December 4

“You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. “

Tonight, after you have re-read chapters 8-9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, please respond on our blog:

  • What passage or passages strike you as interesting or singular and why?
  • What questions do you want to discuss with the class?
  • Why do you think these questions may generate interesting discussion?
  • Remember, a good discussion question does not have a single answer.  Good questions lead to interesting conversations.

Also remember to:

  • Make sure that you read all or some of your classmates posts and comment on at least one other post in this thread.
  • Annotate!  Annotate!  Annotate!  Use post-it notes to mark important passages and to write two or three discussion questions to direct our discussion tomorrow.  Remember!  Everyone must participate.
Mockingbird blog #3


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Posted December 4, 2018 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

37 thoughts on ““You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. “

  1. Myles Ng

    “The world’s endin‘, Atticus! Please do something — !” I dragged him to the window and pointed.
    “No it’s not,” he said. “It’s snowing.”

    This paragraph does not strike me as interesting but more as a good, information filled one. This gives a very good description of the setting how the people of the town are not used to getting snow so this means that they are in a very far south state. The fact that Scout believes the world is ending due to some falling snow, given she did not know what it was, shows that she is very naive and does not rationalize. This paragraph both gives description of Scout’s character and the setting.

    Reply
    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree, this does provide a good example of how Scout is very naïve. Especially because she’s so young, many things that are not very big of a deal seem like one.

      Reply
  2. Emily

    “Atticus, are we going to win it?”
    “No, honey.”
    “Then why-”
    “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win,” Atticus said (p. 101).

    In this scene Atticus is telling Scout about the new case that he was assigned to, defending Tom Robinson, and the controversy surrounding it. Numerous people have told Scout that her father should not be defending him, for the sole reason of his race, and Atticus is one of the few people who actually have legitimate reason backing up his opinion. This particular passage interesting because it brings to light a new and intriguing way of thinking. When Atticus says, “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win” I had to pause and try and figure out what he meant by it. It is a particularly thought provoking statement and that shows how Atticus has a different outlook on life. Most people would just say that you should always try your best and that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. However, Atticus on the other hand, acknowledges that their will always be a loser, but that does not mean that one can not gain anything from the loss. Lee includes a small detail such as this in order to portray a deeper and more meaningful message to the readers. In a couple of small sentences, she alludes to the theme of morals, in particular Atticus’s morals.

    Reply
    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I totally agree with you that this is something to think about and when I first read this conversation I had to think about what it meant before I could truly understand what Lee was trying to portray

      Reply
  3. Laila Sayegh

    “When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.”

    In this scene, Atticus speaks to Uncle Jack about the mind of a child, in this case, Scout. Atticus explains to Uncle Jack that children can easily tell when an adult is lying to them, even better than most adults. This is so interesting because I definitely agree with Atticus. When reading a book from the perspective of someone as young as Scout, it is sometimes shocking to see how they think and how much awareness they have of what is going on. In several scenes throughout the novel so far we have been able to see many signs of intelligence from Scout that not many people her age posses. Even in the last sentence of chapter nine Scout says, “it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” This makes me wonder, how will Scout’s perspective of the world change as she gets older and what she will begin to realize?

    Reply
  4. Emma Garbowitz

    “Cecil Jacob’s never let me forget. He had announced in the schoolyard the day before that Scout Finch’s daddy defended niggers. I denied it, but told Jem . . . ‘Do you defend niggers Atticus?’ I asked him that evening.’ ‘Of course I do. Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.'”

    This specific scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird” really caught my eye. During this scene, Scout is being called out on the schoolyard for her father defending “niggers” and she denies it. However, after she asks Atticus whether it’s true or not, he indeed says it is. Atticus has been assigned to a case in which he has to defend a black man, Tom Robinson. This specific case has caused many issues for both Atticus and his family. However, he is still sticking with it, even with the mindset he will lose.
    I found this specific scene interesting because it really shows how Atticus isn’t just like everyone else. Throughout this time period, people despised the negros and referred to them as the not so nice term, “niggers”. However, Atticus can look past this and doesn’t go along with what everyone else is saying or thinking, no matter what they are calling him. He even tells Scout himself not to call them “niggers” because it is rude to say that. Atticus is doing the right thing by sticking up for the negros in the community, which is a very brave thing for him to do. Just by defending Tom Robinson’s case, Atticus could be hated upon and who knows what could possibly happen to him.
    I wonder why everyone in this town hates black people anyway. It’s not like they are so different from everyone just because they have different colored skin. It is not right for these people to be racist towards them and cause all this trouble in their lives. Later in this specific scene, Atticus was telling Scout that there is no possible way that he can win this case, not only for himself but for Tom Robinson as well. Could this reason just be because the man is black? It is very wrong and unfair for him to not have a chance to win this case because Tom is black. Everyone should have the same rights no matter what color skin, hair, or eyes you have, All people should be treated with equality and the same amount of respect. Therefore, I found this scene very interesting and it stuck out to me in many different ways.

