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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

To Kill a Mockingbird

by

To Kill a Mockingbird Cover

ISBN13: 9780061120084
ISBN10: 0061120081
Condition: Underlined
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Reading Group Guide

1. How do Scout, Jem, and Dill characterize Boo Radley at the beginning of the book? In what way did Boo's past history of violence foreshadow his method of protecting Jem and Scout from Bob Ewell? Does this repetition of aggression make him more or less of a sympathetic character?

2. In Scout's account of her childhood, her father Atticus reigns supreme. How would you characterize his abilities as a single parent? How would you describe his treatment of Calpurnia and Tom Robinson vis a vis his treatment of his white neighbors and colleagues? How would you typify his views on race and class in the larger context of his community and his peers?

3. The title of Lee's book is alluded to when Atticus gives his children air rifles and tells them that they can shoot all the bluejays they want, but "it's a sin To Kill a Mockingbird." At the end of the novel, Scout likens the "sin" of naming Boo as Bob Ewell's killer to "shootin' a mockingbird." Do you think that Boo is the only innocent, or mockingbird, in this novel?

4. Scout ages two years-from six to eight-over the course of Lee's novel, which is narrated from her perspective as an adult. Did you find the account her narrator provides believable? Were there incidents or observations in the book that seemed unusually "knowing" for such a young child? What event or episode in Scout's story do you feel truly captures her personality?

5. To Kill a Mockingbird has been challenged repeatedly by the political left and right, who have sought to remove it from libraries for its portrayal of conflict between children and adults; ungrammatical speech; references to sex, the supernatural, and witchcraft; and unfavorable presentation of blacks. Which elements of the book-if any-do you think touch on controversial issues in our contemporary culture? Did you find any of those elements especially troubling, persuasive, or insightful?

6. Jem describes to Scout the four "folks" or classes of people in Maycomb County: "...our kind of folks don't like the Cunninghams, the Cunninghams don't like the Ewells, and the Ewells hate and despise the colored folks." What do you think of the ways in which Lee explores race and class in 1930s Alabama? What significance, if any, do you think these characterizations have for people living in other parts of the world?

7. One of the chief criticisms of To Kill a Mockingbird is that the two central storylines — Scout, Jem, and Dill's fascination with Boo Radley and the trial between Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson — are not sufficiently connected in the novel. Do you think that Lee is successful in incorporating these different stories? Were you surprised at the way in which these story lines were resolved? Why or why not?

8. By the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, the book's first sentence: "When he was thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow," has been explained and resolved. What did you think of the events that followed the Halloween pageant? Did you think that Bob Ewell was capable of injuring Scout or Jem? How did you feel about Boo Radley's last-minute intervention?

9. What elements of this book did you find especially memorable, humorous, or inspiring? Are there individual characters whose beliefs, acts, or motives especially impressed or surprised you? Did any events in this book cause you to reconsider your childhood memories or experiences in a new light?

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

brunettegal418, January 1, 2008 (view all comments by brunettegal418)
This deeply moving novel is one that will be read for generations to come. Told by an innocent child in a world torn apart by racism, this novel gives us an unforgettbale story filled with charm, love, racism, hatred, and yet tied together with hope. This novel must be read by everyone who enjoyes a truly wonderful tale.
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cr2111, August 14, 2007 (view all comments by cr2111)
Reading this book after a gap of around thirty years I still felt deeply moved and disturbed. May be because we are still living in a world torn apart by as nasty and as unreasonable a prejudice as that dictated the social conscience of Alabama.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061120084
Author:
Lee, Harper
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Author:
by Harper Lee
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Girls
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Legal stories
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
Modern Classics
Publication Date:
20060531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 11 x 0.25 in 13.20 oz

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Related Subjects

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To Kill a Mockingbird Used Trade Paper
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Product details 336 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780061120084 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This is a book that still resonates more than 45 years after being published. After reading it again and again, I am still moved by the power and humanity of the story. Atticus Finch, a small-town lawyer, is one of those quiet heroes who fights for the underdog. Scout, his daughter (and the narrator), unveils her neighbors' hypocrisy in their attitudes toward people of a different color, different economic status, different religion, and those who are disabled. When someone tells me they haven't read this book, I am always surprised, and I encourage them to read it SOON! Our world has changed immensely since 1935, when this story takes place, but there is still injustice and rampant hatred. Reading or rereading To Kill a Mockingbird reminds us that all people need to be treated with respect.

"Staff Pick" by ,

While To Kill a Mockingbird is a favorite book of pretty much everyone who has read it, it's important to remember that it continues to be subversive and challenging to the status quo. The protagonist is a young girl named Scout and except for her father, all the main characters in the book are marginalized by the power structure of their town — a structure that still exists nearly everywhere — where wealthy white men control the lives of everyone else, and even the members of that group who want to use their status for something honorable, like Scout's father Atticus, cannot win against the flattening wave of that power. Until something about that structure really changes, this book will remain required reading for every person in America.

"Review" by , "It's one of the finest books ever written. The quiet heroism of Atticus Finch and the honesty of his children Jem and Scout as they face prejudice in the American South of the 1930s still ring true. If it's been a while since you read it, read it again."
"Review" by , "That rare literary phenomenon, a Southern novel with no mildew on its magnolia leaves. Funny, happy and written with unspectacular precision, To Kill a Mockingbird is about conscience — how it is instilled in two children, Scout and Jem Finch; how it operates in their father, Atticus a lawyer appointed to defend a Negro on a rape charge, and how conscience crows in their small Alabama town."
"Review" by , "A first novel of such rare excellence that it will no doubt make a great many readers slow down to relish more fully its simple distinction...A novel of strong contemporary national significance."
"Review" by , "Novelist Lee's prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life."
"Synopsis" by , One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.
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