December 17

As it was we were compelled to hold our heads high and be, respectively, a gentleman and a lady.

Please re-read chapters 24, 25, and 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird.   Then write your response.  Please consider the following questions:

  • What passage or passages strike you as interesting or singular and why?
  • What questions do you want to discuss with the class tomorrow?
  • Why do you think these questions may generate interesting discussion?

Annotate!

Find great passages to discuss in class.

As always be sure to respond to at least one other comment in this thread and proofread your writing for spelling , punctuation, and grammar.

Mockingbird blog #11


Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted December 17, 2018 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

34 thoughts on “As it was we were compelled to hold our heads high and be, respectively, a gentleman and a lady.

  1. Myles Ng

    An inquiring soul in the middle of the room said, “Why don’t they like the Jews, you reckon, Miss Gates?”

    “I don’t know, Henry. They contribute to every society they live in, and most of all, they are a deeply religious people. Hitler’s trying to do away with religion, so maybe he doesn’t like them for that reason.”

    Cecil spoke up. “Well I don’t know for certain,” he said, “they’re supposed to change money or somethin 4 , but that ain’t no cause to persecute ’em. They’re white, ain’t they?”

    Miss Gates said, “When you get to high school, Cecil, you’ll learn that the Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history, even driven out of their own country. It’s one of the most terrible stories in history. Time for arithmetic, children.”

    This paragraph interested me because they are talking about the persecution of Jews as different than the enslavement of African Americans. Henry even says the Jews are white so they shouldn’t be persecuted. Well its wrong to persecute whites but not blacks? This just shows how racist the town of Maycomb really is. Hitler persecuted people who were Jews, America persecuted those with a different skin color. These are almost the same things and they should not be looked at any different. Hitler was stopped so fast, so why wasn’t this stopped as fast?

    Reply
  2. janem

    “Miss Maudie’s Hans closed tightly on mine, and I said nothing. It’s warmth was enough.” (p. 308)

    Throughout the novel, Miss Maudie has been a significant figure in Scout’s life. Her mother died when she was young, so Scout has struggled with her feministic qualities. She would much rather wear pants and fist fight with Jem than have tea in a starched dress. When Aunt Alexandra invited Scout for refreshments, Scout immediately took shelter by Miss Maudie. She was there to help Scout answer questions since she didn’t know what to say. As the novel continues, Scout continues to grow closer to Miss Maudie. She is a significant motherly figure in Scout’s life. Scout is comforted by her, especially in an unusual environment, such as Aunt Alexandra’s gatherings. Her warmth helped Scout feel protected, and is there for Scout like a mother would be.

    Reply
    1. Kate Ma.

      I agree with your in which Miss. Maudie is a motherly figure in Scout’s life and she accepts Scout for being who she is.

      Reply
      1. Emma Garbowitz

        I agree that Miss Maudie seems to comfort Scout and is a key individual in Scouts life and is part of the reason why she has such good beliefs and hope.

        Reply
  3. Kate Ma.

    We said it. Then Miss Gates said, “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 passage interested me because it talks about prejudice and how it happens to many people in many different places yet what is so interesting is, Mrs. Gates is almost blind to what her own actions are. She says how “There are no better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn’t think so is a mystery to me.” yet she continues to persecute the blacks based on their race as Scout pointed out to Jem. What really interested me is that the teachers have no problem clearly stating that in the US there is no persecution, yet it’s so obviously there. Also how the whites believe the persecution Hitler was doing to the Jews, stands out to them how bad it is, but they don’t see they’re own persecution not only towards blacks, but to lower whites too. Maybe because the Jews are white, and that’s why they see how wrong it is? This passage really did intrigue me because of how bluntly the schooling system points out racism or persecution yet they don’t do anything about it. They say it’s terrible what Hitler is doing, yet they treat the black people with the same disgust and won’t say anything.

    Reply
  4. Emily

    “Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed.”

    In this scene Scout finally realizes that the jury was biased and that Tom Robinson did not ever have a real chance at being declared innocent. This is particularly intriguing because although the readers knew that it was going to be very difficult for Tom to win and that the chances were very slim, this makes it seem as if the verdict was going to be guilty before the trial even started. Lee included this scene because it signifies a loss of innocence in Scout. Before, Scout had always believed the best in everyone and she would never think to assume something about someone. However, now that she is older she realizes that their are always going to be people in the world who will defy all reason and never even think about saying that they are wrong. Atticus poured all of his heart into this court case, but in the end it was not enough. In the mind of society, a blackman must always be guilty over a white person. Lee is exposing this horrible truth about society and her already powerful message is being exemplified by showing through the perspective of a young child. Scout was innocent but now she is being corrupted by society’s awful prejudices and she is being shown the bad parts of life. Overall, Lee is trying to make the readers feel sympathy for a little girl and in the end force people to change the way that they treat other people.

