To Kill A Mockingbird Summary

Chapter 1

This story takes place in the state of Alabama in a quiet city called Maycomb. The time period of the novel was around the early 19th century due to the open discrimination against African Americans. Maycomb is a quiet place in which the Finch family is familiarized with their neighbors. Maycomb is described as an “old town” which includes a “main residential street” and a town square with a courthouse in the middle (5-6). The Finches live on the main residential street and the Radley residence was further south.

Chapter 1

Boo Radley is one of the neighbors of Scout and Jem. He doesn’t really come out of the house so there are many stories and bizarre speculations that developed because of this. It was rumored that he was into some gang activity when he was 15 years old and went to court because of something he did. His dad asked the judge not to punish him and that his dad would discipline him.

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The people of the town perceive him as someone scary and wild because he was isolated from society and was not seen for over 15 years.

Chapter 2

The one word I would use to describe Scout Finch is curious. I chose this word because it seems that Scout is always asking questions or is questioning the other families’ actions in their daily lives. For example, Walter Cunningham, who was one of Atticus’s clients, said to Atticus that he does not know when he will be able to pay him for his services.

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When Mr. Cunningham paid Atticus with different commodities such as hickory nuts and stovewood, Scout asked, “Why does he pay you like that?” Atticus responded that Mr. Cunningham “has no money” so could not pay them in any other way (23).

 Chapter 3

When I was in fifth grade, a new kid who had moved from Minnesota joined our school. I noticed that he always sat alone at lunch and never talked to anyone much in class. My initial impression was that he just didn’t care for making friends. One day, I decided to sit with him at lunch. I found out that he likes to play Minecraft and that he plays it very often. After getting to know him better, I understand that although he is shy, he also has a very low intrinsic desire to socialize – he is different from me in that aspect, but overall, we are still remarkably similar.

Chapter 3-4

Walter Cunningham and Burris Ewell are similar in the sense that they both come from lower class families. However, they are different in how they present their personalities. Burris Ewell seems to lack cleanliness in both his physical presentation and his words. “He was the filthiest human I had ever seen. His neck was dark gray, the back of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick,” said Scout (29). However, the Cunningham family “never took anything they can’t pay back—no church baskets, and no scrip stamps” (22). This shows that Walter is more respectable and honors his family while Burris is just a mess.

Chapter 6

They try to look inside the house to see what Boo Radley was like, but in the process Mr. Nathan Radley fires his shotgun to scare them off. They start to sprint under the fence, but Jem’s pants get stuck in the fence. Later Jem came back for his pants only to see that they were stitched up and hanging on the fence. I experienced something similar when I was 8 years old when I hid my sister’s phone because she wouldn’t play basketball with me. I thought she would come to play with me since she didn’t have her phone with her. I ended up getting in trouble though because she eventually found out it was me.

Chapter 7

I think the most important item that Jem and Scout found was the pocket watch because it costed the most and had the most value out of all the items that were in the tree. It was also the item that they received before writing the letter to give back to Boo Radley. I probably treasure my computer the most because I use it for most of my activities throughout the day and throughout the school year, such as this assignment.

Chapter 10

I think the mockingbird symbolizes peace and virtue because it seems that bluejays are more troublesome birds while the mockingbirds “don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy” (103). I think up until this point, Boo Radley is the mockingbird in the story because he has done nothing but give gifts to Jem and Scout. Even though there are rumors about him and what happened to him years ago, he still hasn’t done anything with a negative connotation in the story.

Chapter 11

I think Jem learned not to judge people based on their beliefs and how they act around certain people. Jem learns later that Mrs. Dubose was addicted to Morphine, a pain killer, and was trying to cut her addiction. I think Atticus knew that Mrs. Dubose was trying to break her addiction to morphine beforehand, so he called her brave and courageous for doing so. I procrastinated on a major project for history last year called the National History Day project. The members of the group and me were in different classes, so it was hard for all of us to get together and work on the project. We ended up working till about 1 a.m. a few days before the project was due. I was worn out the next day. I learned that even if your group members procrastinate you should still take the initiative and start the project.

