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Essay: To Kill a Mockingbird – chapter by chapter summary

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 7 minutes
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  • Published: 15 November 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 2,109 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 9 (approx)

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Chapter 1:

In the first chapter, we are introduced to Jean Louise Finch. She is very often called Scout and she has an older brother named Jem. We discover the past of her family in the chapter. The history told of her family dates back to her early ancestors who settled in America. Her ancestors who were a part of the farm that was known as Finch’s Landing were prosperous. Jem and Scout’s mother died when they were young. A boy who moved near them named Dill proposes that they try to ambush a neighbor known as Boo Radley.

Chapter 2:

The Finch’s previous neighbor Dill leaves to his home in Meridian as summer ends. The school year starts for Jem and Scout. Miss Caroline doesn’t like how much knowledge Scout possesses. Walter Cunningham is mentioned in the chapter for not having a lunch with him, unlike the rest who have their lunches.Scout tells Miss Caroline that the Cunningham’s don’t take things from others and only get by with what they have. The Cunninghams father hired Scouts dad for lawful work which she recalls but cannot mention.  At the end of Chapter 2, Miss Caroline makes Scout go in the corner of the room as punishment. Due to saying Walter felt embarrassed for not being able to take the money that was offered to him.

Chapter 3:

Scout finds Walter Cunningham on school grounds and attempts to hurt him because she got in trouble. Jem doesn’t allow it to go on and is explained by Scout what happened. Jem offers Walter to lunch and after they return back to school. When school ends, Scout has thoughts to run away due to how her first day of school worked out. Her father and she made a deal that if Scout continued with school, that they would continue reading each day.

Chapter 4:

The school has finally come to a close and once again it is summertime for the Finches. A few times on their way home they had found tinfoil that had something in it such as gum. The previous time they had found tinfoil which hidden behind it was a jewelry box and two Indian head pennies. Near the end of the chapter, they are playing around and creating games for them to play. Scout was thrown out of a tire and landed in Radley’s front yard. Scout is certain that she heard noise from inside the Radley house. She thinks that she heard laughter.

Chapter 5:

Dill returns from his other home in Meridian since it is again summertime in the story. This chapter features Scout, Jem, Dill, Miss Maudie and Atticus. Scout gets some information about the mysterious neighbor Boo Radley and his family from Miss Maudie. From what Scout was told, the Radleys don’t focus on the place they’re living in now and they pay more attention to the next world.

Chapter 6:

This chapter follows Jem, Scout, and Dill who visit Dill’s aunts fish pond. Scout becomes afraid when she thinks she sees a person’s shadow. The apparent shadow goes near Jem and they become very alarmed. They try to get far away from where they were and suddenly there’s a gun-like sound coming in their direction. They believe someone tried to shoot them. Miss Maudie informs the children that what they heard was Mr. Radley trying to shoot something in the yard.

Chapter 7:

School starts again and Scout goes into the second grade. They notice by a tree there is some twine inside of it. Then about a month after, they would find more things near the tree. Towards the last of this chapter, the place where the stuff would always be was covered in cement. Mr. Nathan says the cement was placed there in an attempt to help the tree get better because it was ill.

Chapter 8:

Atticus finds out Mrs. Radley passed away and he decides to visit the Radleys to apologize for the loss they are experiencing. Afterwards, Jem and Scout ask Atticus if he noticed the flesh of Boo which the answer was no. Jem and Scout had a day off from school due to the snowy weather. There is a fire late at night in the house of Miss Maudie. Atticus gets Scout up to inform him of the fire. Atticus has a discovery once the fire is gone. A blanket appeared which wasn’t there before and he believes Boo Radley was there at one point.

Chapter 9:

Scout wanted to fight Cecil Jacobs when she used the word nixxers which is a horrible word to say. Atticus is in agreement with Scout about the word nixxer and tells Cecil not to use it again. A different day at school, Scout is wanting to fight with her again until Cecil remembers Atticus’s say in the conversation and goes elsewhere. As Christmas arrives Scout and Jem have to see their Uncle Jack and Aunt Alexandra.

Chapter 10:

Scout and Jem go out one day to see wildlife that is nearby and discover a dog acting strangely. They call a town operator and inform about the dog. Atticus kills the dog with a weapon and Scout returns to school talking about her father even though Jem said not to. Miss Maudie he used to be called by Ol’ One Shot and was known by that.

Chapter 11:

Scout feels older as a second grader and decides bothering Boo Radley is childish. Jem turns twelve and goes downtown to spend the birthday money he received. The Tom Robinson case is causing conflict with Scout and Jem. Jem gets a box and thinks it means everything is okay.

Chapter 12:

Jem and Scout find out that Dill won’t be there in the summertime and that Atticus will be away for two weeks. Calpurnia takes Jem and Scout to church with her since they can’t go on their own because of a previous incident at the church.  Scout and Jem learn more about Calpurnia like how she learned to read from Miss Buford.

Chapter 13:

Scout and Jem get placed under the care of Aunt Alexandra for the time being. They discover their aunt’s belief that the Finches are better than all the other families. Scout and Jem get told about the wonderfulness of their past family generations and fright hits because it is weird to be spoken to in such a way. Atticus says to not remember what was said.