    Reply
    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree that Harper Lee is showing Scout losing her innocence as she comes to this realization. Just like Jem, she is no longer being protected from reality, but she’s becoming more exposed to it.

      Reply
  5. Laila Sayegh

    “Why couldn’t I mash him?” I asked. “Because they don’t bother you,” Jem answered in the darkness. He had turned out his reading light.

    This passage is so interesting because it relates back to the theme with the mockingbird: if something doesn’t harm you, there is no point in harming it either. Just like the mockingbird, the roly-poly has no harm to anyone or anything. To me, this could be seen as symbolism to the black people in Maycomb county. A majority of the people in Maycomb county are very racist and disrespect anyone who isn’t like them, like the black people. The sad part is, although the black people have done nothing to possibly provoke the white people, they still aren’t treated fairly. Therefore, it is very ironic that people are so concerned with how the innocent animals are treated, yet they don’t even care about actual human beings.

    Reply
    1. Casey

      I agree, it’s interesting how you compared the mockingbird and roll poly to the black people in Maycomb. I wonder what will happen to the people who killed Tom, if it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

      Reply
      1. Zoe

        I think that was really the point of the 3 chapters; to let everyone know who the mockingbird is and have everyone know that it was killed. I think this could potentially be a turning point for Maycomb. Great analysis!

        Reply
  6. Emma Garbowitz

    “I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town. Good but misguided. Folks in this town who think they’re doing right, I mean. Now far be it from me to say who, but some of ’em in this town thought they were doing the right thing a while back, but all they did was stir ’em up. That’s all they did.”

    I agree very strongly with Mrs. Merriweather’s statement. What she is saying about the people in this town is very true. The people in this town were always taught to be against black people. To disregard them and be cruel to them just because they are different. But, Mrs. Merriweather is right because the people in Maycomb don’t know any better. They cannot unlearn what they have been taught. Furthermore, their families and the people around them in Maycomb also set this example for children; this unfair prejudice against black people. These people are all so clueless and unknowingly, they are doing the wrong thing and are hurting others both emotionally and physically. Maybe, if the townsfolk were taught otherwise; to treat people as if we were all the same and be respectful to one another, the town would’ve been a much happier place and everyone could feel safe and welcome.
    When I look at this situation, I think of how Atticus taught his kids compared to the other people in their society. Atticus obviously did something right when raising Scout and Jem because they both seem to understand the severeness of the problem of racism and prejudice. They understand that being rude and cruel to others is wrong because that’s what Atticus taught them. If someone that believed in keeping the blacks separate from the whites and being cruel and rude to them was Jem and Scout’s father, they would’ve grown up being completely different individuals. They would not truly understand the wrongness of their actions and would not have been given wisdom or advice as they are given by Atticus. I think that based on who you were raised by and based on the people you were raised around shapes you into the person you are. You will learn different things from the people you make contact with everyday, it just depends who it is. You may learn either good, bad or even both from your surroundings and the people involved in your life. But, these people shape the way you look at the world and effect the choices you make every minute of the day.

    Reply
  7. Casey

    “We said it. Then Miss Gates said, “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.”

    This passage stood out to me because of how ironic it was. In her class, Scout is being taught about Hitler and the difference between democracy and dictatorship. Miss Gates says that there is no prejudice here in America. Although America is definitely not a dictatorship, it isn’t exactly a place without prejudice either. With the conflict between Tom Robison and the Ewells, it’s very clear that there is prejudice. Almost everyone in the town of Maycomb has a strong opinion of the the black people in their neighborhood. Most of them believe that they are all terrible people, which is why Tom Robinson was killed for being an innocent, black man. Scout, being so young is almost immune to the prejudice around her. She can see the grey between black and white. Scout obviously know that she does live in a world full of prejudice and hate, yet choses to ignore it and creates her own opinions.

    Reply
    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I completely agree, and I think Harper Lee was almost poking fun at the prejudices of America to show how silly they are by having this scene. Miss Gates can’t fathom why Germany hates Jews, while I can’t fathom why America hates black people. This is what Harper Lee wanted readers to see, the ridiculousness of America’s prejudice.

