He read in a book where I was a Bullfinch instead of a Finch. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Get a copy of to kill A mockingbird from here. PDF copies for all eBook readers available. Study Guide for. To Kill a. Mockingbird by Harper Lee. T H E. G L E N C O E novel. By she had finished a draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. A publisher to.
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“To Kill a Mockingbird” By Nelle Harper Lee 2. Part One . book, I asked Dill where his father was: “You ain't said anything about him.” “I haven't got one.”. The book's not really that long, anyway, and it's incredibly good. You can download To kill a Mockingbird in PDF Format: To kill a Mockingbird PDF LINK. TO KILL A. MOCKINGBIRD. Dramaturgy & Glossary created by Brooke Viegut .. and later at a factory making telephone books and cigarette cases. pdf.
When he was reading a novel with such pleasure and satisfaction that, about two-thirds of the way thru, he found himself unconsciously slowing down, to prolong the pleasure and linger over the delight, then he knew he was reading a book which had already passed his test. Advertisement "To Kill a Mockingbird" is a first novel of such rare excellence that it will no doubt make a great many readers slow down to relish the more fully its simple distinction. It passes the test with honors. The first-person narrator is a pistol of a little girl about to enter first grade just after the narrative starts; her nickname is Scout. She has a brother, Jem, four years her senior. Her father is a widowed lawyer named Atticus. Then there is a little boy about her own age -- Dill -- who comes each summer to visit in Maycomb, Ala.
We never lie.
Tom: I am black, and she is white. We are, by definition, worse. His words would have never counted. The jury convicts him. Jem is shaken to the core of his bones. But before that, as Atticus leaves the courtroom, the crowd on the colored balcony begins to stand up.
He may have lost the unfair fight, but he won something bigger: the respect of the innocent and marginalized. You see, Atticus still has some hope: he sincerely believes that the appeal will give Tom Robinson a second, even better, chance than the trial. And to make matters even worse, Bob Ewell vows revenge. Namely, Bob Ewell attacks Scout and Jem as well. And this is where the beginning of the story starts making sense! You see, that mysterious person is Boo Radley!
The sheriff and Atticus agree so, concluding that Bob probably fell on his knife by accident. Sort of. Like this summary? Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. One does not love breathing. Click To Tweet I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.
It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. Click To Tweet Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts. Chura notes the icon of the black rapist causing harm to the representation of the "mythologized vulnerable and sacred Southern womanhood". Tom Robinson's trial was juried by poor white farmers who convicted him despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence, as more educated and moderate white townspeople supported the jury's decision.
Furthermore, the victim of racial injustice in To Kill a Mockingbird was physically impaired, which made him unable to commit the act he was accused of, but also crippled him in other ways. The theme of racial injustice appears symbolically in the novel as well.
For example, Atticus must shoot a rabid dog, even though it is not his job to do so. He is also alone when he faces a group intending to lynch Tom Robinson and once more in the courthouse during Tom's trial. Lee even uses dreamlike imagery from the mad dog incident to describe some of the courtroom scenes. Jones writes, "[t]he real mad dog in Maycomb is the racism that denies the humanity of Tom Robinson When Atticus makes his summation to the jury, he literally bares himself to the jury's and the town's anger.
I mean different kinds of black people and white people both, from poor white trash to the upper crust—the whole social fabric. When Scout embarrasses her poorer classmate, Walter Cunningham, at the Finch home one day, Calpurnia, their black cook, chastises and punishes her for doing so. Lee demonstrates how issues of gender and class intensify prejudice, silence the voices that might challenge the existing order, and greatly complicate many Americans' conception of the causes of racism and segregation.
Sharing Scout and Jem's perspective, the reader is allowed to engage in relationships with the conservative antebellum Mrs. Dubose; the lower-class Ewells, and the Cunninghams who are equally poor but behave in vastly different ways; the wealthy but ostracized Mr.
Dolphus Raymond; and Calpurnia and other members of the black community. The children internalize Atticus' admonition not to judge someone until they have walked around in that person's skin, gaining a greater understanding of people's motives and behavior. Atticus is the moral center of the novel, however, and he teaches Jem one of the most significant lessons of courage.
Dubose, who is determined to break herself of a morphine addiction, Atticus tells Jem that courage is "when you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what". Shields , who wrote the first book-length biography of Harper Lee, offers the reason for the novel's enduring popularity and impact is that "its lessons of human dignity and respect for others remain fundamental and universal".
