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. Chapter 21
1. What does Jem expect the verdict to be? Does Atticus think the same?
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?
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 your opinion?
1. Do you think the missionary ladies are sincere in worrying about the “Mrunas” (a tribe in Africa)? Give reasons for your answer.
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?
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? Chapter 28
1. Comment on the way this chapter reminds the reader of earlier events in the novel.
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? Chapter 29
1. What causes the “shiny clean line” on the otherwise “dull wire” of Scout’s costume?
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 true? Chapter 30
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 Radley?
1. How do the events of the final chapters explain the first sentence in the whole novel?
2. Comment on the way the writer summarizes earlier events to show their significance.
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 ending?