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TKAM study questions with key ch. 1-4

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To Kill A Mockingbird Questions Chapter 1-4
Chapter 1
1. What do you learn in this chapter about Maycomb, Atticus Finch and his family?
The Finch family has been in the area since a fur trapper named Simon Finch moved there and made a lot of
money which was lost after the Civil War. Atticus Finch was the first Finch not to stay on the family land. He
became a lawyer, his brother a doctor and their sister stayed at Finch Landing. Maycomb is a very small, dusty,
slow town with nothing much to do or buy. The time is during the Depression so no one has any money. Atticus
married when he was in his 40’s; his wife died when their son, Jem, was 6 and their daughter, Scout 2. When
the book begins the children are 6 and 10.
2. What do you learn about Dill's character?
Dill has snow white hair and is very short but smart. He comes from Mississippi and stays the summers with his
aunt Rachel, Scout and Jem’s neighbor. He has a lot of ideas about what the kids should play and he is
fascinated by Boo Radley; wants to see what Boo looks like. His background is a little fuzzy and we suspect he
might make things up.
3. What, briefly, has happened to Arthur “Boo” Radley.
Boo hung out with the wrong crowd as a teenager. The other boys got sent off to reform school but Boo’s father
kept him at home as his form of punishment. According to town gossip, Boo drove a pair of scissors into his
father’s leg one day. He was locked up in the Town Hall basement until the Radleys brought him home and he
was never seen again.
4. Why does the Radley place fascinate Scout, Jem and Dill?
They have never seen Boo and they believe the stories that say he comes out at night and haunts the town,
eating raw animals that he catches. The children are terrified yet fascinated by his story and the gossip they have
both heard and made up.
5. What do you notice about the narrative voice and viewpoint in the novel?
The novel is a retrospective story, but the voice is one that tells about events from a child’s (Scout’s)
perspective, rather than as an adult reflecting back.
Chapter 2
6. Why is Scout so looking forward to starting school?
For years she has looked over the fence, watching her brother and the other kids play in the schoolyard and she
wants to be a part of all that fun.
7. Why does Jem not want anything to do with Scout at school? Is his behavior typical of an older child?
Jem is worried, like any big brother would be, that his little sister will embarrass him at school by mentioning
things they do at home. He wants his schoolmates to view him as a mature young man, not someone who plays
silly games.
8. What do you think of Miss Caroline Fisher as a teacher? Can you find qualities which would make her
good or not so good at her job?
Miss Caroline is book smart, so she could potentially share a lot of knowledge with her students, but she does
not understand their world at all. With experience perhaps she could use her attractiveness and youth to her
advantage, but she is so inexperienced that she makes mistakes such as accidently shaming Walter Cunningham
and trying to control Burris Ewell. She is also very rigid in her teaching approach and insists that things get
done her way, a trait that makes Scout’s life miserable as a student.
Chapter 3
9. Who is Calpurnia? What is her place in the Finch household?
Calpurnia is the Finch’s black housekeeper and nanny who has been with them since Jem was born. She cooks,
cleans, sews, irons and does all the other household chores, but she also disciplines the children. Atticus holds
her in very high esteem and insists that the children respect her completely. Scout argues with Cal a lot, but
never gets her way. Although Cal seems stern, she clearly cares about the family and takes good care of them.
10. What is Walter Cunningham like? What does his behavior during lunch suggest about his home life?
Walter is from a poor farming family. He is polite and shy and very proud—he will take no charity from anyone.
When he eats with the Finches it is clear from his conversation with Atticus that he takes on adult
responsibilities at home and understands about farming. He does not have very sophisticated manners, a fact he
shows by pouring molasses all over his food.
11. What do you think of the way Atticus treats Walter?
Atticus shows respect for Walter, as he does for everyone. He may want to be an example to his kids of how
important it is to interact respectfully with everyone, regardless of social standing. Atticus talks to Walter like
he is an adult, talking to him about crops and his family’s farm.
12. Does Scout learn anything from Walter's visit? What do you think this is?
Scout learns that judging other people just shows your own lack of class. Calpurnia sees to it that Scout learns
this lesson. When Scout criticizes Walter for pouring syrup all over his food, Cal calls her out to the kitchen and
gives her a verbal lashing. Scout is humiliated and eats the rest of her meal in the kitchen.
13. Atticus says that you never really understand a person “until you climb into his skin and walk around in
it”. What does this mean?
Everyone has his own perspective and experience that form the decisions he makes and the actions he takes.
Until you understand these things about a person, you should not judge him. So you have to try to imagine
another person’s life and try to understand why she is the way she is instead of judging.
Chapter 4
14. What does Scout think of current fashions in education?
Scout is very bored in school. She wants to read and her teacher won’t let her. She can already hand write and
her teacher wants her to wait until third grade to do that. Scout feels school is a waste of time.
15. What superstitions do the children have in connection with the Radley house?
The nuts that fall off the tree into the school yard are poison. Boo comes out and haunts the town at night. They
run past the house whenever they pass it alone.
16. Why do the children make Boo's story into a game?
They are bored with all their other “plays.” Boo is a mystery to them and they want to imagine what his life
must have been like. They know they are doing something wrong and that might add an element of excitement
as well.
17. What do they do in this game? Do you think the game is an accurate version of what happens in the
Radleys' home?
In the game they act out everything they have ever heard about Boo’s life plus they make up dialogue that they
think might have happened. Scout plays Boo’s mother, Dill plays the father, Jem plays Boo. For all the other
roles, they double up parts as needed. The big scene is where Boo attacks his father with a pair of scissors
which they sneak out of Calpurnia’s sewing basket.
18. What might be the cause of the laughter from inside the house?
Maybe Boo watches the children and he thinks it looks funny to see a little girl rolling in a tire then crashing
into his gate.
Source: Universalteacher.org
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