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  1. To Kill a MockingbirdReading Journal Keep a section of your notebook dedicated to journal entries on the novel. This will be collected at the end of the book and count as a quiz grade. It will be graded on your willingness to explore the ideas posed to you, basically on your effort

  2. Reading Journal #1 • Who are you? Make a list of at least 10 important characteristics about you that help define who you are. Example, Mr. C: French and Native American; youngest of three children; father came here from Canada; parents never finished high school; first to attend college; likes all kinds of reading; likes music; likes surfing; thinks education is important; believes materialism is insidious; moved around a lot; etc. • To what extent do we determine our own identities? What influence does society have? • How does our need to fit in influence our identities? Is this a good or bad thing?

  3. Chapter 1 Discussion • Jem’s arm and the framing of the novel by the narrator • Setting (time and place) of the novel • Introduction of characters • Boo Radley’s punishment Reading Journal #2 Atticus was homeschooled by his grandfather and went to college in the state capital, Montgomery, before returning to the small town of Maycomb. How would this affect his identity? Would it make him different from other people in Maycomb? Explain.

  4. Chapter 2 Dicussion • Caroline Fisher as a foil character • Cunningham family values

  5. Chapter 3 Discussion • Atticus’ trick for getting along with people Reading Journal #3: Make a T-Chart and write down everything you can remember about the Cunningham Family and the Ewell Family. How are they alike? How are they different? What is Harper Lee trying to show us through these foil families?

  6. Chapter 4 Discussion • What is the significance of the Radley tree? • The game called Boo Radley • What does Scout hear from inside the Radley house? Reading Journal #4: People in Maycomb are aware of the legend of Boo Radley, but we don’t see much interest from them. Why do you think the children are so fascinated with Boo Radley while the adults are not?

  7. Chapter 5 Discussion • Scout’s friendship with Maudie Atkinson and what we learn about Boo Radley? • Maudie Atkinson’s statement, “sometimes Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle . . .” What is she implying? • Why does Dill lie about his background? • Atticus’ rebuke of the children for playing Boo Radley.

  8. Chapter 6 Discussion • What mischief do the kids get up to in this chapter? • Why does Jem risk being shot at to go back for his pants?

  9. Chapter 7 Discussion • What are some of the items the kids find in the Radley Oak tree? Why is someone putting things in the knothole? • What was odd about Jem’s pants? • What happens to the knothole? What is Jem’s reaction?

  10. Chapter 8 Discussion • Reading Journal #5: Scout uses the word “nigger” when referring to the snowman. Do you consider Scout to be racist for using this term? Explain. • While Maudie’s house is burning down and the Finch’s house is smoldering, why do the kids watch Atticus for his reaction? Why does Atticus act they way he does? • Who puts the blanket around Scout? Why her?

  11. Chapter 9 Discussion(important chapter for understanding Atticus’ character) • Interesting quotes about the Tom Robinson case. What do they tell us about the community?: • Scout, “Well if you don’t want me to grow up talkin’ that way, why do you send me to school?” • Atticus, “If I didn’t [defend Tom Robinson] I couldn’t hold my head up in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the state legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.” • Atticus, “This time we aren’t fighting the Yankess, we’re fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things get, they’re still our friends and this is still our home.” • Cecil, “My folks said your daddy was a disgrace an’ that nigger oughta hang from the water tank!” • Francis, “Grandma [Aunt Alexandra, Atticus’ sister] says it’s bad enough he [Atticus] lets you all run wild, but now he’s turned out a nigger-lover we’ll never be able to walk the streets of Maycomb again. He’s ruinin the family.” • Atticus’ statement, “Simply because we were licked [beaten] a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”

  12. Chapter 9 Discussion • What is Aunt Alexandra like? Why is she different from Atticus and Uncle Jack? • At the end of the chapter, why does Atticus let Scout eavesdrop on his conversation with his brother, Jack?