      Reply
  8. Zoe

    Cecil spoke up. “Well I don’t know for certain,” he said, “they’re supposed to change money or somethin 4 , but that ain’t no cause to persecute ’em. They’re white, ain’t they?”

    Miss Gates said, “When you get to high school, Cecil, you’ll learn that the Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of history, even driven out of their own country. It’s one of the most terrible stories in history. Time for arithmetic, children.”

    These paragraphs interested me because it showed what Maycomb really was. It really interested me when Cecil asked, “They’re white, ain’t they?” This clearly shows that everyone in Maycomb has affected their child negatively by teaching them that the color of their skin is incredibly important. It also shows that people can look at the prejudice against Jews and clearly see that it is wrong, yet they can’t see what their doing against black people is bad. The teacher could clearly see that the child was comparing prejudice of Jews to prejudice of black people and how their both bad. It really shows how blind the people of Maycomb are. These chapters were incredibly sad but important and I hope the next ones could resolve any problems that arose.

    Reply
  9. Mikayla Friedman

    “Mr. Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children. . . ” (p. 323)

    This passage stood out to me because it clearly restates “it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Here, Mr. Underwood compares Tom’s death to the killing of songbirds, and a mockingbird is a songbird. This is important to understand why the title of the novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” especially because Lee only mentions it a few times during the novel. In addition, we see a different side of Underwood. He was previously known for hating African Americans. Atticus says, “‘You know, it’s a funny thing about Braxton,’ said Atticus. ‘He despises Negroes, won’t have one near him.'” However, we now know Underwood thought Tom Robinson deserved to have a fair trial, despite him being black. The quote says Underwood saw killing crippled people as a sin because they are defenseless. Tom doesn’t have part of his arm, and therefore Underwood considers him crippled. Underwood then compared his death to the slaughter of a songbird for no apparent reason. I think in this metaphor Underwood is trying to say that songbirds bring no harm to the world, they only provide happiness. I think he might be saying the same of black people, in which case he has come a long way in his morals. I might be overestimating Mr. Underwood’s opinions, but in any case, he certainly thought Tom didn’t deserve the trial or death that he had.

    The killing of the mockingbird symbolizes killing something that is innocent. By comparing Tom’s death to that of a mockingbird, Underwood is saying that an innocent man was killed. This is an interesting idea/motif to keep in mind as we finish the novel, and I think the symbol of the mockingbird and how it relates to the loss of innocence of Jem and Scout and the killing of Tom Robinson would be an interesting class discussion.

    Reply
  10. MadiR

    Oh, yes, the guards called to him to stop. They fired a few shots in the air, then to kill. They got him just as he went over the fence. They said if he’d had two good arms he’d have made it, he was moving that fast. Seventeen bullet holes in him. They didn’t have to shoot him that much.

    This passage is very interesting because it can be viewed in different ways. The reader could conclude that the 17 bullet holes are symbolic or the reader could decide that the number seems to reflect the exaggerated measures taken by the prison guards who shot tom. The 17 bullet holes could be symbolic for the idea of loss of trust of the justice system. He was shot because he lost trust that white people could get him freed from the “crime” he did not do. Another, way you could look at the passage is that even though the guards supposedly shot warning shots as Tom tried to make his escape, the guards definitely used excessive force once Tom made it to the fence.

    Reply
  11. Sophie

    “Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an‘ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home—” (p. 331)

    In chapter 26, Scout developed a greater understanding of the prejudices in Maycomb. After Miss Gates gave her the lesson about the holocaust and Hitler, Scout was deeply confused about how somebody can hate a man for his discrimination, yet go about their own daily life with discriminating actions as well. This shows a lot of maturity and growth from Scout. Even though in some ways we can see her childhood innocence, this example showed how she is slowly growing out of her child-like mind and is understanding some of the real social problems not only in Maycomb but the rest of the world too.

    Reply
    1. Brishti Sarkar

      I agree, and I found it interesting how you compared the innocence she has to her maturity, and I think it shows how in some ways, children could be wiser than adults because of this reason.

      Reply
    2. trinityt

      I agreed that Scout is growing up and is starting to have her own thoughts and forms her own opinions on things going on around her.