    Reply
  5. Kate

    “I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” (p. 117)

    This passage truly intrigues me for many reasons. One being that Scout reveals narrative Scout. Usually in the book, Scout tells the story and what she was feeling in that time, yet in this particular scene, Scout reveals that she is an older and smarter Scout although the story is told in past tense. Connected to that, this scene reveals foreshadowing. I think that something will happen with Atticus’s case and it will affect the family, especially Scout since Atticus was worried more about her than Jem, and their “reputation”. On top of the foreshadowing used, this scene reveals more of Atticus’s morals. As we know, Atticus allowed Scout to listen in, revealing that what he was saying was important. Although the town thought that by standing up for a black person was considered wrong at that time, Atticus knew that in his heart it was the right thing to do and wanted Scout to see that too and not listen to anyone, even though she realized years later what he was saying. This passage showed us how good-natured Atticus is by saying how he does not care about his family’s reputation or what will happen to them, he wants to do good and help the right people. This passage reveals a lot of important points in the book.

    Reply
    1. Sophie

      I agree that it revealed more about Atticus’ character. It was very kind of him to defend the black person, even if he knew he wouldn’t win.

      Reply
      1. MadiR

        I like how you included that Scout was telling the story in a older version of herself. I agree that this now leads to foreshadowing and this passage definitely reveals more about Atticus’ character.

        Reply
  6. Sophie

    “You’re right. We’d better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.”
    “Thank who?” I asked
    “Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you.” (p.96)

    The Radleys certainly seem to be characters of interest throughout these first few chapters. They’ve greatly entertained Scout and Jem, for many leisurely games had been made up about them. Also Scout, Jem, and Dill were frightened by seeing Mr. Radleys shadow and the shotguns fired after it. So far, the Radleys have not been given the best reputation but I predict that Boo Radley is going to be an important character to the rest of the story. We’ve found out in these chapters that Boo seems to have a very kind heart. It turns out that it was him who left the mended pants and the presents, and now he generously gave Scout a blanket in the cold weather. I think it is foreshadowing that the blanket was draped upon Scout herself, as to maybe Boo is going to benefit her life even more in the future, perhaps with greater acts of kindness besides a single blanket.

    Reply
    1. Hannah Pitkofsky

      I agree with your thinking. I also agree that Boo has a kind heart, yet he has been labeled for reasons beyond his control.

      Reply
  7. Sunna

    “I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” (page 117)

    This paragraph showed the reader more about Atticus and Scout. For one thing, we saw a glimpse of Scout’s future since she referred to her older self in the last sentence. Furthermore, Atticus clearly wants to teach something to Scout by having her listen to that conversation. Perhaps he wants her to understand what it means to treat everyone equally and to never give up on them, no matter how hopeless it seems. He may also want her to understand the situation better so that she wouldn’t lose her temper when people made fun of her or Atticus. He clearly feels that this is extremely important for Scout to understand, and may be foreshadowing for the rest of the book.

    Reply
    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I agree with your analysis. This last sentence shows that Scout is looking back on her childhood with the realization that her father intended for her to overhear his conversation. I agree, I think he does want her to know to treat every individual equally regardless of the color of their skin. I really like what you said about never giving up hope on someone!!

      Reply
  8. janem

    “Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they’re not attracting attention with it. Hotheadedness isn’t.” (p. 116)

    This small but significant quote stuck out to me. Most of Scout’s family thinks that Atticus isn’t a good parent and lets his children run wild. But in this quote, he is able to explain a very important point to Uncle Jack. Uncle Jack has no children, and doesn’t know how to discipline them. He is furious with Scout for cussing and spanks her. But Atticus, a pretty calm character so far, is able to show him that it is important not to worry about every little thing a child does. Children make many mistakes learning how to be adults, and Atticus is able to show Jack that foul language will change with time, because Scout will learn that there is no good to cussing. But he realizes that the important lesson learned from Scout’s Christmas fight is that she will never get better at controlling her emotions if she solves every problem with her fists. Atticus tells Uncle Jack not to fuss on her language, but that they should teach her to talk out her feelings, not fight anyone that contradicts them.

