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To Kill A Mockingbird: Chapter1-2
Transcript of To Kill A Mockingbird: Chapter1-2
The novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is told through the perspective of the protagonist, Jean Louise Finch, who goes by her nickname Scout.
The beginning chapters commence with Scout recalling the events that led up to her brother Jem's broken arm, which occured years before.
The author uses this strategy to briefly introduce some of her family’s history and other featured characters.
Atticus, Scout’s father and a known lawyer in Maycomb County, makes a sufficient living and is able to support him and his kids with the help of Calpurnia, their African-American cook. Throughout the book we see that Calpurnia plays the strong female figure to the kids, ever since their mother passed away when they were younger.
In the summer of the early 1930’s, Jem and Scout meet a boy named Charles Baker Harris, who calls himself Dill. Dill, who moves next door to spend the summer (and every other summer) with his aunt, ends up making good friends with Jem and Scout. They spend the rest of the summer playing with him and re-enacting fictional stories. But when Dill becomes fascinated with the Radley place, a house full of mysteries with a malevolent, captive man named Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley, he convinces the kids to help him lure Boo out. So they begin to contemplate ideas to get him to finally reveal himself. Afterwards, Dill dares Jem to touch the house and comeback, but as he does so, nothing happens. The chapter ends with Scout sure she seen movement in the house.
In the second chapter we learn that Scout begins her first day of grade one; this event brings up character vs. character and character vs. society conflicts.
When Scout’s first grade teacher Ms. Caroline is disturbed at the fact that Scout is literate at her age, she quickly demands her to stop whatever she is doing that putting her ahead of the rest of her class. Of course Scout is confused; it only makes sense that having a better understanding is a positive thing and she could not comprehend why Ms. Caroline did not see it that way. It is here that Scout realizes the flaws in the education system and even calls it the "Dewey Decimal teaching". We also see how it contradicts with her own beliefs in education as a Dewey Decimal type of teaching makes it very hard for students to aim higher than what is "expected" of them.These flaws let us see later on in the book how important education is and how it determines ones level and credibility in their environment, also how too much education can spark conflict.
To Kill A Mockingbird
As summer ends and September arrives, Dill leaves Maycomb to return to his hometown of Meridian. Scout is also excited as she begins her first day of grade one; her excitement soon fades away as her and her teacher, Ms. Caroline, do not get off on the right foot.
When Ms. Caroline quickly realizes that Scout is indeed literate at her age, she does not approve and makes Scout feel bad about something Scout was in fact proud of. The disagreement continues in the afternoon when Walter Cunningham does not bring a lunch to class. Ms. Caroline, obviously unaware of the economic condition of the families in Maycomb, does not understand why he would not accept a loan for a lunch. Scout takes it as her responsibility to explain that the large Cunningham family are too poor to provide Walter with a lunch, and definitely too poor to pay anyone back money. Ms. Caroline becomes fed up with Scout and slaps Scouts hand as punishment.
On the topic of Scouts first day of school, another event allows us to see more of the character vs.society conflicts. It is lunchtime when Ms. Caroline sees that one of her students has not brought their lunch. Scout takes it upon herself to explain the reputations of the families of Maycomb County,including why Walter Cunningham was too poor to bring a lunch and why he would never be able to repay anyone who lends him money. Ms. Caroline is infuriated with what she says and begins to comprehend the economic conditions of Maycomb County families. The way Walter Cunningham was easily profiled by his family’s reputation shows how much class is valued and determines the level of respect given to them.
In the state of a Great Depression (1930's), Maycomb County is described as a very slow moving, quiet town with not much to do, because there is no money to pay for it. Scout expresses the town as "a tired old town". This entails that the economic condition had a large effect on the mood of towns people. She also states "a day was twenty-four hours but seemed longer". These detailed descriptions allows readers to easily visualize and feel how grim the characters might have felt during the harsh times. This is an important part of the plot because it enhances the importance and unexpectedness of upcoming events in the novel (case of Tom Robinson) making it a great deal for the towns people.
Jem, the oldest of the group, is protective yet the peacemaker. He always maintains a clear mind- even when Scout gets into fights at school. He is able to calm her down and make her think about the consequences of her actions. He balances out the personality between himself and Scout.
Dill is portrayed as a likeable, talkative boy who loves adventure. He was easily able to connect with the siblings because he shared similar interests. However we quickly learn he would rather keep quiet about his family history.
•to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate: to assuage one's grief; to assuage one's pain.
•a remark or comment, especially an adverse criticism: The reviewer made several strictures upon the author's style.
•an authoritative pronouncement; judicial assertion.
•any article of tangible property other than land, buildings, and other things annexed to land.
•not potent; lacking power or ability.
•inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation.
•not soiled, untarnished: an unsullied public persona.
•not prudent; lacking discretion; incautious; rash.
•to go at a slow, easy pace; stroll; saunter: He ambled around the town.
•unjustly cruel, harsh, or severe; arbitrary or oppressive; despotic: a tyrannical ruler.
•to abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile (usually followed by with ).
•evil; harmful; injurious: a malevolent inclination to destroy the happiness of others.
•a tendency to think favorably of something in particular; partiality; preference: a predilection for Bach.
•a platform or raised structure in a church, from which the sermon is delivered or the service is conducted.
The Great Depression
In chapter one, we begin to understand the setting of the novel and how it occurs during the time of the Great Depression. The author touches on this fact by stating, “There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy with it…”.
For most nations the Great Depression began in the 1930's and lasted to a little over a decade. It was the most severe economic depression and caused a great deal of emotional impact. Over 25% of the American population became unemployed, and the suicide rate increased to 17 deaths per 100,000 people (approx. 51,000).
The main theme of the novel is recognizing that human nature makes a person either mainly good, or mainly evil. The author strategically tells the perspective through the eyes of a younger character because she believes everyone has good in them. But as we read on, the main character matures, and so does her awareness of good and evil and its significant harm on the innocent. For example, Tom Robinson could not be properly accused of the alleged crime, but ended up being blamed for it because of the evils of racism.
This theme is shown in Chapters 1-2 as the kids discuss Boo Radley. The evils of ignorance causes the town's people to produce hateful rumors and myths about the Radley family which are then believed among the naive minds. Boo Radley was not proven to have done any of the inhumane actions said, but such ignorance affected him so much that he refuses to leave his home.