  13. Chapter 9 Discussion • Reading Journal #6: • We wrote about the need to fit in (conformity) in our first reading journal entry. All communities compel their members to conform to some extent, but how they go about using their power, forcing people to fit in, is interesting. Consider our school community: • List three explicit (specifically stated in the handbook) rules of being a PVMHS student. State what happens when you are caught breaking them. • List one implicit (implied but not stated; unspoken but understood) rule of being a PVMHS student. These rules are not always enforced by offical authority figures, but by the members of the community themselves. State what happens when you are caught breaking this rule. • Which type of rule (explicit or implicit) is it worse to be caught breaking? Whom would you rather be punished by, the administration or the community? Explain. • Now, consider the community of Maycomb. Which type of rule (explicit or implicit) is Atticus breaking by vigorously defending his client, Tom Robinson? What might be his punishment for breaking this rule? Why does he risk this punishment?

  14. Chapter 10 Discussion • How does Atticus’ children feel about his age? • Symbolism of the mockingbird and the book’s title. • What makes the kids change their opinion of Atticus? Why didn’t he reveal this talent of his? • Reading Journal #7: Do you think Atticus is a good father? Explain why or why not.

  15. Conformity and Integrity “Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong . . .” [said Scout] “[. . .] The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” [said Atticus] 2 Types of Conformity: • 1. Informational Conformity: not being sure of the correct action and agreeing with the majority. Example: working on a math problem in a group, one member doesn’t understand the problem so agrees with the group answer. • 2. Normative Conformity: knowing what the correct action is, but going along with the majority anyhow. Example: Giving a substitute teacher a hard time and not doing the assignment because everyone else is behaving that way. • Your next reading journal will be about the pressures of conformity. Pay attention to the way people react in each situation and identify the type of conformity: • the Asch Comformity Test • the “line to nowhere” in Brain Games • the elevator experiment

  16. Conformity and Integrity “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”--Atticus • 2 Types of Conformity: • Informational Conformity: not being sure of the correct action and agreeing with the majority. Example: working on a math problem in a group, one member doesn’t understand the problem so agrees with the group answer. • Normative Conformity: knowing what the correct action is, but going along with the majority anyhow. Example: Giving a substitute teacher a hard time and not doing the assignment because everyone else is behaving that way. • Reading Journal #8: Identify which type of conformity was at work in the three examples we just watched: Asch Experiment, Line to Nowhere, Elevator Experiment. • What did you learn about human nature and conformity from viewing these experiments? • Which type of conformity is Atticus facing by doing his best to defend Tom Robinson? After having viewed the power of conformity at work, how is Atticus able to resist conforming to the racist views of the majority?

  17. Chapter 11 Discussion • Jem’s conflict with Mrs. Dubose. • What is Atticus’ advice for dealing with Mrs. Dubose’s verbal abuse? • What is Jem’s punishment for his vandalism? Why does Mrs. Dubose want this? • According to Atticus, courage is not a man with a gun in his hand, but what? • Why is Jem upset after he receives his gift from Mrs. Dubose?

  18. Ch. 12 Discussion • During Scout and Jem’s visit to Calpurnia’s church, they learn many things. What do they learn from: • Calpurnia’s preparations of the children • the way the people react when the white children approach • the encounter with Lula • the singing of the hymns • the collection for Helen Robinson • Calpurnia’s “command of two languages” as Scout puts it. Reading Journal #9: In one paragraph, explain how this visit to Calpurnia’s church helps the children better understand the community of Maycomb.

  19. Ch. 13 Dicussion • Indirect Characterization: what is the first thing that Aunt Alexandra says to Scout, Jem, and Cal as they return from church? What does it show about her? • Alexandra’s preoccupation with heredity, or “streaks” as she calls it. What does it show about her?

  20. Ch. 13 Discussion • Archetype of the ideal Southern lady [Alexandra], according to literary critic, Joseph Flora: • “She served her husband, bending to him in all matters; she was maternal, bearing children regularly and caring for them lovingly; she possessed great skill in the domestic sphere, running kitchen and nursery, overseeing the household in all areas, dispensing medicine, always hospitable, pious, self-effacing, and kind. She was essential to the patriarchy, assuring well-brought-up children, a well-run home, and complete comfort for her husband.” • How does this description explain Alexandra’s dealings with Scout, and, to a lesser degree, Jem? • Why is Atticus angry at the end of the chapter?

  21. Ch. 14 Discussion • Atticus and Alexandra’s disagreement about Calpurnia. • Signs of Jem maturing. • Dill’s reappearance and his conversation with Scout in bed.