    Reply
  9. Mikayla Friedman

    “‘. . . I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand . . . I just hope that Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town. I hope they trust me enough. . . “ (p. 117)

    In this passage Atticus is having a conversation with his brother Jack. They are discussing children, specifically Scout, and Atticus is telling Jack about the case he is currently working on. Atticus is defending a black man, Tom Robinson, in court. In response to defending a black man, the town, and Atticus’s family call him “a nigger lover” and other degrading phrases about himself and black people in general. Here, Atticus is telling Jack about his fears of Jem and Scout being negatively impacted by his case. He is also afraid that Jem and Scout will listen to the town gossip, and therefore be unable to form their own opinions about how black people should be treated. Atticus does not want his children to base their ideas about life on those of the town, he wants them to come to him for information and advice. In doing so, he hopes they will be more educated, and won’t judge people based on what color skin they have. I believe Atticus is right in having this fear. No parent wants their child to have twisted and backwards opinions, especially if they are the town’s beliefs and not their own. Atticus hopes his children trust him enough to come to him when they seek answers and advice.

    This passage is interesting and important because it gives the reader insight into Atticus’s character and thoughts. By having Atticus have a conversation with Jack, Harper Lee is ingeniously conveying Atticus’s morals to the reader. Therefore, the reader knows what fears are in Atticus’s mind about how his children will grow up. A question I would like to pose is: Later in the novel, will Scout and Jem turn to their father about issues involving equality, or will they form their opinions based on those of the town? I hope they do turn to Atticus for advice, since his way of seeing things is reasonable, and in my opinion right, while the town might be spreading backward ideas.

    Reply
    1. Zoe

      I agree that Atticus might be afraid that Scout could fall in with the crowd and believe the same thing that really isn’t true. This definitely refers also to Maycomb’s disease which could be spreading “backward ideas”. Great analysis!!

      Reply
  10. Zoe

    “You know what’s going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual disease. “

    This passage that you used on the top was actually the most fascinating to me because of the last words Atticus says. He says, “without catching Maycomb”s usual disease.” This seemed important to me because it describes the town of Maycomb in a way that hasn’t been seen before and shows the reader a new side of the town. Since this quote is referring to Atticus’s case to defend Tom Robinson, I assume that he is talking about how the town is coming to conclusions without proof or even hearing the court case and deciding Tom is a criminal. He is already hated and I believe Atticus is saying he doesn’t want Jem and Scout to catch this “disease” as well, which could refer to everyone hating you. Besides the diseased part in the quote, Atticus also says “usual” to refer to the disease, which made me think this could have happened before to him or someone he knew. Since he is a lawyer, it’s easy for people to turn on him based on which side he is defending. Overall, it seems like Atticus is familiar with this idea of the harmful and hateful disease and it seems important for the rest of the story.

    Reply
  11. Hannah Pitkofsky

    “You’re right. We’d better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.”
    “Thank who?” I asked.
    “Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you.” (pg. 96)

    This paragraph is important to the character of Boo Radley. He is mysterious, yet misunderstood because he is a genuinely kind person, however, he has been labeled by the town to be gross and a mean person, when he truly isn’t like that at all. When you take a close look at Boo’s character, you see that he is not as mean as people have labeled him to be.

    Reply
  12. Casey

    “But the only time I ever heard Atticus speak sharply to anyone was when I once heard him say, “Sister, I do the best I can with them!” It had something to do with my going around in overalls.
    Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants.”

    This passage from chapter 9 stuck out to me for a couple of reasons. First of all this is the first time we’ve seen Atticus get very angry at another person. It was around the holidays so there was a lot of family coming to visit. Scout makes it clear that she hated most of the people there. In this scene, she was listening to a conversation between her aunt and Atticus. Aunt Alexandra insults Atticus about how he parents his children. Aunt Alexandra believes that Scout should be wearing dresses rather than her usual overalls. Atticus gets very defensive, which proves how protective he is as a father. Second, this scene shows how prevalent stereotypes were at the time of this novel. When Aunt Alexandra confronts Scout about wearing pants rather than skirts and doing things that require pants, Scout saw nothing wrong.. On the other hand, her aunt began to lecture her about how she needed to be playing with pretend-cooking toys and wearing necklaces. This is when Scout realizes how many stereotypes she is expected to live up to from people outside her neighborhood

    Reply
  13. Hannah M.

