Analysis Of Some Passages From “To Kill a Mockingbird” By Harper Lee

“Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter than: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

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This is a significant passage because Scout is describing the lucid details of where she lives and the energy of the county. Also, she is introducing the scene for the entire story, which is quiet and tedious. It also establishes the scene for the main issue in the novel, Tom Robinson's case.

When I put myself in Scout's shoes and try to envision the area I live in and consider the people I live around and the city's energy, I come to apprehend that it is distinct, her county and the city I live in.

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In the city I live in, people have diverse backgrounds and because of that not all of us are the same, so we have various stories to tell, and we all live differently.

“Sometimes the Bible in hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of-oh, your father”.

The significance of this passage is that Miss Maudie was attempting to explain that there are some folks in the town that use the bible-thumping to rebuke the actions of others. One segment of the town that practices bible-thumping were the foot-washers, they scolded Miss Maudie for having the pleasure of working in her garden when instead she should be studying the Bible.

I can agree with this because as I was reading the book, I understood that Bob Ewells used a similar trick to not be persecuted by Tom Robinson. Since the “bible” of the county is surrounding racism, they support white people over black people. Furthermore, when Bob announced that Tom assaulted his wife then everyone knew the white man must be right. Later did they realize that Atticus had proved Mr. Ewell's crime, and revealed how he beat his wife. Of course though, due to the fact of Mr. Ewells being white they favored him over Tom, because of the “bible.”

“ Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”

This is a remarkable passage because of Atticus accepting his fate, of not going to win the trial, he still performs his best in attempting to prevail in the trial and to not be prejudiced. In fact, he does this so other people will see and listen to his side of the story and perhaps they may heed and gain some understanding from him. In addition, this also alters the way of Jem and Scout's growth throughout the story.

I appreciate what Atticus did; “What is always right is not popular, what is popular is not always right.”-Albert Einstien In fact, I have been in his shoes and had to be the person to do what was moral and people did not admire me for it, but why to care what others may think, it matters who you think you are and do what is truly right.

“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”

This passage is noteworthy because Jem and Scout discovered that their father was the deadliest shot of the county. As a result, they questioned Atticus why he had not told them about his skill. Miss Maudie informed them that he was a modest man who did not boast about his capabilities, in fact, Atticus thought his gift was a curse from God because he could kill other creatures with his talent. Ironically after Atticus talked to them, Scout wanted to inform her classmates but Jem told not to because that would not be sensible to do so.

I agree with Miss Maudie's quote because only truly humble people would not go around showing off what they can and other can not, some people such as surgeons use their expertise for virtue to fix people, and there are others like Atticus who are skilled with weapons. If I were Atticus I would also restrain myself from using a talent such as that, it would bring no benefit to society but more trouble. Overall, it truly matters what you do with the talent you have and use it wisely.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

This section is relevant because Atticus was attempting to teach Jem the distinction between appearing courageous and being courageous, his example of being courageous was Mrs. Dubose, how she was a morphine addict and how she fought to quit being an addict, also she died a free woman, she knew that she would die soon, yet she saw it through with courage. Not only that but Atticus saw things through despite knowing he wasn't going to win the trial, just to get his message across to others. Jem was influenced by this and seemed like he gained an “alien set of values” that permitted him to be more like his father. Furthermore, this passage showed a major theme about perspective.

I can understand what Atticus was seeking to reveal to Jem because even I sometimes try to see things through when I am trying to execute something out or prove something wrong. Not only that, but we see people every day being courageous, such as surgeons taking the risk and trying to save your life when you are in a traumatic event or firefighters rescuing people in a house leaking of smoke and fire.

“It's not necessary to tell all you know. It's not ladylike – in the second place, folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do. It aggravates 'em. You're not gonna change any of them by talkin' right, they've got to want to learn themselves, and when they don't want to learn there's nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.”

This paragraph is crucial because it reveals how Calpurnia has to lead a double life, and she can not be herself wherever because of the people around her, she can not fit in everywhere. Not only that but this makes Scout consider needing to fit in with the other customary ladies and later in the story she brings herself to do just this.

