1. Scout says that “Mr. Dolphus Raymond was an evil man”. Is she right?
2. In most states of the USA people who drink alcohol in public places are
required to hide their bottle in a paper bag. Why does Dolphus Raymond hide
Coca-Cola in a bag?
3. What, according to Atticus, is the thing that Mayella has done wrong?
Explain, in your own words, Atticus’s views on people’s being equal.
1. What does Jem expect the verdict to be? Does Atticus think the same?
2. What is
unusual about how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict? Is the verdict
predictable or not?
3. As Scout
waits for the verdict, she thinks of earlier events. What are these and how do
they remind us of the novel’s central themes?
1. Although Atticus did not want his children in court, he defends Jem’s right
to know what has happened. Explain, in your own words, Atticus’s reasons for
this. (Look at the speech beginning, “This is their home, sister”.)
2. Miss Maudie tells Jem that “things are never as bad as they seem”. What
reasons does she give for this view?
3. Why does Dill say that he will be a clown when he grows up? Do you think he
would keep this ambition for long?
4. This story is set in the 1930s but was published in 1960. Have attitudes to
racism remained the same (in the USA and the UK) or have there been any changes
(for the better or worse) since then, in your view?
5. Why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus? Do you think his threat is a
real one, and how might he try to “get” Atticus?
1. What do you think of Atticus’s reaction to Bob Ewell’s challenge? Should he
have ignored Bob, retaliated or done something else?
2. What is “circumstantial evidence”? What has it
got to do with Tom’s conviction?
3. What does Atticus tell Scout about why the jury took so long to convict Tom?
4. Why does Aunt Alexandra accept that the Cunninghams may be good but are not
“our kind of folks”? Do you think that people should mix only with others of
the same social class? Are class-divisions good or bad for societies?
5. At the end of this chapter, Jem forms a new theory about why Boo Radley has
never left his house in years. What is this? How likely is it to be true, in
1. Do you think the missionary ladies are sincere in worrying about the
“Mrunas” (a tribe in Africa)? Give reasons for your answer.
the reactions of Miss Maudie and the other ladies when Scout says she is
wearing her “britches” under her dress.
3. What is your opinion of the Maycomb ladies, as
depicted in this chapter?
4. Explain briefly how Tom was killed. What is
Atticus’s explanation for Tom’s attempted escape. Do you think agree with
Atticus? How, in this chapter, do we see Aunt Alexandra in a new light? How
does Miss Maudie support her?
1. How does Maycomb react to the news of Tom’s death?
2. Comment on the idea that Tom’s death was “typical”?
3. Explain the contrast Scout draws between the court where Tom was tried and
“the secret courts of men’s hearts”. In what way are hearts like courts?
Why did Jem not want Scout to tell Atticus about Bob Ewell’s (“One
down and about two more to go”)? Was this a wise thing to ask her to do?
1. In her lesson on Hitler, Miss Gates says that “we (American people) don’t
believe in persecuting anyone”. What seems odd to the reader about this claim?
2. Why is
Scout puzzled by Miss Gates’ disapproval of Hitler?
3. Why does Scout’s question upset Jem? Is there a
simple answer, or any answer, to the question (“How can you hate Hitler an’
then turn around an be ugly about folks right at home?”)
1. What three things does Bob Ewell do that alarm Aunt Alexandra?
2. Why, according to Atticus, does Bob Ewell bear a grudge? Which people does
Ewell see as his enemies, and why?
3. What was the purpose of the Halloween pageant? What practical joke had
persuaded the grown ups to have an organized event?
1. Comment on the way this chapter reminds the reader of earlier events in the
2. Why does Jem say that Boo Radley must not be at home? What is ironic about
this? (Is it true? Does he really mean it? Why might it be important for him
and Scout that Boo should not be at home?)
3. Scout decides to keep her costume on while walking home. How does this
affect her understanding of what happens on the way?
4. Why had Atticus not brought a chair for the man in the corner?
1. What causes the “shiny clean line” on the otherwise “dull wire” of Scout’s
2. What explanation does Atticus give for Bob Ewell’s attack?
3. What does Heck Tate give as the reason for the attack?
4. Do you think the sheriff’s explanation or Atticus’s is the more likely to be
1. Who does Atticus think caused Bob Ewell’s death?
2. Why does Heck Tate insist that Bob Ewell’s death was self-inflicted? In what
way is this partly true?
3. Is Heck Tate right to spare Boo the publicity of an inquest? Give reasons
for your answer.
4. How does the writer handle the appearance, at the end of the story, of Boo
1. How do the events of the final chapters explain the first sentence in the
2. Comment on the way the writer summarizes earlier events to show their
3. How does Scout make sense of an earlier remark of Atticus’s as she stands on
the Radley porch?
4. How much of a surprise is it to find what Boo Radley is really like? Has the
story before this point prepared the reader for this discovery?
5. At the end of the novel, Atticus reads to Scout. Comment on his choice of
story. Does it have any connection with themes earlier in the novel and in its