December 19

“Besides, nothin’s real scary, except in books.”

Finish the novel!   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?


Find great passages to discuss in class.

Mockingbird blog #13

Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted December 19, 2018 by equinson in category To Kill a Mockingbird

34 thoughts on ““Besides, nothin’s real scary, except in books.”

  1. Myles Ng

    “Well, Heck,” Atticus was saying, “I guess the thing to do—good Lord, I’mlosing my memory…” Atticus pushed up his glasses and pressed his fingers to his eyes. “Jem’s not quite thirteen… no, he’s already thirteen—I can’t remember. Anyway, it’ll come before county court—”
    “What will, Mr. Finch?” Mr. Tate uncrossed his legs and leaned forward.
    “Of course it was clear-cut self defense, but I’ll have to go to the office and huntup—”
    “Mr. Finch, do you think Jem killed Bob Ewell? Do you think that?”
    “You heard what Scout said, there’s no doubt about it. She said Jem got up andyanked him off her—he probably got hold of Ewell’s knife somehow in the dark… we’ll find out tomorrow.”
    “Mis-ter Finch, hold on,” said Mr. Tate. “Jem never stabbed Bob Ewell.”
    Atticus was silent for a moment. He looked at Mr. Tate as if he appreciated what he said. But Atticus shook his head.

    Atticus being a lawyer always looks at the legal side of matters. What surprised me was the fact that he even thought he would have to defend his own son in court. He also seem very stubborn in he fact of how Bob died. If I was in his position I would take the first out in proving he did not kill anyone. I don’t know what motivates him, maybe the fact people will think Jem or Atticus did it to get at Bob for having Tom convicted and basically killed.

    1. Kate Ma.

      I agree with your point on how Atticus really focuses on the legal side of things most likely because he is a lawyer and always bases his arguments off of facts pretty much.

  2. Kate Ma.

    “Heck,” Atticus’s back was turned. “If this thing’s hushed up it’ll be a simple denial to Jem of the way I’ve tried to raise him. Sometimes I think I’m a total failure as a parent, but I’m all they’ve got. Before Jem looks at anyone else he looks at me, and I’ve tried to live so I can look squarely back at him… if I connived at something like this, frankly I couldn’t meet his eye, and the day I can’t do that I’ll know I’ve lost him. I don’t want to lose him and Scout, because they’re all I’ve got.”

    This quote really interested me because Atticus does the abnormal in this situation and cares more about how his kids judge him rather than how his kids are judged. We’re not sure exactly what happened to Mr. Euwell and the knife but I’m assuming that he killed himself, so it’s puzzling to see that Atticus would “blame” it on Jem. I think that Scout and Jem have as much as an influence on Atticus as he does to them. Would Atticus act different if he didn’t have kids? It seems that Atticus reveals that all of his actions are for his kids, and what they will think of him. Atticus is a real firm believer in perspective as he base his decisions off of what his closest family members and others will think. This quote really interests me because in that situation of Bob, anyone would say that he killed himself, yet Atticus says different for the sake of his relationship with Jem and Scout; he really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks he just wants to preserve his relationship with his children, which is really important to him.

    1. Laila Sayegh

      I agree that Atticus values his relationships with his children more than he does with anyone else. He definitely tries to allow himself to see from their perspective.

  3. josepha4

    “You heard what Scout said, there’s no doubt about it. She said Jem got up and yanked him off her-he probably got hold of Ewell’s knife somehow in the dark…we’ll find out tomorrow”

    This passage seems interesting to me because Atticus seems very certain that it was Jem who got hold of the knife and killed Mr. Ewell. I think that Atticus’ motives are to make sure Jem has no guilt whatsoever. He wants everything to be exposed so Jem or anybody else have no suspicions that his dad got him out of jail because he is a lawyer. Later on in the excerpt however Mr.Finch seems equally certain that Jem didn’t kill him. Now for his motive it’s unclear to me why he wouldn’t want to open up every aspect of the case to make sure every fact is checked. The sheriff probably thinks it’s best if Ewell just died as the man who killed himself rather than the man who was killed so he doesn’t get any sympathy from the town he wants the town people to remember his family name as trash.