Chapter 12

I think Harper Lee included this scene to demonstrate that most of the black people were honored and happy that Jem and Scout were coming to church. Lula seemed like the only that had the question “why you bringin’ white chillun to nigger church” (135). The church’s function is to probably bring the Black people together to help each other with donations, and to bring unity and peace among the Black community so there isn’t any segregation between them.

Chapter 13

I think Calpurnia is the only female influence that Scout has throughout her childhood. She didn’t grow up with a mother, so Calpurnia was responsible for disciplining, cooking and helping Scout and Jem. Scout explained that her “mother died when [Scout] was two, so [Scout] never felt her absence” (6). My mother is the most important adult figure in my life. She always reminds me to do my work, helps me with all my work, supports me in my activities and is just there for me whenever I need her.

Chapter 15

Scout and Jem decide to follow Atticus to the Maycomb jail because they were concerned. They arrive to find Atticus sitting and reading a newspaper, but then see a group of men heading toward Atticus. Jem, Scout and Dill go to confront them, and they turn out to be hostile. Scout sees Mr. Cunningham in the group and talks to him about Walter, her classmate, and his “entailment” (174). This shocks Mr. Cunningham and the rest of the group and Mr. Cunningham tells them to clear out. This shows that Scout and Jem are still children in how they act, but they can still act mature and appropriate if they need to.

Chapter 16

I think Atticus was appointed to Tom Robinson’s case because Atticus doesn’t discriminate and favor anyone based on their skin. If Tom Robinson is innocent, Atticus will represent him even if he isn’t white. I was forced to go to a summer camp with a group of 9-year-old kids. We were doing a lot of different activities with robots and computers. All the stuff was easy for me because of the age difference so I aced everything. I had to go because my mom wanted me to. However, I tried my best in all the activities despite my unwillingness.

Chapter 16

There are 2 floors to the courthouse. The white people sit on the first floor and the black people sit on the balcony. Jem, Scout, and Dill don’t find any seats on the first floor so Reverend Sykes asks them “Do you all reckon it’ll be all right if you all came to the balcony with me?” (186). They happily agreed and followed Mr. Sykes into the colored balcony. Since they were sitting on the second floor with the colored crowd, Jem, Scout and Dill are less likely to be seen by Atticus. This helped them stay for most of the trial until Mr. Underwood told Atticus where they were.

Chapter 18-19

Comparing the testimonies of Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson, there are 3 main inconsistencies. The first inconsistency is the person who committed the assault. In Mayella’s story, she said Tom Robinson “took advantage of [her]” and “he had [her] round the neck” (205). However, in Tom’s story, he states that Mayella “grabbed [him] round the legs” and “she reached up an’ kissed [him]” (220-221). The second inconsistency is the reason for Tom visiting the house. In Mayella’s story, she told Tom Robinson to come and “bust up this chiffarobe for me” (205). However, in Tom’s story, he states she invited him in to fix “an old [door] off its hinges” (219). The third inconsistency is in the matter of payment. In Mayella’s story, she was going to get the nickel to pay Tom for busting the chiffarobe, but in Tom’s story he refused payment.

Chapter 20

Mr. Raymond lies because he wants people to think that he’s “in the clutches of whiskey” and that’s why he lives like he does (228). Mr. Raymond wants people to believe that he cannot change his ways and that is why he lives the way he does. My friend and I were playing around with a football at this field and there were houses behind us. He threw the football and it hit the neighbor’s window and broke it. I didn’t want my friend to get in trouble because he rarely came over to play. I told the neighbor that I was the one who threw the ball. I ended up paying for the window to be fixed, but I think my friend appreciated what I did.