      Reply
  12. Brishti Sarkar

    “Maycomb was interested by the news of Tom’s death for perhaps two days; two
    days was enough for the information to spread through the county. “Did you hear about?… No? Well, they say he was runnin‘ fit to beat lightnin’…” To Maycomb,Tom’s death was typical. Typical of a nigger to cut and run. Typical of a nigger’s mentality to have no plan, no thought for the future, just run blind first chance he saw. Funny thing, Atticus Finch might’ve got him off scot free, but wait—? Hell no. You know how they are. Easy come, easy go. Just shows you, that Robinson boy was legally married, they say he kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer’s mighty thin. Nigger always comes out in ‘em.” (p. 322)

    I found this passage interesting because it shows just how racist Maycomb is. Naturally, the whole town is interested with Tom Robinson’s death, but they are especially rude when talking about it. They talk about how it was “typical of a nigger” to do the horrible things they talked about. Not only are they stereotyping, but they are also blaming him, an innocent man, for dying. Instead of realizing that the police shot him 17 times, they blame Tom Robinson for dying. Furthermore, it would be hypocritical if they did not say this whenever a white man dies. If this were a white man instead of a black man, the people in Maycomb would most likely be mourning. This can also be connected back to Boo Radley. The convictions like these are what make people like Boo Radley afraid of coming out to the world. People like Boo Radley are scared of judgement from everyone, and Tom Robinson’s death only proves this further. Instead of getting the respect he deserved, Tom Robinson was shamed for wanting freedom, and shamed for losing his life, all because he had a darker shade of his skin.

    Reply
  13. Sunna

    “I tell you there are some good but misguided people in this town. Good but misguided. Folks in this town who think they’re doing right, I mean. Now far be it from me to say who, but some of ’em in this town thought they were doing the right thing a while back, but all they did was stir ’em up. That’s all they did.”

    I disagree with this statement. Many of the people who behave this way are adults. They have no excuses for being racist instead of opening their minds. They are not good people if they can discriminate against people, and they are a lot more than misguided. They are adults and can make their own decisions. They don’t deserve excuses.

    Reply
  14. Hannah M.

    “Because they don’t bother you,” Jem answered in the darkness. (pp. 320)
    This passage portrays a repetitive theme in the novel. Atticus believes that killing a mockingbird is a sin because all they do is give us music, and they don’t bother us in any way. In relation, the roly poly entertained Scout, since she enjoyed watching it unravel and curl up. Killing the rolly polly stands as a symbol that it’s just as bad as killing a mockingbird, since it didn’t disturb her at all, it just entertained and amused her. The fact that Jem stopped Scout from killing the bug shows how he is maturing, and reflects on the fact that he is growing up and turning out to be like his father. This passage also makes me think about all the innocent beings that had been killed in the novel so far. The mad dog was shot because it posed a threat, although it hadn’t done anything, and Tom Robinson was killed after being convicted for doing something he did not do. I believe that the trial is helping Jem and Scout to better understand that justice must be served, and that someone innocent, no matter the color of their skin, should not be punished. Also, it is showing Jem and Scout the real Maycomb County and its like they’re Scout and Jem’s innocence.

    Reply
  15. Hannah M.

    *the quote is:
    “Why couldn’t I mash him?” I asked.
    “Because they don’t bother you,” Jem answered in the darkness. (pp. 320)

    Sorry didn’t do the full quote on my blog

    Reply
  16. stephaniec

    “We said it. Then Miss Gates said, “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.”(p. 329)

    This passage stood out to me because it makes fun of the people of Macomb, specifically Miss Gates. Miss Gates stated that Hitler’s actions towards Jew’s are awful. This is ironic because most people in Maycomb have very strong prejudices for African-Americans. I think Harper Lee put this in the novel to emphasize how oblivious some of the character are in the novel. Even though I think Miss Gates was telling the truth when she said Hitler’s actions are unjust, I don’t think she realizes that the racist people of Macomb are unjust too.

    Reply
  17. maxwellw

    In the most recent chapters of To Kill a Mocking Bird, Jem embraces his entrance into the adult world, while Scout seems reluctant about it. Jem proudly shows Scout his chest hair as a mark of his emergence into manhood. Scout’s badge of her developing womanhood, the dress that she wears to the missionary circle meeting, doesn’t suit her; she wears her usual tomboy trousers underneath. Additionally, whereas Jem intently discusses aspects of the complicated legal system with Atticus, Miss Stephanie teases the young Scout about growing up to be a lawyer. This difference in maturity between Jem and Scout manifests itself in the incident with the roly-poly bug. Wishing to withdraw back into the childhood world of actions without abstract significance, Scout moves to crush the bug. Jem, now sensitive to the vulnerability of those who are oppressed, urges her to leave the defenseless bug alone.

    Reply
    1. josepha4

      You have great symbolism noticing the bug to be a “person without a voice” and having Jem stop her and think of what she’s doing, better to spare a life than to end one

      Reply
  18. josepha4

    “Maycomb was interested in the news of Tom’s death for about two days…that Robinson boy was legally married, kept himself clean, went to church and all that, but when it comes down to the line the veneer’s mighty thin. N****r always comes out in “em”.