Chapter 14:

Aunt Alexandra does not continue discussing their family because of how Scout reacted with crying when previously talking about it. Their aunt does not approve of Scout going out to see Calpurnia. Aunt Alexandra didn’t want Calpurnia around anymore but Atticus wouldn’t let that happen.

Chapter 15:

There is some tension in this chapter when men threaten and dispute with Atticus. Atticus drives which is unusual for him to do so the children see where he is headed. Afterwards, the kids and Atticus return home after the big intervention.

Chapter 16:

The kids go to the courthouse and due to the crowds, Scout gets temporarily separated from Jem and Dill. Once they find each other again, they find spots for themselves in the white section. The trial has already gone on and the witness is Mr. Heck Tate.

Chapter 17:

The case involves Mr. Tate who found Bob Ewell’s child very injured. Mr. Tate accuses Tom Robinson of what happened to the girl. Jem believes the person who is at fault will get caught and therefore he feels happy.

Chapter 18:

The girl who the case is about Bob Ewell’s daughter makes her statement. Atticus asks her questions involving the case. Ewell’s daughter (Mayella) specifies that Tom was the one who raped her. Tom’s left hand is damaged therefore he wasn’t the one to beat Mayella.  Mayella doesn’t answer many of the questions that were asked. Atticus has another witness to bring to the court and he believes he can finish up with the case soon.

Chapter 19:

Tom Robinson gives his testimony and shares his side of things. Apparently, Tom heard Maywell’s father say “you goddam whore, I’ll kill ya” and Tom left suddenly to get away from where he was. He had to run even though it made him look responsible for what happened. Mr. Gilmer asks questions and Tom said that Maywell has the wrong remembrance.

Chapter 20:

Atticus tells the courtroom that stereotyping African Americans isn’t fair and that no race is superior to them. He justifies his claim and attempts to be agreed with. Atticus completes his say in the case and Calpurnia heads over to where Atticus is.

Chapter 21:

Calpurnia passes on a message from Aunt Alexandra and gives it to Atticus. Scout and Jem are taken home and after dinner, they head back to the courtroom. The end result of the case was that the finding was considered guilty. Atticus leaves the courtroom and when he makes his way out people of African race show appreciation for trying to win the case.

Chapter 22:

Jem was visibly upset about how the case concluded. The kids visit their Aunt Maudie and further discuss the case. When the kids leave their aunts house, they are told that it was dangerous to be out as Atticus was threatened by Mr. Ewell.

Chapter 23:

The kids are scared that the threat will turn into action and Atticus finds humor from the threat that was made. Atticus approaches a conversation about the law with Jem since he was getting old enough to learn about more serious things. There is an accusation about why Boo Radley doesn’t ever leave his house. The assumption is that he doesn’t want to be near others of humanity because there is strangeness involved.

Chapter 24:

Jem teaches Dill how to swim and Scout helps Aunt Alexandra with her tea that she will sell to raise money for church funds. Scout was asked if she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up and she replied no. Scout’s aunt has anger for the town about how they’re handling everything with Atticus.

Chapter 25:

Dill returns to his home in Meridian because the school has started there again. Tom dies and his death becomes the talk of the town. Mr. Ewell said that now that Tom died he is after one more person.

Chapter 26:

Jem goes into seventh grade and Scout enters the third grade for the new school year. Scout learns about Hitler in her class. Atticus gets a question from Scout which i”s it okay to hate Hitler?” The short answer from Atticus is no not even him. Scout talks to Jem about things that are on her mind.

Chapter 27:

It’s October in Maycomb and for Halloween, there is a carnival planned to avoid chaos with the kids who live in the town. There is drama with Atticus and Mr. Ewell. Mr. Ewell is on welfare and says Atticus is responsible that he is out of work.

Chapter 28:

The night of the carnival arrives and when it’s over Scout and Jem walk out. Jem knows they have a stalker and then Scout figures out about the stalker on her own. The stalker heads over to them and a fight goes on. Jem breaks his arm and gets a concussion. Dr. Reynolds helps him and checks on Scout who’s head was also inflicted. Mr. Ewell was stabbed and killed which they were told by Mr. Tate,

Chapter 29:

Atticus gets told about what happened from Scout and Mr. Tate shares what he discovered about Mr. Ewell’s body. We find out in this chapter that Mr. Ewell was the one to go after Scout and Jem. A stranger comes near them and Scout soon realizes that it’s Boo Radley.

Chapter 30:

Jem’s case for the court is discussed by Atticus and Mr. Tate. It turns out that Mr. Arthur was the one who killed Mr. Ewell and no one says that’s what happened due to potential charges of murder he might face.  It says in the chapter that no one cared much for Mr. Ewell even though that won’t help their case.

Chapter 31:

Scout takes Boo Radley back to his home and once he enters she never encounters him again. In the end, she felt bad for all he did and that they never did anything for him in return. Atticus reads to Scout a book called The Gray Ghost. Scout learned that the Radley’s were not as they originally seemed, that they were decent people.

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