  4. janem

    “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” (p. 374)

    The novel has had a reoccurring theme of perspective. Atticus has always encouraged Jem and Scout to look at a situation through the eyes of others, whether it be imagining the trial from Tom’s perspective, or sympathizing for the humiliation Mr. Ewell faced. Boo Radley has always entrigued Jem, Scout and Dill because of his mysterious house, and him always staying shut up inside of it. But in this chapter, we are finally able to understand life from Boo’s view. He has watched Jem and Scout grow up, have them tiny things in the tree, gave Scout a blanket during the fire, and fixed Jem’s pants. In a way, Boo might feel partly responsible for the Finch children because he has been there ananymously. Scout walking Boo back to his house made her realize how significant Boo has been during her childhood, and was able to understand his motives a bit. He helped to defend Scout and Jem from Mr. Ewell because he began to care for them after watching them grow up.

    1. MadiR

      I think that Scout finally being able to step in someone else’s shoes and look at the world from their perspective finishes her development in the novel. I agree with you that this passage is one of the most important time where the theme perspective occurs.

  5. Emma Garbowitz

    “An‘ they chased him ’n‘ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an‘ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things… Atticus, he was real nice…”

    I found this quote quite interesting considering that is reminded me of a specific character in the novel because the description of them in this spooky story is close to identical. As soon as I read this, I instantly thought of Boo Radley. Throughout the entire novel, everyone was always afraid of Boo because of all the terrible things they heard about him (although nobody really knew if they were actually true). However, by the end of the novel, the reader can understand that Boo Radley is not a mean guy. He didn’t have to go out of his way to bring Jem to Atticus and save his life. I believe that Boo is just very misunderstood and nobody truly knew them as a person. The description of the person in Atticus’s book is a person who other people claimed did terrible things that were criminal like and were very mean. However, in the end they all understood that none of these things were true and the person ended up being a nice guy. This matches Boo’s story almost identically which is why I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between the two characters. I wonder if Harper Lee made the character seem like Boo purposely or if she just did it coincidentally?

    1. trinityt

      I agreed that Boo Radley is misunderstood by the people of Maycomb. The person in “The Gray Ghost” resembles Boo because both of them was misunderstood by people around them and was accused of doing bad things when they didn’t do it. As it turns out, the person in “The Gray Ghost” and Boo are actually nice people.

    2. angelicac1

      I’ve always thought that Boo was an interesting character and making this connection between Boo and this story definitely makes me want to know if Harper Lee intended to create similarities.

  6. Laila Sayegh

    “if they don’t trust me they won’t trust anybody. Jem and Scout know what happened. If they hear of me saying downtown something different happened — Heck, I won’t have them any more. I can’t live one way in town and another way in my home.”

    All parents and their children should have a sense and comfort between them and this quote just shows how much Atticus values that. Normally, children are afraid of lying to their parents but since Scout and Jem are really all that Atticus has, he is afraid of lying or being dishonest with them. This also shows how Atticus is truly an honest man of his word. He doesn’t want to go around spewing lies because he knows he will feel guilty. He wants his children to trust him one hundred percent and it is very respectable. Unlike many adults, Atticus isn’t looking down on his children, yet sees them equally and knows that they deserve to be treated just like any adult should be. He acknowledges their feelings and intelligence and the fact that he is finding it so crucial to be honest with them is very honorable.

  7. MadiR

    When they finally saw him, why he hadn’t doneany of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . .” His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

    This passage about Scout telling Atticus the events in “The Gray Ghost” concludes Harper Lee’s novel. Lee closes the novel by reminding the reader of the many different themes she has included in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. For example, the theme of innocence. “The Gray Ghost” is about a character who was wrongly accused of committing a crime and then is later pursued. After he is finally caught his innocence is affirmed. While the novel comes to an end the reader is made aware of Atticus’ wisdom and ability to see the good and bad about people, but we are also notified again of Atticus’ stunning role as a parent to Scout and Jem. Atticus tucks in Scout and sits by Jem’s side all night. Harper Lee finishes the book off with a happy ending filled with warmth, peace, and thoughtfulness.

  8. maxwellw

    Despite Scout’s obvious maturation in Chapter 31, the novel closes with her falling asleep as Atticus reads to her. This image of her as Atticus’s baby child is fitting, as while she has grown up quite a bit over the course of the novel, she is still only eight years old. Just as her ham costume, a symbol of the silly and carefree nature of childhood, prevents Bob Ewell’s knife from injuring her, so does the timely intervention of Boo, another part of Scout’s childhood, stop the total intrusion into her life of the hate-filled adult world that Ewell represents. Interestingly, the book makes no return to the adult Scout for closing narration, and Lee offers the reader no details of Scout’s future except that she never sees Boo again.

