To Kill A Mockingbird Chapter One

Sophie Bowman
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Sophie Bowman
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Chapter One analysis of To Kill A Mockingbird.

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To Kill A Mockingbird Chapter One
1 History of the Finch family, Maycomb, the Radleys described. Main characters introduced. (Scout/Jem/Atticus/Calpurnia)
1.1 'he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment' (p11)
1.1.1 Scout's mother dies when she was two and Atticus does the job of both parents.
1.2 Atticus is also breaking away from family tradition by becoming a lawyer. He also believes to treat his black housekeeper with respect and his children as individuals.
2 Jem (9) and Scout (5) meet Dill (6). Dill comes from Mississippi every summer to stay with his aunt Miss Rachel Haveford.
2.1 His name-dill- is a herb as he adds flavour and excitement to the events.
2.1.1 'we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies.' p8
2.1.1.1 Although he is small, he turns everything into magic.
3 Jem, Scout and Dill become fascinated with the Radleys.
3.1 Boo has not left the house for 15 years since he got into trouble with other teenage boys and supposedly attacked his father with scissors.
3.1.1 'malevolent phanotm' p9
3.1.2 'Mr Radley's boy was not seen again for fifteen years' p10
3.1.3 Mr Radley had 'colourless eyes which didn't reflect light'
3.1.3.1 Light is a symbol for hope, freedom and happiness.
3.1.4 'from the day Mr Radley took Arthur home, people said the house died'
3.1.5 Jem gives a completely hyperbolic description of Boo.
3.1.5.1 'Boo was about six-and-a-half feet tall, judging from his tracks; he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that's why his hands were blood-stained - if you ate an animal raw, you could never wash the blood of. There was a long kagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.'
3.2 'The Radley Place was inhabited by an unknown entity the mere description of whom was enough to make us behave for days on end' p7
3.3 Descriptions of Radley House: 1. 'sharp curve' 2.'once white' 3. 'darkened to the colour of slate-grey'
3.3.1 1. oxymoronic language- suggests something strange and unusual 2. suggests the darkness of the house and what is inside 3. this idea of darkness links to Boo himself.
3.3.2 'droopy and sick' p16
4 They are surprised when Calpurnia speaks badly of Mr Radley as she doesn't usually comment on white people's behaviour.
4.1 'the meanest man ever God blew breath into (Ch1 p18).
4.1.1 African-Americans had lower status in society so it would have been considered out of place or even disrespectful to comment on a white person.
5 Dill dares Jem to knock on the Radley's door. Nothing happens but they think they see an inside shutter move.
6 We are introduced to the narrative voice and perspective that will be used throughout.
6.1 Scout is the fist person narrative as well as a participant in the story. Events are recounted first hand, through a child's eyes. However, Scout is also describing the events in retrospect so we see the story not only from a chi;d's viewpoint but also from a more mature, adult perspective, offering the benefits of hindsight.
7 Harper Lee gives us information to understand how important family background and characteristics are in this society. This becomes significant in later events.
7.1 'I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that.' p9
8 We are introduced to the theme of growing up and childhood games- an important topic in the first part of the novel.
8.1 'In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare' p14
9 The Maycomb setting is established.
9.1 It is descirbed as a character (p11) as 'old' and 'tired', but also with hope (it was a time of 'vague optimism'.
10 Reveals the small-town mentality and the divisions and prejudices that exist in Maycomb where there are different rules for black and white people.
10.1 Introduces ideas of prejudice. We are reminded of the recent history of black slavery in Alabama. SImon Finch, a family ancestor, bought three slaves.
10.2 'Atticus was related by blood or marriage to nearly every family in the town' p5
10.3 people were 'unwilling to discard initial suspicions' p9 prejudice
11 'nothing to buy and no money to buy it' p6
11.1 They are feeling the effects of the great depression.
12 Harper Lee foreshadows the future events.
12.1 'my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow'
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