was enough.” (Page 308)
“...we’re paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do what’s right. It’s that simple…. The handful of people in this town who say that fair play is not marked by White Only.’”
“…I heard Mrs. Grace Merriweather giving a report in the living room on the squalid lives of the Mrunas, it sounded like to me...
"Immediately thereafter, the ladies adjourned for refreshments.” (Page 305-306)
“Maycomb lost no time in getting Mr.Ewell’s views on Tom’s demise and passing them along through the English Channel of gossip, Miss Stephanie Crawford.” (Page 323)
“You can be as still as a mouse in a corner…”
“Mrs. Merriweather played her voice like an organ…” (Page 309)
“Mr.Ewell was more hot gas than anything…” (Page 323)
“‘Jesus Christ never went around grumbling and complaining.’” (Page 311)
“...Mr.Ewell said it made one down and about two more to go.” (Page 323)
It is a symbol of innocence much like the mockingbird is. Jem instructs Scout not to kill the bug as it has done nothing to harm her, which is the same message portrayed through the title, To Kill a Mockingbird. This bug symbolizes Tom Robinson- the innocent man forced to die for no other reason than his race (just as Scout wanted to kill the bug due to it being a bug). Furthermore, Scout represents the jury and Ewells who wanted Tom to be dead, meanwhile Jem was much like Atticus in the trial and all of the Maycombians who did not give in to racism. Therefore, the roly-poly bug in this scenario symbolizes the main plot of the book, while representing an ending much more favourable than that of Tom Robinson.
“‘Why couldn’t I mash him?’ I asked. ‘Because they don’t bother you,’ Jem answered…” (Page 320)
Mr.Underwood compares Tom Robinson’s death to that of a mockingbird, as is explained in the title, and he explains this as killing a man who did nothing wrong, simply due to his race.
“He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children…” (Page 323)
Scout’s pink Sunday dress is representative of Scout’s maturity and turning into a woman that she is now able to adapt better to the ways of women.
"I was wearing my pink Sunday dress, shoes, and a petticoat and reflected that if I spilled anything Calpurnia would have to wash my dress again for tomorrow." (Page 306)
"Jem had discovered with angry amazement that nobody had ever bothered to teach Dill how to swim... They had spent two afternoons at the creek..." (Page 305)
“Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere.” (Page 307)
“I was wearing my pink Sunday dress, shoes, and a petticoat,
and reflected that if I spilled anything Calpurnia would have
to wash my dress again for tomorrow. This had been a
busy day for her. I decided to stay out.” (Page 306)
“After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.” (Page 318)
“She gave Miss Maudie a look of pure gratitude, and I wondered at the world of women.” (Page 312)
“...I took a seat beside Miss Maudie and wondered why ladies put on their hats to go across the street.” (Page 307)
Innocence to Experience
Jem now understands Atticus’ principal of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and instructs Scout to not kill the roly-poly bug as it is innocent and does not deserve to die.
Scout does not understand the snide remarks that the ladies are making about her father or the black people as Miss Maudie does, yet she does understand the nature of women and realizes she does not want to become part of a group of gossiping women.
"After Scout inquires his reasoning for instructing her to release it, he explains: “‘Because they don’t bother you,’ Jem answered in the darkness.”
“I had lost the thread of the conversation long ago… and I wondered at the world of women.” (Page 312)
Scout willingly participates in her Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle, wears a dress, and acts as a mature woman.
Scout understands that she will soon need to fully become a woman and mature into adulthood.
“After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.”
“There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world, whereon its surface fragrant lilies rocked slowly, fanned gently and drank cool water.” (Page 313)
Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Farrow both attempt to use their Christian faith as a means of justifying their prejudice and racism and disagree with Atticus defending Tom Robinson. They also empathize the Mrunas, while rejecting the presence/attitude of black people in their area.
"'We can educate 'em till we're blue in the face, we can try till we drop to make Christians out of 'em, but there's no lady safe in her bed these nights.'" (Page 311)
Tom Robinson was shot 17 times due to his race, even though a single bullet would have killed him.
“‘Seventeen bullet holes in him. They didn’t have to shoot him that much.’” (Page 315)
Scout, Aunt Alexandra, and Miss Maudie all display moral courage in the missionary circle. Upon Atticus’ arrival, he calls Aunt Alexandra into the kitchen and explains to them that Tom Robinson is deceased. With this knowledge, after Atticus departs with Calpurnia to go and break the news to Helen Robinson, the three women stoically return to their places at the table and continue their afternoon as if nothing was wrong.
“Aunt Alexandra rose and smoothed various whalebone ridges along her hips… ‘Do I show it?’ ‘Not a sign,’ said Miss Maudie. ‘Are you together again, Jean Louise?’ ‘Yes, ma’am?’ ‘Then lets join them then ladies,’ she said grimly." (Page 317)
Mr.Underwood compares Tom Robinson’s death to that of an innocent songbird in his editorial, despite the negative feedback he was sure to receive from it.
“Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children…” (Page 323)
Atticus is a hero to all of the people in Maycomb who do not believe that race should define people and who want to put an end to racism.
“‘...we’re paying him the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right’… ‘the handful of people in this town who say that fair trial is for everybody, not just us; the handful of people with enough humility to think, when they look at a Negro, there but for the Lord’s kindness am I.’” (Page 316)
Atticus is a hero for the Robinson family for all that he did in an attempt to save Tom and the bounds he made towards making him free.
“Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson…” (Page 323)
Chapter 24 Summary Part 1
It was late August, on the brink of September. The following day, Dill and Jem would be leaving for Barker’s Eddy so that Jem could teach Dill how to swim. Although the three had been joined at the hip, the boys didn’t allow Scout to join due to her gender, so Scout stayed home and helped Calpurnia with Aunt Alexandra’s missionary circle alongside Calpurnia. Many women attended, including Miss Maudie, Mrs. Grace Merriweather, Miss Stephanie Crawford, Miss Rachel and Mrs. Farrow. Scout was dressed in a pretty Sunday dress, nice shoes and a petticoat to fit in with the company Aunt Alexandra was keeping. As she was helping Calpurnia, Scout was listening in on the conversations of the women present. The main topic of conversation between the women was the Mrunas - poor, oppressed people living in “jungles” where not a white person would go. J. Grimes Everett is a priest who was attempting to convert the Mrunas to Christianity to save them. Aunt Alexandra is impressed with Scout’s maturity, so she invites Scout to join her and the rest of the women. Scout was in awe at how sophisticated the women were, and by listening in and observing, she knew right away that she did not want to become a gossiping woman when she grew up. The women, particularly Miss Stephanie Crawford, began to ask several questions about Scout and her future.
Chapter 24 Summary Part 2
As the women were firing questions at Scout, Miss Maudie held her hand in reassurance. The attention eventually moved off of Scout and onto other people throughout Maycomb, through the women’s gossip. The topics of conversation ranged from Heck Tate, to J. Grimes Everett to Tom Robinson. Atticus enters and tells Aunt Alexandra, Calpurnia, Miss Maudie and Scout that Tom Robinson had been shot 17 times because he attempted to escape prison. Attius exits with Calpurnia, and the topic of discussion between the three women shifts to Atticus and the Tom Robinson trial. Aunt Alexandra wonders why Atticus was allowed to defend Tom Robinson, as she knew it would ruin his reputation because there’s no way Tom would win. Miss Maudie says that he’s allowed to defend Tom because it’ll make a statement about racism and possibly alter the way people perceive the black community. The people support Atticus and trust him to do the right thing. Scout nonchalantly enjoys the rest of the missionary circle, making sure not to tell the other ladies of what happened to Tom Robinson. It was her job, along with Aunt Alexandra and Miss Maudie, to keep this information confidential until it becomes public information.
Chapter 25 Summary
It is now September. Scout finds a small bug and wants to squish it. Jem, the mature young man he’s become, approaches her and tells her to not kill the bug, as it did nothing wrong. This is a reference to Atticus’ “To Kill A Mockingbird” speech. Jem learned from his father not to harm anything or anyone that has done nothing to deserve such punishment. After hearing Jem’s advice, Scout sets the roly-poly bug free. Scout relaxes on her own and ponders Dill and his absence, recalling that he said he’d be back by summer, but she misses his presence. In her mind, she goes over what Dill said had happened after his swimming lesson with Jem. The boys were on the highway when they saw Atticus driving toward them and waved him down. Dill and Jem convinced Atticus to let them join him and Calpurnia for the ride, as long as they agreed to stay in the car. It was then that Atticus informed them of Tom Robinson’s death. Atticus continued driving, and ended up at the Negro's cabins. Dill stated that he saw Atticus reassuring one of the young girls playing in the neighbourhood where Tom lived. When Atticus confronted Helen Robinson, Tom’s wife, he didn’t even have to say a word. She knew just by Atticus’s demeanor what had happened. Helen fell to the ground and wept. Calpurnia and Atticus lead Helen into the cabin, where Atticus later emerged alone. It took two days for the information about Tom’s death to spread around Maycomb. The popular opinion of the town was that it was typical and inevitable due to Tom’s race and the crime he allegedly committed. The news even made it in the newspaper in the “Coloured News.” Mr. B. B. Underwood held an unpopular opinion though- he was bitter about Tom’s death, and considered it to be a senseless killing due to racism, even comparing him to a mockingbird. If Scout even gave the slightest clue that she knew everything about Tom and his death, Jem said he would never speak to her again.