  9. stephaniec

    “There’s a black boy dead for no reason, and the man responsible for it’s dead. Let the dead bury the dead this time, Mr. Finch. Let the dead bury the dead.”(p. 369).

    In this scene, Heck Tate claimed Mr. Ewell fell on his own knife and died. At first, Atticus disagreed with him and claimed that he doesn’t want his son to hide from the law. However, after a lot of arguing, Tate won the argument. This scene intrigued me after reading it a second time I realized who Heck Tate wanted to protect from murder. I realized that Heck Tate aimed to protect Boo, the person who actually stabbed Mr. Ewell. Even though this was self-defense, Tate wanted to protect Boo from all the attention he would have got. At the end of the chapter, Scout compared charging Boo with murder like “Well, it’d be sort of like shooting’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?”(p.370). Boo is pure and innocent, and only killed Mr. Ewell to protect Jem and Scout. Therefore, charging him with murder would be life shooting a harmless mockingbird.

    1. Casey

      I agree, Boo stayed inside all of these years to avoid the attention. After having their lives saved by Boo the least that Scout and Jem could do was to respect his will to stay inside.

  10. jaclynl

    “His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.
    “Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.” (p. 376)

    The closing scene shows Atticus tucking Scout into bed and reading to her. Scout has dramatically changed throughout the novel and grown a lot. She has discovered a lot about the world around her and been able to have her own views on things. But, this scene shows us that even after going through all of this, Scout is still merely a child. This ending chapter wraps up the novel nicely, showing us both how Scout has grown, but also that she is still a child and will continue to learn as time goes on.

  11. trinityt

    “‘An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice…’…’Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'” (p.376).

    In the last chapter of this book, chapter 31, Scout finally knows what Boo Radley looks like. Since the beginning, Scout was curious about Boo Radley, now she was able to see Boo with her own eyes and even talked with him. Obviously, the town’s rumor about him being evil was completely false. He was pretty nice. At the end, before Scout went to sleep, she went to Jem’s room and Atticus was there. While she was there, Atticus read her a book called, “The Gray Ghost”. According to Scout’s description of the book, it relates to Boo. Basically, it was about a boy that others thought that he did bad things, so they chased him, but couldn’t catch him because they didn’t know what he looks like. Once others saw what he looks like, it turns out that he didn’t do those bad things and actually was nice. This relates to Boo because Boo, like the boy in the story, was misunderstood by others. Therefore, others always thought that he was evil and did bad things. At the beginning, Jem and Scout, along with Dill, tried to make Boo come out so that they could see what he looks like. This is like how the boys in the story chased the boy that they thought did bad things. However, like in the story, once Scout saw what Boo looks like in this chapter and how his personality is actually like, she realized that he was different from what the town said, and that he was actually pretty nice. At the end, Atticus said that most people are actually nice once you see them. This means that you won’t know someone until you see what they are like, not just physically but also in personalities.

    1. Mikayla Friedman

      I didn’t even make the connection that the story Atticus read to Scout was about Boo, but now that I think about it I completely agree! This made me wonder: could Atticus possibly know about the developing friendship between Scout and Boo? Why else would he be reading that specific book to Scout?

  12. Brishti Sarkar

    “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.” (p. 374)

    This passage struck me as interesting because it brought back an idea about perspective from the beginning of the book. In chapter 3, Atticus says this about Walter Cunningham. After all the events that have happened in this book, Scout sees it from a whole new perspective. What started out as a childish endeavour years ago now has an entirely different meaning to Scout, as she takes her first steps into the ideas of adulthood. Now, she is finally grasping the true meaning of Boo Radley’s life and his feelings. When she stands on his porch, she looks at the events of the last few years from the perspective of Boo Radley. Atticus said that you need to “walk around” in someone’s shoes to understand them, but Scout says here that “standing on the Radley porch was enough”. Here, Scout is shown to understand Boo Radley as a person without having to actually live like him– Boo Radley is an outsider, and looking at the events of the past two years from an outside perspective lets her understand the way he saw everything. Though his porch is so close to the Finch house, it is a million worlds apart in the terms of the perspective seen through it.

