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To Kill a Mockingbird viewing-guide

To Kill a Mockingbird Viewing Guide
Answer the following questions in pen, in complete sentences, on a separate sheet
of paper. Grammar counts.
1. How does the opening music (during the credits) set the tone for the movie?
2. What do the contents of the small box tell you about the person reaching into it
(the person who owns it)?
3. Based on what the narrator says and what you see, what type of town is this (the
4. What type of man is Walter Cunningham, Sr.? How can you tell?
5. How is the Finch family different from the Cunningham family?
6. Based on what Jem says and does, how would you characterize him? (Hint: pay
attention to how he acts toward Atticus, Scout, and Dill.)
7. While Jem is telling of Boo, how do the music and setting affect the mood?
8. Should we believe Jem’s stories about Boo? Should we believe Stephanie
Crawford? Why or why not?
9. What do we learn about the relationship between Atticus and his children?
10. What kind of person is Mrs. Dubose? How can you tell?
11. Why do you think Atticus behaves the way he does around Mrs. Dubose?
12. Remember that Tom Robinson has been accused of raping a white woman.
Knowing what you know about the south in the 1930s, what does it say about
Atticus that he agrees to take the case?
13. What kind of relationship do Scout and Jem have? How can you tell?
14. What does it say about what type of person Jem is, that he touches the house?
15. Why might the judge look like he’s asleep?
16. How do Bob Ewell’s appearance and mannerisms contrast with Atticus’s?
17. What does this tell you about both characters (Bob Ewell and Atticus)?
TKaM Viewing Guide, cont.
Answer the following questions in pen, in complete sentences, on a separate sheet
of paper. Grammar counts.
17. What do you learn about the relationship between Scout and the boys?
18. What is Jem’s role in the “plan”? What does this tell you about his character?
19. Describe the children’s reaction to the man’s shadow. What does this tell you
about their characters?
20. Do you think Atticus knows the shot had something to do with Jem? Why or why
21. Describe how Atticus behaves toward Calpurnia. What does this tell you about
his moral views on race?
22. How do Jem and Scout react differently to Walter? What does that tell you about
how grown up (or not) they are?
23. Why, does Atticus say, is it a sin to kill a mockingbird? (The mockingbird will
become a symbol for various things throughout the rest of the story. Keep
Atticus’s quote in mind. Also pay attention to the word “sin” when thinking about
moral decisions the characters make.)
24. How does Scout show her naivety when Walter comes to dinner? What does this
say about her as a character?
25. We see another example of Atticus’s views on race, based on what happens in
his house. How are his views likely different from many people’s views at that
time, especially in a small, Southern town? What happens in this scene to show
you this?
26. How does Scout show her childhood innocence when talking to Atticus? (Hint:
think about what she says about her teacher.)
27. What do we learn about Atticus’s character while he is talking to Scout?
28. What whole new side of Atticus do we see in the scene with the dog? Why do
you think he never told his children about this?
29. What does the setting at the Robinsons’ house tell you about racial divisions in
this time period?
30. How does Jem react to Bob Ewell’s approach? What does this tell you about his
31. When Atticus is talking to Jem, what clue do we get that Jem is starting to grow
up? Shortly after this, what tells us that he’s not completely grown up yet?
32. Compare Atticus’s instructions for Scout with what Scout actually does. What
does this tell you about Scout?
33. How do the adults and children in town feel about Atticus defending Tom? How
can you tell?
34. Why does Atticus say he couldn’t hold his head up or tell his children what to do
if he didn’t defend Tom?
35. Why would Nathan Radley seal up the knothole in the tree? Why would he care?
36. Who has been leaving gifts for the kids? What does this tell you about his
37. Why does Atticus go to the jail?
38. How does Jem show that he is the leader of the group of kids?
39. Why do you think the mob is at the jail?
40. What new side of Walter Cunningham do we see?
41. How much do you think Jem understands about the mob? How can you tell?
How much does Scout understand, and how can you tell?
42. Why do you think Walter Cunningham tells all the men to leave?
43. Why might Atticus have told his children they weren’t allowed to come to the
44. Based on what you see in the courtroom and what you know of the South in the
1930s, how does this trial look for Tom? Be specific with your reasons.
45. What type of person is Bob Ewell? How can you tell? Give more than one trait.
TKaM Viewing Guide, cont.
Answer the following questions in pen, in complete sentences, on a separate sheet
of paper. Grammar counts.
46. How does the judge feel about Bob? How can you tell? How do you think the
jury sees him? (Keep in mind that the jury members are from that town, just like
Bob is. Although, people like Atticus also live in that town.)
47. What do Mayella’s actions and voice tell you about her?
48. Do you believe Mayella? Why or why not? Do you think the jury believes her?
Why or why not?
49. What do Tom’s actions and voice tell you about him?
50. Tom says that he only disturbed the chair in the room. Why would he stop
himself from saying “the only thing disturbed in the room” to say “the only
furniture disturbed”?
51. Why is Tom acting the way he is on the stand?
52. Based on the way Mr. Gilmer (the prosecutor) acts and speaks, how does he feel
toward Tom? Be specific.
53. Why is Mr. Gilmer so shocked at Tom’s statement? What does the look on
Atticus’s face tell you?
54. What “time-honored code of society” has Mayella broken? Would you say
Mayella is racist? Why or why not?
55. What does Atticus suggest about the type of people the Ewells are? How can
you tell he is saying this?
56. Were you surprised at the verdict? Why or why not? Be specific. (75-100 words)
57. Why does everyone in the balcony stand as Atticus goes by? Why do you think
Atticus does not acknowledge them?
58. What life lesson does Jem learn from Maudie?
59. Do you believe the deputy’s story about what happened to Tom? Do you think
Atticus believes it? Why or why not?
60. How does Jem see himself in terms of manhood vs. boyhood? How does Atticus
see him? How can you tell?
61. Do you think Bob feels satisfied in his “revenge” on Atticus for defending Tom?
Why or why not?
62. Give two examples of foreshadowing we hear in the voice over.
64. How can we tell that Scout has grown up (at least to some extent)?
65. Why does Atticus insist there be a fair trial, even if it is against Jem? What does
this tell you about his character?
66. Atticus clearly thinks Heck is lying to protect Jem, but Heck says he’s not
thinking of Jem. Who else might Heck be thinking of?
67. To whom is Heck referring? Where else in this story have we heard the term “it’s
a sin”?
68. How is this situation “like shootin’ a mockingbird”? Who is the “mockingbird” in
this situation? How can you tell?
69. What does it say about Scout’s level of childhood innocence, that she
understands what Atticus means without him actually saying it?
70. What other life lesson has Scout learned by the end?
71. Why does the movie end with a shot of Scout curled up in Atticus’s lap?
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