When Mayella reacts with confusion to Atticus' question if she has any friends, Scout offers that she must be lonelier than Boo Radley.
Having walked Boo home after he saves their lives, Scout stands on the Radley porch and considers the events of the previous three years from Boo's perspective.
One writer remarks, " Scout's primary identification with her father and older brother allows her to describe the variety and depth of female characters in the novel both as one of them and as an outsider. Mayella Ewell also has an influence; Scout watches her destroy an innocent man in order to hide her desire for him.
The female characters who comment the most on Scout's lack of willingness to adhere to a more feminine role are also those who promote the most racist and classist points of view. Dubose chastises Scout for not wearing a dress and camisole , and indicates she is ruining the family name by not doing so, in addition to insulting Atticus' intentions to defend Tom Robinson.
Scout and Jem's mother died before Scout could remember her, Mayella's mother is dead, and Mrs. Radley is silent about Boo's confinement to the house. Apart from Atticus, the fathers described are abusers. Radley imprisons his son in his house to the extent that Boo is remembered only as a phantom. Bob Ewell and Mr. Radley represent a form of masculinity that Atticus does not, and the novel suggests that such men, as well as the traditionally feminine hypocrites at the Missionary Society, can lead society astray.
Atticus stands apart as a unique model of masculinity; as one scholar explains: "It is the job of real men who embody the traditional masculine qualities of heroic individualism, bravery, and an unshrinking knowledge of and dedication to social justice and morality, to set the society straight. Claudia Durst Johnson writes that "a greater volume of critical readings has been amassed by two legal scholars in law journals than by all the literary scholars in literary journals".
Many social codes are broken by people in symbolic courtrooms: Mr. Dolphus Raymond has been exiled by society for taking a black woman as his common-law wife and having interracial children; Mayella Ewell is beaten by her father in punishment for kissing Tom Robinson; by being turned into a non-person, Boo Radley receives a punishment far greater than any court could have given him.
For example, she refuses to wear frilly clothes, saying that Aunt Alexandra's "fanatical" attempts to place her in them made her feel "a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on [her]".
Their family name Finch is also Lee's mother's maiden name. The titular mockingbird is a key motif of this theme, which first appears when Atticus, having given his children air-rifles for Christmas, allows their Uncle Jack to teach them to shoot. Atticus warns them that, although they can "shoot all the bluejays they want", they must remember that "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird". She points out that mockingbirds simply provide pleasure with their songs, saying, "They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.
However, scholar Christopher Metress connects the mockingbird to Boo Radley: "Instead of wanting to exploit Boo for her own fun as she does in the beginning of the novel by putting on gothic plays about his history , Scout comes to see him as a 'mockingbird'—that is, as someone with an inner goodness that must be cherished.
Atticus, he was real nice," to which he responds, "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them. Dave claims that because every character has to face, or even suffer defeat, the book takes on elements of a classical tragedy. She guides the reader in such judgments, alternating between unabashed adoration and biting irony. Scout's experience with the Missionary Society is an ironic juxtaposition of women who mock her, gossip, and "reflect a smug, colonialist attitude toward other races" while giving the "appearance of gentility, piety, and morality".
The only difference between him and his father was their ages. Jem said Mr. Nathan would speak to us, however, when we said good morning, and sometimes we saw him coming from town with a magazine in his hand. The more we told Dill about the Radleys, the more he wanted to know, the longer he would stand hugging the light-pole on the corner, the more he would wonder. Miss Stephanie Crawford said she woke up in the middle of the night one time and saw him looking straight through the window at her.
Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo: There was a long jagged scar that ran across his face; what teeth he had were yellow and rotten; his eyes popped, and he drooled most of the time.
In all his life, Jem had never declined a dare. Jem thought about it for three days. I suppose he loved honor more than his head, for Dill wore him down easily: This was enough to make Jem march to the corner, where he stopped and leaned against the light-pole, watching the gate hanging crazily on its homemade hinge. You started it, remember.
When he said that, I knew he was afraid. Jem had his little sister to think of the time I dared him to jump off the top of the house: Then he jumped, landed unhurt, and his sense of responsibility left him until confronted by the Radley Place.
Dill said striking a match under a turtle was hateful. Now lemme think.
Then I sneered at him. Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us, not waiting to see if his foray was successful. Dill and I followed on his heels. Safely on our porch, panting and out of breath, we looked back.