    This passage was interesting because nobody in this time period would have the audacity to say such a cruel and stereotypical sentence and get away with it. Now this is important because it also gives us a little bit clearer view into what is acceptable during that time, and it seems you can say anything against a black man and get away with it. We have seen it in the trial and now in this disgusting statement. Also, the Maycomb residents are more interested in the daring escape of Tom rather than the fact that he was shot an enormous amount of times. Not many humans can be shot once or twice and live but to be shot 17 times seems as if they were just using him as target practice. It is the statements and actions like these that inspire people like Atticus to stand up for the people who have no voice and lead by example. Tom was an innocent man accused of an obvious fake attack and still lost due to the color of his skin. He was proven guilty by an unfit jury and wrongfully murdered by white men with guns just like so many others like him. This loss for Maycomb’s black community and Atticus will hopefully inspire some more boundary breaking ideas and lead to an end to racsim.

    Reply
  19. trinityt

    “She hates Hitler a lot…”
    “What’s wrong with that?”
    “Well, she went on today about how bad it was him treatin’ the Jews like that. Jem, it’s not right to persecute anybody, is it? I mean have mean thoughts about anybody, even, is it?”
    “Gracious no, Scout. What’s eatin’ you?”
    “…I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home-” (pp.330-331).

    This part is important to me because it shows how, once again, racist Maycomb is, and the fact that Scout is growing up. In chapter 26, there was a scene when Scout was at school and her teacher was talking about Democracy (USA) and Dictorship (Germany). Her teacher also talked about how Hitler was treating the Jews horribly because of their religion and that it is wrong. This is ironic because it’s similar with how things are in Maycomb. The whites treated the blacks unfairly because of their skin color. However, treating the blacks unfairly because of their skin color doesn’t seem wrong. The reason why the whites sees the Jews getting treated unfairly by Hitler was wrong, and treating the blacks unfairly because of their skin color isn’t wrong was because the Jews was whites. This goes just to show how racist Maycomb is. The whites have their opinions on things/people based on the skin color of someone is wrong as well. In addition, when Scout realized this, it shows that she’s growing up and starting to have her own thoughts and opinions on things going on around her.

    Reply
  20. angelicac1

    “She hates Hitler a lot…”
    “What’s wrong with that?”
    “Well, she went on today about how bad it was him treatin’ the Jews like that. Jem, it’s not right to persecute anybody, is it? I mean have mean thoughts about anybody, even, is it?”
    “Gracious no, Scout. What’s eatin’ you?”
    “…I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin’ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an’ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home-” (pp.330-331).

    Throughout this novel, Scout has been becoming more aware on the topic of racism in Maycomb. She was starting to develop a larger understanding on the problems that Maycomb has and this causes her to open her eyes and view different perspectives. This passage is an example on to how Scout’s maturity is growing and how she’s more open to discuss the seriousness on these problems.

    Reply
  21. Maddie

    “What’s the matter?” Aunt Alexandra asked, alarmed by the look on my father’s face.
    “Tom’s dead.”
    Aunt Alexandra put her hands to her mouth.
    “They shot him,” said Atticus. “He was running. It was during their exercise period. They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over. Right in front of them–”

    This passage is important because we find out that Tom Robinson was shot and killed during his attempted escape from prison. Atticus did all he could to save him at the court case, and when he lost, he vowed to do all he could to free him eventually. Atticus encouraged Tom not to give up hope, but to be strong, and he would get out eventually.

    No matter how hard Atticus tried, there was no way to stop Tom from giving up hope. Tom felt like there was no purpose in waiting, that his only chance to be free was to run away. It was not a smart decision, but it was a risk that Tom thought he had to take.

    Reply
  22. jaclynl

    “We said it. Then Miss Gates said, “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.” (pg. 329)

    In school, Scout it being taught about prejudice against Jews. Miss Gates goes on to say that in America, things are different. This is no prejudice. In many cases, though, Miss Gates is incorrect. Although there isn’t that much prejudice against Jews and other religions in America, people of color are not being treated equally. This can be seen in many cases, especially the trial of Tom Robinson. The fact that many people see that America is prejudice-free shows that they don’t believe there is anything wrong with the way they treat blacks. Most people do not see it as wrong, or unfair, but instead, see it as normal. They may think that prejudice is not right, but do not realize that what they are doing is just as bad.

    Reply

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