  13. Sunna

    “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”

    This passage showed Scout’s maturity as she went through the novel. When Atticus first gave her this advice, she didn’t understand it. But the trial and what happened with Boo have shown her a new perspective.

  14. Casey

    “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”

    This passage is important because it shows a possible theme for the novel. In the beginning, Scout and Jem were mocking Boo Radley for never coming outside. Atticus stopped them and gave them some valuable life lessons. He told them to change their perspective to understand what others are going through and their point of view. Scout was never able to put herself in Boo Radley’s shoes until the very end of the novel where she befriends him and walks him home. She finally understood why he chose to stay inside all of his life.

  15. Hannah Pitkofsky

    “Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.”

    This passage strikes me as important because it shows a connection throughout the novel of perspective and how it changes as the novel goes on. At the beginning of the novel, we see Scout and Jem making fun of Boo Radley for never setting foot outside of his house and assuming things about his character and his behavior inside. However, when Boo finally leaves his home, Scout finally sees Boo for who he truly is and doesn’t believe the rumors anymore. This shows that people aren’t always what the rumors say they are and that rumors are just misinterpretations of someone’s perspective and who they really are.

  16. Mikayla Friedman

    “‘ . . . Atticus, he was real nice . . .’
    His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.
    ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’
    He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.” (p. 376)

    This quote tied up the whole novel. It brought back the theme of how you need to step into one’s shoes to really see their perspective, and when you do, you will often find that they are truly nice people. This theme really applies to Boo Radley. No one knew him, he was the town’s outcast. But he saved Jem and Scout’s life, and I hope that Scout will get to know him better in the future and continue an already blossoming friendship. In addition, I think that the last sentence of the novel is extremely important and will foreshadow the rest of Jem and Scout’s life in relationship to Atticus. By including the point that Atticus will stay with Jem all night, Harper Lee is trying to say Atticus will always stand by his children’s side and he will always be there for them, as he has throughout the whole novel. I think this ending to the novel was fitting to the story as a whole amd left the readers feeling satisfied with the ending, while still leaving the readers room to think for themselves.

    1. Emma Garbowitz

      I agree that this quote did a great job of wrapping everything up. Just by putting Scout to bed to go to sleep was such an interesting, perfect fitting ending for this novel.

  17. angelicac1

    “if they don’t trust me they won’t trust anybody. Jem and Scout know what happened. If they hear of me saying downtown something different happened — Heck, I won’t have them any more. I can’t live one way in town and another way in my home.”

    This passage reveals that one of the things Atticus values more than anything is a bond full of trust that is shared between him, Jem, and Scout. Atticus fears that he would be dishonest with them and that’s definitely something Atticus doesn’t want. Feeding his children lies is not something Atticus desires and it would just cause guilt to take over him. Atticus is a respectable, honest man who fills his children with so much love and honesty. He doesn’t ignore their feelings which is why he wants to tell them anything but lies.

  18. Sophie

    “I may not be much, Mr. Finch, but I’m still sheriff of Maycomb County and Bob Ewell fell on his knife. Good night, sir.” (p. 370)

    In the last few chapters, it was particularly interesting to watch Atticus debate with the sheriff. It surprised me, because I thought if anyone in Maycomb were to argue with the sheriff, the last person would be Atticus. I understand where he was coming from, how he wanted only to protect Jem as much as possible, but it also confused me. Why did he not act defensive about his own son? It was odd to see Atticus not even consider the murder to be done by Mr Ewell himself. Of course, the abnormal actions were due to pure shock and emotion, but it was a different side of Atticus that was enjoyable to read in the last chapters.

    1. Zoe

      I agree that it was strange that Atticus fought with the sheriff. Maybe because of the court case, Atticus can now see both sides to the situation and wants to make sure all of the information is told and all the points are made. Great analysis!