The old house was the same, droopy and sick, but as we stared down the street we thought we saw an inside shutter move. A tiny, almost invisible movement, and the house was still. I never looked forward more to anything in my life. I longed to join them. When we slowed to a walk at the edge of the schoolyard, Jem was careful to explain that during school hours I was not to bother him, I was not to approach him with requests to enact a chapter of Tarzan and the Ant Men, to embarrass him with references to his private life, or tag along behind him at recess and noon.
I was to stick with the first grade and he would stick with the fifth. In short, I was to leave him alone. Before the first morning was over, Miss Caroline Fisher, our teacher, hauled me up to the front of the room and patted the palm of my hand with a ruler, then made me stand in the corner until noon. Miss Caroline was no more than twenty-one. She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks, and wore crimson fingernail polish.
She also wore high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white-striped dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop. I am from North Alabama, from Winston County. North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background. Miss Caroline began the day by reading us a story about cats. The cats had long conversations with one another, they wore cunning little clothes and lived in a warm house beneath a kitchen stove.
By the time Mrs. Cat called the drugstore for an order of chocolate malted mice the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms. Miss Caroline seemed unaware that the ragged, denim-shirted and flour sack- skirted first grade, most of whom had chopped cotton and fed hogs from the time they were able to walk, were immune to imaginative literature.
I suppose she chose me because she knew my name; as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading. He read in a book where I was a Bullfinch instead of a Finch.
You can have a seat now. I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers. In the long hours of church — was it then I learned? I could not remember not being able to read hymns. Now that I was compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me, as learning to fasten the seat of my union suit without looking around, or achieving two bows from a snarl of shoelaces. Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.
One does not love breathing. I knew I had annoyed Miss Caroline, so I let well enough alone and stared out the window until recess when Jem cut me from the covey of first-graders in the schoolyard. He asked how I was getting along. I told him. She learned about it in college. I was bored, so I began a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline caught me writing and told me to tell my father to stop teaching me.
It kept me from driving her crazy on rainy days, I guess. She would set me a writing task by scrawling the alphabet firmly across the top of a tablet, then copying out a chapter of the Bible beneath. If I reproduced her penmanship satisfactorily, she rewarded me with an open-faced sandwich of bread and butter and sugar.
I seldom pleased her and she seldom rewarded me. The town children did so, and she looked us over. Miss Caroline walked up and down the rows peering and poking into lunch containers, nodding if the contents pleased her, frowning a little at others. His absence of shoes told us how he got them. People caught hookworms going barefooted in barnyards and hog wallows.
If Walter had owned any shoes he would have worn them the first day of school and then discarded them until mid- winter. He did have on a clean shirt and neatly mended overalls. Walter looked straight ahead. I saw a muscle jump in his skinny jaw. Miss Caroline went to her desk and opened her purse. You can pay me back tomorrow. Miss Caroline and I had conferred twice already, and they were looking at me in the innocent assurance that familiarity breeds understanding. It was clear enough to the rest of us: Walter Cunningham was sitting there lying his head off.
He had none today nor would he have any tomorrow or the next day. He had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life.
I tried again: They never took anything off of anybody, they get along on what they have. After a dreary conversation in our livingroom one night about his entailment, before Mr. When I asked Jem what entailment was, and Jem described it as a condition of having your tail in a crack, I asked Atticus if Mr. Cunningham would ever pay us. You watch. One morning Jem and I found a load of stovewood in the back yard. Later, a sack of hickory nuts appeared on the back steps.
With Christmas came a crate of smilax and holly. That spring when we found a crokersack full of turnip greens, Atticus said Mr. Cunningham had more than paid him. He has no money. The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them hardest. As Maycomb County was farm country, nickels and dimes were hard to come by for doctors and dentists and lawyers. Entailment was only a part of Mr.
The acres not entailed were mortgaged to the hilt, and the little cash he made went to interest. If he held his mouth right, Mr. Cunningham could get a WPA job, but his land would go to ruin if he left it, and he was willing to go hungry to keep his land and vote as he pleased. Cunningham, said Atticus, came from a set breed of men. As the Cunninghams had no money to pay a lawyer, they simply paid us with what they had.