  22. Ch. 15 Discussion • Why is Atticus determined to have the truth of the case come out, even if Tom does go the electric chair? • Scout’s response to Dill when he asks her to have a poke at Boo Radley. • The nighttime scene at the jail: • Why is Atticus there? • How does Scout defuse the deadly situation? • What is Dill’s reaction to the scene?

  23. Ch. 16 Discussion • What is ironic about Braxton Bragg Underwood protecting Atticus? • When Atticus and Scout discuss the lynch mob, why does Atticus suggest the police force should be made up of children? • What do we know about Dolphus Raymond? • What important piece of information about the trial does Scout overhear from the Idler’s Club? • Where do Scout and Jem sit during the trial? What might this show about them?

  24. Lynch Mob at the Jail • As we view documentary The Stanford Prison Experiment consider the following question. You will answer it after the film: • Reading Journal #10: Why do good people (Walter Cunningham) take part in terrible acts (attempted lynching of Tom Robinson)? Is environment/situation stronger than identity (a person’s principles and beliefs about him or herself).Explain. • Atticus is under the same pressures of conformity as other people in Maycomb, so how was he able to stand up against this crowd?

  25. Reading Journal #10 • Why do good people (Walter Cunningham) take part in terrible acts (attempted lynching of Tom Robinson)? Is environment/situation stronger than identity (a person’s principles and beliefs about him or herself).Explain. • Atticus is under the same pressures of conformity as other people in Maycomb, so how was he able to stand up against this crowd?

  26. Situations have the power to do 3 things: 1. Inflame the hostile imagination of people who hurt others (physically or psychologically) 2. Inspire the heroic imagination of ordinary people who will help others 3. Render most people passive bystanders who allow both hostile and heroic acts. • Did you see all these groups in the Stanford Prison Experiment? • Other negative examples of the power of setting/situation: • Class A and Class B Students: how they changed and how the teachers changed. • Jane Elliot’s research into blue and brown-eyed elementary school students. • Now for some positive examples! • Heroes are ordinary people whose actions are extraordinary: they deviate from the group in questions of morality and act when others are passive. • Wesley Autrey, 52-year-old, construction-worker in NYC, father of 2 who saved an unconscious man on the subway tracks. “I did what anyone could do.” • The people who defended the worker in What Would You Do? • “Art provides us an imaginative rehearsal for life.” –George Santayana, philosopher. • You may only get one real chance in your life to be a hero and inspire others. For Atticus and for us, situation/setting is a powerful force for conformity. Atticus has stated how he will act, but what will you do if you get your chance to be passive or heroic?

  27. Ch. 17 Discussion-Beginning of the Trial • Heck Tate’s testimony: • Atticus’ first question to Heck Tate • MayellaEwell’s injuries • Bob Ewell’s testimony: • Ewell’s house as a foil to the houses in the black community • What’s ironic about one corner of the Ewell’s property? • Atticus’ first question to Bob Ewell • Why does Atticus ask Bob to sign his name? What does this prove?

  28. Ch. 18 Discussion • MayellaEwell’s testimony: • Description of Mayella • Inconsistencies between Mayella’s testimony and her father’s? • Mayella feels like Atticus is making fun of (mocking) her. Why? • What distinguishing feature does Tom Robinson have? How is this relevant?

  29. Ch. 19 Discussion • Tom Robinson’s testimony: • How does Tom Robinson know Mayella? • According to Scout, what do Boo and Mayella have in common? • Where were the rest of the Ewell children when the alleged assault took place? • Creepiest moment of the whole book • How does Mr. Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney, treat Tom Robinson on the stand? • Why does Dill start crying? • Reading Journal #11: We’ve discussed the power of setting or situation (culture of racism in the south, or, on a smaller scale, Mayella’s living situation within this culture), and we’ve watched videos of this power at work (elevator experiment, Stanford Prison Experiment, etc). Do you feel that Mayella is a perpetrator or victim in the Tom Robinson case? Does she fit the mockingbird symbol (innocence and weakness)?

  30. Ch. 20 Discussion Dolphus Raymond: • Why does Dolphus Raymond drink out of a paper sack when he’s in town? • Why does he tell this information to Scout and Dill? • What does Dolphus think of Atticus? Atticus’ Summation: • Before he begins his summation, what does Atticus do that horrifies Jem and Scout? • According to Atticus, what implied rule of the south did Mayella break? • What does Atticus state is the function of the court? • How do the two non-racist characters, Dolphus and Atticus, deal with the issue of racism in their community? Which of these two characters is more likely to cause change in this racist setting?