    The chapters I read tonight in To Kill A Mockingbird are packed with interesting events. Events such as Scout seeing snow for the first time, watching a house burn and then to Christmas day! The event that I find as the strangest is when Scout suddenly wakes up wrapped in a cozy blanket in the freezing cold. Scout watches as Miss Maudie’s house burn to the ground. What a frightning thing to witness at that age. Anyways, Atticus made the assumption that Boo Radley was the one who put the blanket on Scout to keep her from freezing. Scout was so mesmerised by the fire that she hadn’t taken any notice to Boo Radley. When Scout finds out that Boo put the blanket on her, instead of being grateful she felt like she was gonna barf and she was disgusted. Everyone thinks that Boo is a freak but this kind action showed that he is nice and caring. We also learn through Jem that Boo was also the one that put the presents in the tree for Scout and Jem!

    Reply
  14. MadiR

    “Atticus strolled over to Miss Maudie’s sidewalk, where they engaged in an arm- waving conversation, the only phrase of which I caught was “…erected an absolute morphodite in that yard! Atticus, you’ll never raise ‘em!”(pp.90-91)
    “You mean the morphodite?” I asked. “Shoot, we can rake him up in a jiffy.”
    Miss Maudie stared down at me, her lips moving silently. Suddenly she put her hands to her head and whooped. When we left her, she was still chuckling. Jem said he didn’t know what was the matter with her—that was just Miss Maudie.”(p.98)
    These two passages in the novel peaked my interest when I noticed that the same word was repeated. In the first passage, Scout over hears her father and Miss Maudie talking about her snow man or “morphodite”. Then later in the chapter Scout uses the word she had heard Miss. Maudie call the snowman, “morphodite”. This is significant, because Lee is showing the reader how children are impressionable as they repeat what they learn or hear from others especially the older people they are surrounded by. It is similar to when Cecil Jacob repeats what he heard his parents say about Atticus.

    Reply
  15. stephaniec

    “Jim and I always thought it funny when Uncle Jack pecked Atticus on the cheek; they were the only two men we ever saw kiss each other.”(p.103)

    From the chapters I read tonight, this particular scene stuck out to me. Although, this scene was short and did not contribute to the plot of the story, it held significance to the time period and setting of the novel. So far, race seems to be a popular theme in this novel. But, in this case, Harper Lee provided another difference that set people apart in this time period. Even though it was only two family members of the same sex kissing on the cheek, the part when Scout mentions “they were the only two men we ever saw kiss each other.”, deepens our understanding of the setting of the novel and what was going on at the time this novel took place in.

    Reply
  16. johnh1

    Atticus sighed. “I’m simply defending a Negro—his name’s Tom Robinson. He
    lives in that little settlement beyond the town dump. He’s a member of
    Calpurnia’s church, and Cal knows his family well. She says they’re clean-living
    folks. Scout, you aren’t old enough to understand some things yet, but there’s
    been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn’t do much about
    defending this man. It’s a peculiar case—it won’t come to trial until summer
    session. John Taylor was kind enough to give us a postponement…”
    This section was important to me because it causes me to see Atticus very highly. In this section he talks about a Black Man. This might be the first time in the book when someone doesn’t treat African Americans as less than them or refer to them by means of a racial slur. Atticus is not a civil rights activist or super progressive in any way but he certainly is a good man who is definitely more honorable than many in the town.

    Reply
    1. angelicac1

      I agree that he is more honorable than many in the town. When Atticus simply defended the man, his action was thought of as unacceptable when it really wasn’t.

      Reply
  17. Brishti Sarkar

    “… I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life. I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I was born good but grown progressively worse each year. She hurt my feelings and set my teeth permanently on edge, but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go on about my business, he didn’t mind me much the way I was.” (p. 108)

    This passage striked me as interesting because it showed how rude everyone was to Scout, except Atticus. This passage, along with countless others, shows how accepting and wise Atticus is. While Aunt Alexandra judges Scout for wearing overalls and not acting as much like a girl, Atticus is fine with whoever Scout chooses to be, as long as she is not being rude. Many of the other family members judge Atticus for letting Scout and Jem act out, but this proves that he does not believe in social construct or gender roles. While it may seem small, it proves how much wiser he is, and lets his children have liberty with their lives, unless they start being a bad person. In fact, he never hit Scout or Jem, but rather gets them to behave with a warning. That shows how unlike most parents, he believes that communication can discipline your child better than any physical infliction. While this may have to do with him being a lawyer, he is shown to be a wise parental figure who persists with what he does, even if people judge him for it.