Reynolds works the same way? He charges some folks a bushel of potatoes for delivery of a baby. Hold out your hand. Wondering what bargain we had made, I turned to the class for an answer, but the class looked back at me in puzzlement. Miss Caroline picked up her ruler, gave me half a dozen quick little pats, then told me to stand in the corner. A storm of laughter broke loose when it finally occurred to the class that Miss Caroline had whipped me.
When Miss Caroline threatened it with a similar fate the first grade exploded again, becoming cold sober only when the shadow of Miss Blount fell over them.
Miss Blount, a native Maycombian as yet uninitiated in the mysteries of the Decimal System, appeared at the door hands on hips and announced: Miss Caroline, the sixth grade cannot concentrate on the pyramids for all this racket!
Saved by the bell, Miss Caroline watched the class file out for lunch.
As I was the last to leave, I saw her sink down into her chair and bury her head in her arms. Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her. She was a pretty little thing. Walter had picked himself up and was standing quietly listening to Jem and me.
His fists were half cocked, as if expecting an onslaught from both of us. I stomped at him to chase him away, but Jem put out his hand and stopped me.
He examined Walter with an air of speculation. Walter Cunningham from Old Sarum? Walter looked as if he had been raised on fish food: There was no color in his face except at the tip of his nose, which was moistly pink. He fingered the straps of his overalls, nervously picking at the metal hooks.
Jem suddenly grinned at him. Indeed, Jem grew boastful: Jem ran to the kitchen and asked Calpurnia to set an extra plate, we had company. Atticus greeted Walter and began a discussion about crops neither Jem nor I could follow. While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me.
Atticus was expounding upon farm problems when Walter interrupted to ask if there was any molasses in the house. Atticus summoned Calpurnia, who returned bearing the syrup pitcher. She stood waiting for Walter to help himself. Walter poured syrup on his vegetables and meat with a generous hand. He would probably have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing.
The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head.
Atticus shook his head at me again. Atticus said Calpurnia had more education than most colored folks. When she squinted down at me the tiny lines around her eyes deepened. I retrieved my plate and finished dinner in the kitchen, thankful, though, that I was spared the humiliation of facing them again.
Jem and Walter returned to school ahead of me: You think about how much Cal does for you, and you mind her, you hear? I looked up to see Miss Caroline standing in the middle of the room, sheer horror flooding her face. Apparently she had revived enough to persevere in her profession. The male population of the class rushed as one to her assistance. Tell us where he went, quick! Did he scare you some way?
He put his hand under her elbow and led Miss Caroline to the front of the room.
He searched the scalp above his forehead, located his guest and pinched it between his thumb and forefinger. Miss Caroline watched the process in horrid fascination. Little Chuck brought water in a paper cup, and she drank it gratefully. Finally she found her voice. The boy blinked. I want you to go home and wash your hair.
He was the filthiest human I had ever seen. His neck was dark gray, the backs of his hands were rusty, and his fingernails were black deep into the quick. He peered at Miss Caroline from a fist-sized clean space on his face. No one had noticed him, probably, because Miss Caroline and I had entertained the class most of the morning.
He gave a short contemptuous snort. One of the elderly members of the class answered her: But Miss Caroline seemed willing to listen. They come first day every year and then leave. Now go home. Safely out of range, he turned and shouted: Soon we were clustered around her desk, trying in our various ways to comfort her. He was a real mean one. That cat thing was real fine this mornin 4. When I passed the Radley Place for the fourth time that day — twice at a full gallop — my gloom had deepened to match the house.
If the remainder of the school year were as fraught with drama as the first day, perhaps it would be mildly entertaining, but the prospect of spending nine months refraining from reading and writing made me think of running away. It was our habit to run meet Atticus the moment we saw him round the post office comer in the distance. Atticus seemed to have forgotten my noontime fall from grace; he was full of questions about school. My replies were monosyllabic and he did not press me.
Perhaps Calpurnia sensed that my day had been a grim one: It was not often that she made crackling bread, she said she never had time, but with both of us at school today had been an easy one for her. She knew I loved crackling bread.
You run along now and let me get supper on the table. I ran along, wondering what had come over her. She had wanted to make up with me, that was it. She had always been too hard on me, she had at last seen the error of her fractious ways, she was sorry and too stubborn to say so. Atticus followed me. Atticus sat down in the swing and crossed his legs.
His fingers wandered to his watchpocket; he said that was the only way he could think. He waited in amiable silence, and I sought to reinforce my position: When he completed his examination of the wisteria vine he strolled back to me.