Chapter 21-23

It seemed like the black community was very unhappy and sad with the result. Bob Ewell was probably satisfied with the verdict but was still fuming because of how Atticus was talking to him at the trial. Jem was crying and said after the trial “It ain’t right, Atticus” while they were walking back home (242). However, when this happened, I wasn’t really surprised at all. Most of the town hated that Atticus was defending Tom Robinson and really wanted him to lose. This meant that the jury was probably biased towards the prejudice of the time and was going to declare Tom Robinson guilty no matter what. Even though it seemed like Atticus won the hearing, he doesn’t have any control over what the jury decides.

Chapter 24-25

Tom was shot during their “exercise period” while he was running (268). He started to charge to the fence to climb over and be free. The guards shoot in the air a few times as a warning, then they start to shoot Tom. They said that if both of his arms were functional, he would’ve gotten away. Mr. Underwood thought “it was a sin to kill cripples” no matter what position they are in. This is symbolic because it relates to the statement that Atticus made a while back in the story when he said, “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (103). If you connect these two statements, you can clearly see that Tom Robinson is the mockingbird in this story. He was innocent and did nothing wrong, but he was still denied justice in a court of law and was killed when he tried to escape. He was crippled and harmless there was no reason at all to shoot him. This is another demonstration of racism in this story.

Chapter 24-26

Earlier in the story Atticus told Scout “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view,” which taught Scout the importance of being patient with other people and learning that some people do things because they don’t know any better (33). She learns bravery from her father because he chose to defend Tom Robinson even though he knew that he and his children would face severe backlash from the town. However, Atticus knew that this is the right thing to do and that he was going to do it no matter the repercussions that follow

Chapter 26

Miss Gates told her class about how much she hated Hitler and how he was persecuting the Jews. The irony about this is that after the trial of Tom Robinson, Scout heard Miss Gates tell Miss Stephanie Crawford that “it’s time somebody taught ‘em a lesson” (283). She was mad about how Hitler was treating the Jews, but she was discriminating against a group of people in her own town. It shows that people do know about discrimination against any group of people, but when they’re discriminating in their own town, they for some reason think it’s justified. I think the main principle demonstrated here is having double standards. An example of this in society is saying that gossip, or speaking about people behind their back is bad, but then you gossip yourself. However, this can be applied to many things in society.

Chapter 28

Jem and Scout start to walk home from the Halloween Pageant when Jem starts to hear some rustling behind them. At first, he thinks it was the wind blowing the trees around, but he continues to hear the sounds behind them. He eventually hears the figure start to run towards them. Jem and Scout try to run, but Scout falls, and Jem gets pulled back. Scout hears a crunching sound and then a scream from Jem. She goes to help but sees that the attacker is pulled back. She looks around for Jem but then sees a man walking with Jem in his hands towards her house.

Chapter 30

Atticus thought that Jem killed Bob Ewell and he doesn’t want Jem to be immune to the law. This shows that Atticus thinks that nobody should be protected from the law even if that person is his son. He wants justice to be served to be everybody no matter who they are and how he knows them. However, Heck Tate convinces Atticus that it wasn’t Jem that killed Bob Ewell, and then leaves. Scout then comes to comfort Atticus when he tells her that “Mr. Ewell fell on his knife” (317).

Chapter 31

She gets to look at the neighborhood from Boo Radley’s perspective and finds that she could see most of what was going on in the neighborhood. She also remembers all the gifts Boo Radley put in the tree for Jem and Scout to take. She then realizes that she and Jem didn’t give any gifts to Boo Radley in return, which makes her feel “sad” (320). This is where Scout learns the importance and the reality of the statement Atticus mentioned to her in the beginning of the book telling her not to judge anyone till you get in their shoes.

Chapter 28-31

After reading the book, I realize that the first 2 paragraphs of chapter 1 were describing the incident that happened when Jem and Scout were walking home from the Halloween Pageant. The attack committed by Bob Ewell on Jem and Scout occurred in chapters 28-31, where Jem “got his arm badly broken at the elbow” by Bob Ewell (3).

Cite this page

To Kill A Mockingbird Summary. (2021, Feb 18). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird-summary-essay

To Kill A Mockingbird Summary

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