  31. Ch. 21 Discussion • Why does the jury refuse to look at Tom Robinson as they enter the courtroom with their verdict? • Jem’s reaction to the verdict? • What does this guilty verdict mean for the black community? For the white community? • Gesture of respect for Atticus from the black community. • Reading Journal #12: What was fair and unfair about Tom Robinson’s trial? Make a T-chart. • What effect do the unwritten (implied) rules of a society have on the law (explicit rules) and the way that it is upheld? What happens when these unwritten rules are in conflict with the law? For example, do the wealthy or some ethnic groups have greater privileges, even though we all live under the same laws?

  32. Ch. 22 Discussion • At this point in the novel, Scout, Jem, and Dill have all wept. What were the instances? What have they all learned? • When Jem asks Atticus how the jury could have possibly found Tom Robinson guilty, Atticus responds, “I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it—seems only children weep.” What does he mean? • Maudie tries to cheer up Jem by revealing that there are many people like her who would like to see their culture of racism change, but not many who actively challenge the injustice: there are bystanders and heroes. Who are the bystanders and the heroes? • Reading Journal #13: Identify a time when you went out of your way to help somebody else (friends, family, or strangers). What was the situation? What did you do? • Identify a time when you knew something was wrong or unfair, but you did not intervene to improve the situation. What was the situation? What did you fail to do? • Analyze what led you to act in one situation and not the other. In general, what causes bystander behavior and heroic behavior?

  33. Ch. 23 Discussion • Why does Atticus take Bob Ewell’s abuse? What does Atticus think about having a gun around for self defense? • What part did one of the Cunningham’s play in the jury’s deliberation? • What does Jem realize about Boo Radley?

  34. Ch. 24 Discussion • How would you describe the ladies of the Missionary Circle? • What news does Atticus bring about Tom Robinson? • What does the conversation between Alexandra and Maudie reveal about Alexandra?

  35. Ch. 25 Discussion • What type of editorial did Braxton Bragg Underwood write about the trial? Why is it ironic that he wrote it?

  36. Ch. 26 • Scout’s changing view of Boo Radley • What does Atticus’ reelection to the state legislature show about the community? • The analogy of the persecution of the Jewish people in Germany. • What did Scout overhear her teacher saying after the trial? Does a teacher’s views affect their students? • Reading Journal #14: Scout naively defines democracy as “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none,” but, of course, there is more to a democracy than that. What are the responsibilities of being a citizen in a democracy? What must we do in order to have the fair society that Scout alludes to? • In Maycomb, how do the citizens fail in their duties toward their society?

  37. Ch. 27 Discussion • Three actions of Bob Ewell. What could these foreshadow? • The conflict between Link Deas and Bob Ewell. Is this a hopeful sign? • Scout’s Halloween costume.

  38. Ch. 28 Discussion • The mockingbird in the tree? Foreshadowing? • Plot: Scout’s behavior at the pageant. How does this set up the scene underneath the tree? • What happened underneath the tree?

  39. Ch. 29 Discussion • Boo Radley’s metamorphosis. • Harper Lee’s description of Boo. Great writing? Or, am I crazy?

  40. Ch. 30 • At the beginning of the chapter, what is Atticus’ belief about what went down under the tree? • What is the official story that Sheriff Heck Tate says they are going with? • Why is the conflict between Atticus and Heck important to the story? What does it show about the views of Atticus and Heck? • Reading Journal #15: Heck Tate repeats that he’s not a “good” man, because he’s willing to be deceitful in his duties as sheriff. Do you agree? Whose side are you on, his or Atticus’? Are you for or against lying?

  41. Ch. 31 Discussion • What does Boo’s body language reveal about him? • Scout’s quote about walking Boo back to his house, “I would lead him through our house, but I would never lead him home.” • Scout’s climb onto the Radley’s porch, and her view of the street. What does she come to realize? • Scout and Atticus’ discussion of The Grey Ghost. • Implications of the last sentence.

  42. Reading Journal #16 • How can books like To Kill a Mockingbird help us reach a deeper understanding of ourselves and our growth as moral and ethical people? How can it help shape the way we think and act?