He just goes to school the first day. In your case, the law remains rigid. So to school you must go. He said that some Christmas, when he was getting rid of the tree, he would take me with him and show me where and how they lived. They were people, but they lived like animals. You must obey the law. Another thing, Mr. In Maycomb County, hunting out of season was a misdemeanor at law, a capital felony in the eyes of the populace. Are you going to take out your disapproval on his children?
Is it a bargain? Jem sat from after breakfast until sunset and would have remained overnight had not Atticus severed his supply lines. I had spent most of the day climbing up and down, running errands for him, providing him with literature, nourishment and water, and was carrying him blankets for the night when Atticus said if I paid no attention to him, Jem would come down.
Atticus was right. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics. What Jem called the Dewey Decimal System was school- wide by the end of my first year, so I had no chance to compare it with other teaching techniques.
I could only look around me: Jem, educated on a half-Decimal half- Duncecap basis, seemed to function effectively alone or in a group, but Jem was a poor example: As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something.
Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me. One afternoon as I raced by, something caught my eye and caught it in such a way that I took a deep breath, a long look around, and went back.
Two live oaks stood at the edge of the Radley lot; their roots reached out into the side-road and made it bumpy. Something about one of the trees attracted my attention.
Some tinfoil was sticking in a knot-hole just above my eye level, winking at me in the afternoon sun. I stood on tiptoe, hastily looked around once more, reached into the hole, and withdrew two pieces of chewing gum minus their outer wrappers. My first impulse was to get it into my mouth as quickly as possible, but I remembered where I was. I ran home, and on our front porch I examined my loot. The gum looked fresh. I sniffed it and it smelled all right.
I licked it and waited for a while. When I did not die I crammed it into my mouth: When Jem came home he asked me where I got such a wad. I told him I found it.
The tang was fading, anyway. You go gargle — right now, you hear me? For some reason, my first year of school had wrought a great change in our relationship: On my part, I went to much trouble, sometimes, not to provoke her. Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: The authorities released us early the last day of school, and Jem and I walked home together. We ran home, and on the front porch we looked at a small box patchworked with bits of tinfoil collected from chewing-gum wrappers.
It was the kind of box wedding rings came in, purple velvet with a minute catch. Jem flicked open the tiny catch. Inside were two scrubbed and polished pennies, one on top of the other. Jem examined them. These are real old. Henry Lafayette Dubose. Dubose lived two doors up the street from us; neighborhood opinion was unanimous that Mrs. Dubose was the meanest old woman who ever lived.
But these are important to somebody. He seemed to be thinking again. Two days later Dill arrived in a blaze of glory: Louis and stuck to his story regardless of threats. He had discarded the abominable blue shorts that were buttoned to his shirts and wore real short pants with a belt; he was somewhat heavier, no taller, and said he had seen his father.
He was clearly tired of being our character man. I was tired of playing Tom Rover, who suddenly lost his memory in the middle of a picture show and was out of the script until the end, when he was found in Alaska.
I wondered what the summer would bring. We had strolled to the front yard, where Dill stood looking down the street at the dreary face of the Radley Place.
An old lady taught me how. Jem sighed. I slapped it up to the front yard. Dill said he ought to be first, he just got here. Jem arbitrated, awarded me first push with an extra time for Dill, and I folded myself inside the tire. Until it happened I did not realize that Jem was offended by my contradicting him on Hot Steams, and that he was patiently awaiting an opportunity to reward me.
He did, by pushing the tire down the sidewalk with all the force in his body. Ground, sky and houses melted into a mad palette, my ears throbbed, I was suffocating. I could not put out my hands to stop, they were wedged between my chest and knees.
I could only hope that Jem would outrun the tire and me, or that I would be stopped by a bump in the sidewalk. I heard him behind me, chasing and shouting. The tire bumped on gravel, skeetered across the road, crashed into a barrier and popped me like a cork onto pavement. I froze. Jem was silent. Why, you even touched the house once, remember? Calpurnia set a pitcher and three glasses on the porch, then went about her business. Lemonade would restore his good humor. Jem gulped down his second glassful and slapped his chest.
Jem hissed. He died years ago and they stuffed him up the chimney. Jem parceled out our roles: I was Mrs. Radley, and all I had to do was come out and sweep the porch. Dill was old Mr. Jem, naturally, was Boo: As the summer progressed, so did our game. We polished and perfected it, added dialogue and plot until we had manufactured a small play upon which we rang changes every day. He was as good as his worst performance; his worst performance was Gothic. I reluctantly played assorted ladies who entered the script.
