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Essay: To Kill a Mockingbird (book report)

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: 3 November 2015*
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  • Words: 2,595 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 11 (approx)

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A: Facts

1. Technical information

a) Title

To kill a mockingbird

b) Author

Harper Lee

c) Editor & year of edition

20th edition, 1986

d) Number of pages


e) Log: how long did it take you to read the book? A and how many hours did you spend on writing the report?

It takes me 14 hours or so to read the book and 7 hours of making the report.

2. Setting

a) Time: in which time is the story set’? Past, present or future?

In the past

Try to guess the year in which the story might be set.

In the time of the Great Depression and in the time that F. Roosevelt was president, so around 1929-1932. They also mention Hitler in the book, so it has to be around that time.

Give quotes of at least 3 lines from the story to prove your answers.

Well anyway, Hitler’s started a program to round up all the half-Jews too and he wants to register ’em in case they might wanta cause him any trouble and I think this is a bad thing and that’s my current event.’

b) Time: how much time does the story take? Does it take hours, months, years’? Try to guess how long the story takes. Be as exact as possible.

3 years. It starts in the summer and after that a court is taking place. Usually, that takes time. The story begins when Scout and Jem are 6 and 10 en ends at the age of 9 and 13.

Give quotes of at least 3 lines from the story to prove your answers. You need at least 2 quotes: one for the beginning of the story, one for the end.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill cam to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.

c) Place: Where is the story set’? Mention country/countries, town/towns.


Describe the surroundings: city / countryside; poor / rich, etc.

Maycomb is an old town. The people who live there are very poor or really rich.

Also state the social backgrounds; think about jobs, important events, use of language etc.

The father of Jem and Scout is a lawyer in contrast with Calpurnia, who is the black cook.

Give examples and quotes of at least 3 lines from the story to prove your answers. For each major location, you need to give a quote.

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day: bony mules hitched to Hoovercarts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

3. Characters

a) Main Characters:

Mention the names of the Main Characters. Mention the Protagonist, the Antagonist and at least one Third character.

Write at least five lines of information for each Main Character. Think about their role in the story, about their characters, their looks, their relationships with other characters, etc.

Protagonist: Scout Finch. Her real name is Jean Louise. She is the sister of Jem and the daughter of Atticus. She believes in the goodwill of people in their community. Though events that happen in the book, he faith will be tested. At the end, she is a more grown-up girl.

Antagonist: Jem Finch. His real name is Jeremy Atticus Finch. He is the brother of Scout and the son of Atticus. He loves to do pranks (kattenkwaad) at the beginning of the book, but in the end is he, like his sister, a more grown-up boy.

The Third: Dill. Real name: Charles Baker Harris. He is the neighbor of Jem and Scout, but he is also their friend. He is a confident boy and that is already clear at the first page of the book.

The Third: Dad: Atticus Finch. Nearly 50 and a successful lawyer. His wife died.

Also state for every character why you think it is a main character.

Scout: She tells the story.

Jem: All the things his sister does, he is almost every time with her.

Dill: He is a big part at the first chapters, later he disappeared, but he is the start of the story.

Atticus Finch: He is a big part of the family because there’s no longer a mother. He is a big example for his son and daughter.

b) Minor Characters: Write down the names of ALL the Minor Characters that play a role in the book.

Bob Ewell
Miss Maudie Atkinson
Aunt Alexandra
Mayella Ewell
Tom Robinson
Link Deas
Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose
Nathan Radley
Heck Tate
Mr. Underwood
Mr. Dolphus Raymond
Mr. Walter Cunningham
Walter Cunningham (the son of Mr. Walter Cunningham)
Mr. Gilmer

4. Title

a) Explain the title: why does the book bear this title?

The title of the book is “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The book explains that it is seen as a crime when you kill a mockingbird, because they do nothing but sing. In the story that is compared with judging a black person: they’re not different from the white people.

b) Give a quote of at least 3 lines in which the title is mentioned or in which the meaning of the title becomes clear.

Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

‘Your father’s right,’ she said. ‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

Shoot all the bluejays you for, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. Mockingbirds do not do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They do not eat up people’s gardens, They do not nest in the corn cribs, They do not do one thing but sing Their hearts out for us! That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

B: Your opinion

1. Which character did you like best?

a) Mention 1 character that you found the most sympathetic.


b) Explain why you thought he/she was sympathetic.

She is just that little girl that people want to squeeze in her cheeks. She thinks that everyone is nice. In the story is becomes a real girl.

c) Give a quote of at least 3 lines from the book to illustrate your answer.

‘An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ’cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things’ Atticus, he was real nice” His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’

2. Which character did you dislike?

a) Mention 1 character that you found unsympathetic.

The father of the r**ed girl.

b) Explain why you thought he/she was sympathetic.

He is angry with Atticus and wants revenge. However, he takes revenge on the children of Atticus and I think that is not fair.

c) Give a quote of at least 3 lines from the book to illustrate your answer.

I took one giant step and found myself reeling: my arms useless, in the dark, I could not keep my balance. ‘Jem, Jem, help me, Jem!’ Something crushed the chicken wire around me. Metal ripped on metal and I fell to the ground and rolled as far as I could, floundering to escape my wire prison. From somewhere near by came scuffling, kicking sounds, sounds of shoes and flesh scraping dirt and roots. Someone rolled against me and I felt Jem. He was up like lightning and pulling me with him but, though my head and shoulders were free, I was so entangled we didn’t get very far.