  19. Zoe

    “You heard what Scout said, there’s no doubt about it. She said Jem got up and yanked him off her-he probably got hold of Ewell’s knife somehow in the dark…we’ll find out tomorrow”

    This paragraph seemed important because it was the aftermath of a huge, terrifying event. As it settles down, Atticus began to think about what had just occurred and concludes from the evidence that Jem killed Bob Ewell. Straight away, Atticus begins to panic about how he might be losing Jem. Once again, we can see how Atticus really feels towards his children. He loves them and couldn’t bear to live without either one. This once again explains why he took the court case. He says that he needed to and that’s because he didn’t know what side the children would take, but if they chose to believe in Tom and find out Atticus refused to defend him, they’ll lose faith, love, and trust in him. this also explains the events that occur after everything is straightened out. Atticus once again shows his care towards Jem and Scout by reading to them as they fall asleep and caring for them. These chapters showed a lot of the relationship in the Finch family and revealed more of the father figure, Atticus, and his love towards his children.

  20. Maddie

    “Will you take me home?”
    He almost whispered it, in the voice of a child afraid of the dark.
    I put my foot on the top step and stopped. I would lead him through our house, but I would never lead him home.
    “Mr. Arthur, bend your arm down here, like that. That’s right, sir.”
    I slipped my hand into the crook of his arm.

    This passage was interesting because it is the first time that Mr. Arthur Radley is seen by Scout in the novel, and it is also the last. Since he had only been described by Jem in a way that made him sound horrifying, it was surprising to read a real description of Boo Radley. Boo is quiet and likes the dark, and he is so sweet to Scout. He and Scout hold hands on the way to the porch and Scout leads Boo home after the debate between Atticus and Mr. Heck Tate. It is interesting how both on the porch and in Jem’s room, Boo is so quiet that Scout forgets he is their. I also wonder how when Scout looked at Boo Radley, she automatically knew who it was. She says “Hey Boo” like she’s known him forever. I found these last pages extremely interesting and am sad that the book is over.

  21. Hannah M.

    Tonight, we finished the Anti-spam*novel and to be honest, I’m really sad about it. Harper Lee gave this novel a wonderful ending and she did a great job of giving everything closure. So many intriging things happened in these chapters but one detail that I really enjoyed was how the question we had about the very beginning of the book when it starts with, “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. ” (page 3) at the beginning we were all very confused about how that had happened to his arm and why it was important to the plot, now we know. When the kids were being watched and got attacked by Bob Ewell, Jem’s arm was broken right at the elbow from how he was grabbed. At first we had no idea how he was hurt or what significance it had to it but now we do and it all makes sense. Adding this at the beginning made the story feel entirely connected, it was a nice aspect of the story. It was crazy reading about what had happened to Scout and Jem and how much they had gone through in just one night. It really grabbed onto the reader, but what’s most surprising is that we had known about this since the beginning of the novel!

  22. matthewc11

    After finishing the book tonight, one scene I found interesting was when it was revealed that Boo Radley had helped Jem and Scout escape from Bob Ewell. After walking home from the Halloween Pageant, Jem and Scout hear a few unsettling noises before something lunges out at them. Jem tells Scout to run, but before she can. “Something crushed the chicken wire around me. Metal ripped on metal and I fell… One’s mind works very slowly at times. Stunned, I stood there dumbly. The scuffling noises were dying; someone wheezed and the night was still again.” (page 351). While Scout is attacked, and Jem tries to defend her, some mystery man comes out of nowhere to help take out their unidentified attacker. The mystery man helps carry an injured Jem back to the Finch residence, with Scout in tow. This man is then revealed to be
    Boo Radley, as Scout states, “I half pointed to the man in the corner, but brought my arm down quickly lest Atticus reprimand me for pointing. It was impolite to point….“Hey, Boo,” I said.” (page 362). This scene, after so long, finally helped to clarify some things as to who Boo Radley is and his significance in the novel. Although Boo is still very mysterious, a different side of him is shown. So far, Boo has been presented in a way that suggests he is a scary, primitive being that stays locked in his house all day, almost like an animal. However, this passage shows him as an upstanding man that wants to help defend two young children. I thought this was a great move by Harper Lee, and it seemed to end the novel on a somewhat happy, or lighthearted note.

    One question I have after tonight’s reading is, Why is Bob Ewell so evil? Throughout the novel, he is presented as horrible in every possible way, and this scene just further extended this feeling. However, it is revealed that afterwards, Bob Ewell killed himself, making me wonder why and how it relates to his character as a whole. I believe this discussion in class will be very interesting tomorrow, and as I finish To Kill A Mockingbird, I realize it is bittersweet as it is truly a classic novel.


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