I understand how Calpurnia has to be because today nearly everyone leads a double life in some way, and those people act differently with others, for example, I have a friend that acts differently at school than he does at home with his parents. As a result, they act at school differently to fit in with the other kids and to be accepted by them.

“Besides, I don’t think the children’ve suffered one bit from her having brought them up. If anything, she’s been harder on them in some ways than a mother would have been… she’s never let them get away with anything, she’s never indulged them the way most colored nurses do. She tried to bring them up according to her lights, and Cal’s lights are pretty good--and another thing, the children love her.”

This passage is notable since Aunt Alexandra was being prejudiced and declared that Calpurnia, a colored woman, will not replace a parent figure, in addition, she told her that she does not belong in the family, Alexandra did not consider Calpurnia worthy enough. Additionally, Alexandra trusted that family was much more valuable than integrity, however, Atticus accepted something else. Furthermore, this portion has the major theme of racism.

I am as outraged as Atticus, the moment Alexandra announced how she felt about Calpurnia, it is inconceivable the amount of racism there was back then. Not to mention, she knew that Atticus supported colored folk and still she denounced them in his face. Announcing something like that today would presumably get yourself in some grave danger with society today, in truth people will stigmatize you.

“So it took an eight-year-old child to bring them to their senses … that proves something—that a gang of wild animals can be stopped simply because they are humans.”

This paragraph is notable because Scout prevented these men from savagely hurting her father, as he was attempting to protect Tom Robinson in the county jail. In addition, Scout and Jem prevented one of the most life-threatening and tragic events from happening, and they stopped it by trying to start a conversation, asking them about their children and how they have been.

It's astonishing what it takes to neutralize people in a situation like that, asking something as simple as questions about loved ones or state of well-mind, can just de-aggravate someone. In addition, the purity of a person can also affect the conversations and actions of a group or single person. As a matter of fact, I try to visualize what would happen if I did that or if I was the person like Scout who just comes in all the unexpected, either way, it was fortunate that Scout came in when she did.

“I try to give ‘em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason. When I come to town, which is seldom, if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say Dolphus Raymond’s in the clutches of whiskey--that’s why he won’t change his ways. He can’t help himself, that’s why he lives the way he does.”

This passage is important since it shows how Dophus Raymond's appearance makes people view him. People do not disturb him because he is a mixed colored person and sits with the colored people. As a matter of fact, he goes about the way he does with the Coca-Cola bag because he doesn't want people to question his actions so he has the “alcohol” a reason to blame. Furthermore, this way of life has made Scout inquiry into the actions of others like Dophus Raymond.

After analyzing this paragraph I wondered why individual people do somethings that are distinctive, and now I have come to apprehend that there is always something behind it, they do not want to be harassed, or they just want to be left alone, or just want to have a reason to do something. In fact, I try to envision myself as Dophus Raymond and how it would feel to just be someone you actually are not, it makes you ask your self who you truly are.

“Jem, see if you can stand in Bob Ewell's shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial if he had any, to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that houseful of children out there. You understand?”

This passage is crucial because it shows how Atticus is compassionate toward others who are ill-mannered, such as Bob Ewell in this case. As can be seen, Atticus is so wise in the way he does his things that he can be so open-handed with his compassion for others which is truly astounding. As a result, his understanding of people and his compassion affects the development of both Jem and Scout in the story, as they grasp that from him.

I am genuinely perplexed in how people like Atticus can have so much compassion and forgiveness, being spat on like a swine, after proving Ewell was a liar. In any event, putting up with some action like that and be mortified in front of everyone would be the worst unbearable thing that I would want to have occurred. If I were to put myself into Atticus's shoes I would have done the most immature and irrational possible action, which would be to hurt Mr. Ewell.

“Atticus says you can choose your friends but you sho' can't choose your family, an' they're still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge 'em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don't. That's your father all over again,” said Aunt Alexandra, “and I still say that Jean Louise will not invite Walter Cunningham to this house. If he were her double first cousin once removed he would still not be received in this house unless he comes to see Atticus on business. Now that is that.”

This passage is important since Aunt Alexandra does not consider Walter Cunningham good enough( as she did with Calpurnia) to be in the house. In addition, since Walter is poor and does not have sufficient manners as they do and he is not family. After all, Scout knows what the social inequality is, but it bewilders her, everyone in the town is what they are, it can not be changed because one wants it changed.