3. What did you feel when you read the story?

1. Mention at least two main emotions that you felt when you read the story.

1. I actually felt distance.
2. Love

2. Explain for each of the two emotions why you felt that emotion.

1. Because the story is written a long time ago.

2. Love for each other but also just acceptance and love for the place where they live.

3. Give a quote for each of the two emotions to explain your answers (min. 3 lines).

1. Here, Calpurnia explains her understanding of different kinds of people. Cal speaks proper English in the Finch home, proves that she is educated and cares about how she is perceived. On the other hand, she also shows respect for the people at her church and in her community by speaking the way they do. Here, Calpurnia also sets an example for Scout by telling her what it means to be ladylike.

2. Look at quote favourite part.

4. What is your favourite part?

a) Give a quote of at least 5 lines of your favourite part of the book.

I ran up the steps and into the house. Aunt Alexandra had gone to bed, and Atticus’s room was dark. I would see if Jem might be reviving. Atticus was in Jem’s room, sitting by his bed. He was reading a book. ‘Is Jem awake yet”?Sleeping peacefully. He won’t be awake until morning.’ ‘ Oh. Are you sittin’ up with him”?Just for an hour or so. Go to bed, Scout. You’ve had a long day.’ ‘Well, I think I’ll stay with you for a while.’

b) Explain what happens at this particular stage in the story.

Scout comes home and asked how Jem is doing. Dad says that he is doing okay and that Scout should go to bed, because it’s already after midnight.

c) Explain why you think this is the best part of the book.

This is a situation that Scout has to go to bed, but because of the love for Jem and for the love of her father, she stays awake at the side of his bed.

5. Message

The Message is the thing(s) the writer wants the reader to learn through the story. It is the underlying meaning of the book and also probably the reason why the writer wrote it. Think about what the writer wanted to make clear to his audience through this story.

a) What can you, as a reader, learn from the book?

That it is sin to kill a mockingbird. Either it is wrong to harm someone that doesn’t do any terrible thing to you. You first have to be in their position before you can judge someone.

b) How can you learn this message from the story?

It is said in the story.

c) Give a quote of at least 3 lines from a part of the book which shows the message of the book, the theme, the moral.

See quote by title.

6. Opinion

Did you like the book? Explain why / why not.

Not really. There were good parts, but it didn’t really address me. I think that is because of the ‘age’ of the story.

C: The Summary

Write a good and sensible summary of the story / book.

1) Make a complete summary of the book, per chapter, or divide the book into chunks of 10 to 20 pages and give a summary per chunk, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Your summary should be 1 ‘ 5 pages A4 (Arial 11).

Chapter 1

The book is narrated by Scout. Her real name is Jean Louise Finch. She starts with telling about her family story. First, why their family is in America and who her family is. Then their new neighbor comes by: Dill. He becomes their friend. He also get to know the story of Arthur Radley, also known as Boo.

Chapter 2

Dill leaves Maycomb and Scout goes to school for the first time. She doesn’t like her teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher. Jem says that the teacher just tries out a new method of teaching. Walter Cunningham, a poor boy and even a boy in Scout’s class hasn’t any food and Miss Caroline can lend money. Scout tells her teacher that he can’t pay her back and Miss Caroline slaps Scout.

Chapter 3

Scout blames Walter, but Jem invites him for lunch at their house. Calpurnia slaps Scout when she criticizes Walter’s way of eating. The reader get to know Burris Ewell, part of the family Ewell: little respect and really poor. At home, Scout tells her dad that she isn’t feeling well and Atticus says that she has to go to school, because it is the law.

Chapter 4

Scout first find two pieces of chewing gum in a knothole in one of the Radleys’ oak trees and tells Jem about it. He doesn’t like it. Later in the story, they find two old ”Indian-head” pennies. Dill returns to Maycomb. Scout and Jem and Dill are playing games again. One of the games gave Jem an idea for a new game: ‘Boo Radley’. Atticus catches them and think it’s suspicious. Jem, Dill and Scout wonder if they can ever play the game again.

Chapter 5

Scout begins to feel left out in the friendship of her, Jem and Dill. She becomes friends with Miss Maudie Atkinson. She says that Boo Radley is still alive and tells that he was always very kind and polite. Meanwhile, Jem and Dill are trying to meet Boo.

Chapter 6

Dill’s last day in Maycomb. He and Jem go to the house of Radley and peek in.

They see a shadow and want to leave, but Jem’s pants get caught on the fence.

When they come home, some neighbours are in the house. Atticus asks where the pants of Jem are, but they think up a lie.

Chapter 7

First day of school. When Jem and Scout walk home, they found some new things hidden in the knothole: a ball of gray twine. After a few days, they take it home. Scout is not happy about school, but Jem says that school will be getting better. Later that year, another present appears in the knothole. The next day is the knothole filled with cement. Mr. Radley says that he did it, because the tree was dying.

Chapter 8

Winter. Jem and Scout haul as much snow as they can find. They make a snowman, but he looks like Mr. Avery so much that Atticus want it to disappear. Jem and Scout add some accessories. That night is Miss Maudie’s house on fire. Scout gets a blanket from someone, but when Atticus asked who gave it to her, she doesn’t know it anymore. Jem thinks Boo Radley did it.

Chapter 9

When Christmas arrives, Atticus’ brother, Jack, comes to Maycomb. With Christmas they go to Finch’s Landing. There live the sister of Atticus and Jack: Alexandra and her husband. Francis is her grandson and he plays with Scout, but they got in a fight. Atticus says to Jack that Tom Robinson is innocent but doomed.

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