    Reply
  18. angelicac1

    “I scurried to my room and went to bed. Uncle Jack was a prince of a fellow not to let me down. But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” (p. 117)

    As it did for many others, this passage caught my attention because of the foreshadowing revealed from it. I’m predicting that something involving Atticus’s case will occur and it will majorly impact Scout and her family. It was stated that Scout found out that Atticus allowed her to eavesdrop on his conversation. If Atticus secretly allowed Scout to listen then that means that what he said was information that was really significant and notable. Atticus wanted Scout to learn that standing up to the black person was the right thing to do although everyone thought that is was unacceptable. He wanted Scout to learn that she should follow whatever she tells herself and to not listen to those who tell her how to act.

    Reply
    1. trinityt

      I agreed! Even though Atticus knew Scout was eavesdropping on his conversation with Uncle Jack, he stills let her listens. He wanted Scout to hear his words, and therefore his words were important. This foreshadows that something is going to happen.

      Reply
  19. trinityt

    “‘You’re right. We’d better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.’Thank who?’ I asked. ‘Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn’t know it when he put the blanket around you.'” (p.96).

    This passage is significant because it shows what the character of Boo Radley is really like. Boo Radley was actually misunderstood by the town’s people. The people in the town labeled Boo Radley as this scary, crazy, bad person. However, he is a kind person and has no intentions of hurting anyone. If he wanted to kill people, then he could have done it to Scout while she was looking at the fire and doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on behind her, but he didn’t. Instead, he placed a blanket around her to help her stay warm because she was shivering while standing outside in the cold watching the fire. This proves that the town’s people’s assumptions of Boo Radley is wrong. He is mysterious, but that does not mean that he has ill intentions.

    Reply
  20. Maddie

    “‘The world’s endin’, Atticus! Please do something–!’ I dragged him to the window and pointed.”

    This passage is important because it is the first time that Jem and Scout see snow. Usually children can’t wait for it to start snowing in the winter so they can go outside and play in it.In Jem and Scout’s lives, however, they have never seen snow. It was the first snow in Maycomb County since 1885. I wonder what life would be like for us if we saw snow for the first time. This may generate discussion in class to see what other people’s reaction would have been in their situation.

    Reply
  21. josepha4

    “This time I split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth”(p.112)

    This quote is significant and interesting due to how much the action tells about the character. Throughout the novel Scout has been either excluded or talked down to, because of her gender. Dill and Jem didn’t let her play with them and her own family is telling her she needs to act more “lady like”, by wearing specific attire and acting pleasant. It seems that all the frustration of this stereotypical girl has given Scout lots of pressure and anger . Because Atticus accepts her, he is also getting pressure from family as well. The last straw we see is when Francis insults Scout’s father. Seemingly the only person who accepts Scout fully. This is when Scout snapped and let her anger out with violence. It also seems that it’s a common action for Scout to fight other children, it will probably occur again but with greater consequences. I’m interested in what way Scout’s behavior will affect her.

    Reply
  22. maxwellw

    “…Mr. Nathan put cement in that tree, Atticus, an‘ he did it to stop us findin’ things—he’s crazy, I reckon, like they say, but Atticus, I swear to God he ain’t ever harmed us, he ain’t ever hurt us, he coulda cut my throat from ear to ear that night but he tried to mend my pants instead… he ain’t ever hurt us, Atticus—” (pg.81)

    I find it interesting how even though he was originally portrayed as a freak and a lunatic, Boo Radley continues to gain the sympathy of the children in these chapters. Lee, she hints and implies at what is happening without ever showing the reader directly. The reader must read between the lines—inferring, for instance, that it was Boo Radley who mended Jem’s pants and placed the presents in the tree since Scout does not realize that Boo’s hand is at work until Jem explains things to Atticus after the fire.

    Reply
  23. jaclynl

    “Right. But do you think I could face my children otherwise? You know what’s
    going to happen as well as I do, Jack, and I hope and pray I can get Jem and Scout
    through it without bitterness, and most of all, without catching Maycomb’s usual
    disease.”

    I chose this passage because in these two chapters that we read tonight, a lot is shown about the people of Maycomb and their beliefs. Most, if not all, are quite racist towards colored people, as if it is a disgrace to be acquainted with one. This book takes place back in a time where racism was normal, and those who did not believe in it were frowned upon. This is apparent with Atticus after the news strikes that he is defending a black man, Tom Robinson as part of his job. Soon enough, the whole town finds out and not only Atticus, but Jem and Scout are also treated differently by those around them. The way Atticus is dealing with the talk in town is very mature, since he is not doing much to fight back. He also encourages Scout to the same thing, which turns out being difficult for her. The way in which he reacts to a conflict like this shows a lot about his character. Atticus is very strong, but also puts his values and beliefs before anything else. I can see this topic of racism continuing on as the novel progresses, turning into something to think about later on.

    Reply

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