I disagree with Aunt Alexandra's theory of friends and family because one should be able to choose friends. If I were to envision being Scout or Jem, who was forced to have certain folks as friends then that would be preposterous. Even so, the point of having friends are having ones who appreciate you and admire you for who you are after all not all people are alike.

“That’s the difference between America and Germany. We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship. Dictator-ship,” she said. “Over here we don’t believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. Prejudice,” she enunciated carefully. “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me.”

This section is significant because it shows the major idea of racism, the teacher feels mystified about Germany and how they persecute the Jewish people. In reality, the ironic thing is that Maycomb and Germany are not so different. Maycomb persecutes colored people because they are black not because of their religion as Hitler did with the Jews.

I am enraged by how the teacher and the students do not apprehend that they persecuted colored people. In fact, they believe just cause colored folks are different in appearance that they can mistreat them, but if they are white and being persecuted than it is immoral to do so. Furthermore, I can not believe that our society continued mistreating colored people for so long even after slavery ended,“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race. – Kofi Annan”

“Mrs. Merriweather seemed to have a hit, everybody was cheering so, but she caught me backstage and told me I had ruined her pageant. She made me feel awful, but when Jem came to fetch me he was sympathetic. He said he couldn’t see my costume much from where he was sitting. How he could tell I was feeling bad under my costume I don’t know, but he said I did all right, I just came in a little late, that was all. Jem was becoming almost as good as Atticus at making you feel right when things went wrong. Almost—not even Jem could make me go through that crowd, and he consented to wait backstage with me until the audience left.”

This paragraph is significant since it shows how Jem has developed throughout the story. One of the ways Jem has developed throughout the story is how he has become identical to Atticus and his way of “making you feel right when things went wrong.” An example of this is shown was when Scout was late to appear on stage for the pageant, Mrs. Merriweather told Scout that she had wrecked her pageant, Scout felt “awful” because of how she made her feel. However, Jem then comforted her the way Atticus would if he were there.

I am delighted that Jem could develop and nearly become his father. In fact, becoming as wise as Atticus would be a dream comes true for some people, being able to teach such things and understand what they mean. As a matter of fact, I one day wish to become as wise as Atticus and be able to go about my life and make enlightened decisions and meaningful actions.

“Somehow, I could think nothing but Mr. Bob Ewell saying he'd get Atticus if it took him the rest of his life. Mr. Ewell almost got him, and it was the last thing he did.”

This portion is significant since it shows how Bob got back at Atticus and how it was a major issue in the novel. Somewhere in the middle of the book Mr. Ewell was furious that Atticus had made an idiot out of him in court and told him that he would get back at him if what the last thing he ever did. Eventually, he did when Scout and Jem were walking home, Bob attacked Jem and broke his arm when Scout was in her costume on the road.

I am furious as to how low Mr. Ewell went to accomplish his promise by choosing Jem, instead of Atticus. Not to mention, he is a coward for doing what he did, if he truly kept his promise he would have hurt Atticus. Unfortunately, there are people like Mr. Ewell in this world give low a new meaning and hurt people that are not involved but are loved ones.

“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them?”

This section is relevant because it talks about Stoner boy and how he ruined someone's clubhouse by casting ink all over it and the group of people who owned the clubhouse chased Stoner boy, they eventually caught up to him they found out he wasn't the person who did it. This story refers to Boo Radley in the novel, Boo was Stoner boy, and the clubhouse ink refers to the rumors about Boo. In addition, Boo being chased by the group refers to Jem, Scout, and the others who believed the rumors. Instead, Boo Radley is an easygoing person who just minds his own business and stays in his house.

It was very true what Atticus said about thinking about people's perspective of life in order to understand them. Unfortunately, Scout never truly understood Boo Radley until the end of the novel when he rescued Jem. After, Scout saw who he really was, just an isolated man who his considerate with others. As a matter of fact, I try to visualize someone as Radley who does not really talk to anyone and stays inside all the time and question what really goes on in their head.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Analysis Of Some Passages From “To Kill a Mockingbird” By Harper Lee. (2024, Feb 03). Retrieved from

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