Jem was a born hero. It was a melancholy little drama, woven from bits and scraps of gossip and neighborhood legend: Radley had been beautiful until she married Mr. Radley and lost all her money. The three of us were the boys who got into trouble; I was the probate judge, for a change; Dill led Jem away and crammed him beneath the steps, poking him with the brushbroom.
Jem would reappear as needed in the shapes of the sheriff, assorted townsfolk, and Miss Stephanie Crawford, who had more to say about the Radleys than anybody in Maycomb. From where I stood it looked real. When Mr. Nathan Radley passed us on his daily trip to town, we would stand still and silent until he was out of sight, then wonder what he would do to us if he suspected. Our activities halted when any of the neighbors appeared, and once I saw Miss Maudie Atkinson staring across the street at us, her hedge clippers poised in midair.
The sun said twelve noon. Why are you tearing up that newspaper? Does this by any chance have anything to do with the Radleys? The first reason happened the day I rolled into the Radley front yard. Through all the head- shaking, quelling of nausea and Jem-yelling, I had heard another sound, so low I could not have heard it from the sidewalk.
Someone inside the house was laughing. Dill was in hearty agreement with this plan of action. Dill was becoming something of a trial anyway, following Jem about. He had asked me earlier in the summer to marry him, then he promptly forgot about it. He staked me out, marked as his property, said I was the only girl he would ever love, then he neglected me. I beat him up twice but it did no good, he only grew closer to Jem. They spent days together in the treehouse plotting and planning, calling me only when they needed a third party.
But I kept aloof from their more foolhardy schemes for a while, and on pain of being called a girl, I spent most of the remaining twilights that summer sitting with Miss Maudie Atkinson on her front porch.
Until Jem and Dill excluded me from their plans, she was only another lady in the neighborhood, but a relatively benign presence. Miss Maudie hated her house: With one exception.
If she found a blade of nut grass in her yard it was like the Second Battle of the Marne: Microscopic grains oozed out. Look here. When it comes fall this dries up and the wind blows it all over May comb County! Her speech was crisp for a Maycomb County inhabitant. She called us by all our names, and when she grinned she revealed two minute gold prongs clipped to her eyeteeth. She made the best cakes in the neighborhood. When she was admitted into our confidence, every time she baked she made a big cake and three little ones, and she would call across the street: In summertime, twilights are long and peaceful.
Often as not, Miss Maudie and I would sit silently on her porch, watching the sky go from yellow to pink as the sun went down, watching flights of martins sweep low over the neighborhood and disappear behind the schoolhouse rooftops.
She was rocking slowly in her big oak chair. How do you know? He gets more like Jack Finch every day. Miss Maudie was the daughter of a neighboring landowner, Dr. Frank Buford. Uncle Jack Finch confined his passion for digging to his window boxes in Nashville and stayed rich.
Nobody ever told me why. At home in the bathtub. True enough, she had an acid tongue in her head, and she did not go about the neighborhood doing good, as did Miss Stephanie Crawford. She had never told on us, had never played cat-and-mouse with us, she was not at all interested in our private lives. She was our friend. How so reasonable a creature could live in peril of everlasting torment was incomprehensible.
Thing is, foot-washers think women are a sin by definition. They take the Bible literally, you know. Arthur stays in the house, to keep away from women?
Looks like if Mr. I said what did you do, Stephanie, move over in the bed and make room for him? That shut her up a while.
I remember Arthur Radley when he was a boy. He always spoke nicely to me, no matter what folks said he did. Spoke as nicely as he knew how. The things that happen to people we never really know. Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets. Next morning when I awakened I found Jem and Dill in the back yard deep in conversation. When I joined them, as usual they said go away. I got just as much right to play in it as you have.
All right, what is it? It was all right for Miss Maudie to talk — she was old and snug on her porch. It was different for us. Jem was merely going to put the note on the end of a fishing pole and stick it through the shutters. If anyone came along, Dill would ring the bell. Dill raised his right hand. Think maybe I can make it stick on the window sill, at least. That clear? Among other things, he had been up in a mail plane seventeen times, he had been to Nova Scotia, he had seen an elephant, and his granddaddy was Brigadier General Joe Wheeler and left him his sword.