To Kill a Mockingbird Questions

Please use these questions to increase your comprehension as you read the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Please make note of four of the major themes of the novel, which are Prejudice, Understanding, Courage, and Coming of Age or Growing Up. Also the author’s comments on formal and informal education should become apparent to a discerning reader.


1. Within the first three paragraphs we learn a good deal about the story to be told to us. Can you guess at one major event that will end the story?



2. What can we assume about Atticus from the information at the middle of page 4?



3. Briefly describe the setting for our story.



4. On page 6, we read, “Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.” Who said this and approximately what time period are we dealing with in this story?



5. Describe Scout, our narrator.



6. Condense what you can about the Radleys, and tell what things you can assume to be true.



7. How reliable do you hold Miss Stephanie Crawford’s information to be?



8. At the end of Chapter 1, what does Jem compare to making Boo come out?



9. What ground rule does Jem establish for their relationship at school?



10. The author, Harper Lee, is developing a theme when she writes about Scout’s early school experiences. Read these experiences carefully and decide how Lee regards formal education.



11. What type of people are the Cunninghams? (It would be very easy to answer this with the simple answer of POOR; however, there is much more to the Cunninghams than their poverty.)

12.  Why are the last two sentences of Chapter two extremely ironic?



13. Describe Miss Caroline.



14. What is a hain’t?



15. Compare the behaviors of Jem and Scout in the Walter Cunningham fight.



16. Consider the description of how Walter and Atticus talk together at the table, then consider how Walter gauges the age of his younger brother. Is Walter a child? Defend your answer.



17. Make a guess as to why Scout asks if the Cunninghams paid a sack of potatoes for Walter’s younger brother.



18. We meet the people of Maycomb County by meeting their children at school. What are the differences between Burris Ewell (pronounced YOU el) and Walter Cunningham?



19. What does Burris’s confrontation with Little Chuck Little tell us about Burris, and what does Atticus add to that understanding on page 31?



20. At the top of page 30, Atticus gives Scout a speech about understanding people by looking at things from their point of view. This is the beginning of the major theme of the novel. Summarize the lesson Atticus is teaching Scout.



21. Page 42 – How did Miss Maudie spend most of her time?



22. According to Miss Maudie, why did Boo never come out?



23. Page 49 – What is the oldest lawyer’s trick on record?



24. Page 51 – Where did Jem, Scout, and Dill go Dill’s last night in Maycomb?


25. Page 54 – Whom did the neighbors say was in Mr. Radley’s collard patch?



26. Page 56 – Why did Jem and Scout first begin to part company?



27. Page 59 – What is hoo-dooing?



28. Why is the fire in the book?



29. What happened to Jem and Scout’s tree?



30. What does the snowman symbolize? (hint – mud on the inside, snow outside)



31. Page 72 – “Mr. Nathan put …ever hurt us, Atticus.” Of whom is Jem speaking?



32. Page 76 – According to Atticus, were they going to win the case?



33. What does Atticus ask Scout to do?



34. Using the information on pages 77-79, describe Uncle Jack.



35. Page 79 – Uncle Jack said cussing was okay when?



36. Describe Francis.



37. Page 88 – What was Maycomb’s disease?



38. Page 90 – According to Atticus, what was it a sin to do? Why?



39. Pages 90-91 – Why was Scout ashamed of Atticus?



40. What was the symbolism of the mad dog?



41. Why didn’t Atticus brag about his shooting ability?



42. What did Miss Stephanie do after Atticus had done their dirty work, when there was no danger and she could sit back safely?



43. Pages 98-99 – Why wouldn’t Jem care if Atticus couldn’t do a blessed thing?



44. Page 105 – What statements here are characteristic of Atticus?



45. Page 105 – Is the majority always right because it’s the majority? Then how do we know what’s right or wrong?



46. Page 108 – Why does Atticus say he is a “nigger lover”?



47. Even before Jem found out about Mrs. Dubose’s drug addiction, she had taught him courage – How?



48. Page 112 – What is real courage? Compare this with page 100, and with Atticus’s statement about losing the case on page 76.



49. Page 112 – Why was Jem fingering the petals? What was Atticus doing?



50. Page 115 – How do we know Jem is growing?



51. Page 116 – What was Jem’s maddening air of wisdom?



52. Pages 118-120 – Why do we get a glimpse into First Purchase? Why is it named that? What does this tell you about the black people? What did white men do there during the week?



53. Pages 125-126 – What does Calpurnia know about the appropriateness of language?



54. Page 126 – What does Cal know about being a lady?



55. Page 128 – Why couldn’t Scout talk with Aunty?



56. Describe Aunty.



57. Page 130 – What is Scout’s definition of fine folks?



58. Page 131 – Define caste system. Use a dictionary.



59. Pages 131-132 – Why is there discussion here about Maycomb?



60. Page 134 – Why did Scout begin to cry?



61. Page 139 – What was under Scout’s bed?



62. Page 141 – How did Jem break the remaining code of their childhood?



63. Page 148 – What was Scout’s new attitude toward Boo?



64. Pages 152-153 – How were Jem and Atticus alike here?



65. Pages 153-154 – How does Mr. Cunningham address Scout?



66. Page 156 – Of what did the scene at the courthouse remind Scout?



67. Page 157 – What did the children make Mr. Cunningham do?



68. Pages 160-162 – Who is Dolphus Raymond, and what is the story behind him? Is he trash? Why does he live with the Negroes?



69. Pages 162-163 – What is the Idlers’ Club?



70. Page 163 – What confused Scout?



71. Page 164 – Why did the townspeople rarely sit on juries?



72. Page 165 – Describe Judge Taylor.



73. Page 166 – Who was Mr. Tate?



74. Page 167 – What did Mr. Tate not do when he went out to the Ewells?



75. Pages 170-171 – Of what were the red geraniums symbolic? (See page 149.)



76. Who really beat up Mayella?



77. What kind of home life did the Ewells have?



78. Why did Atticus ask Bob Ewell to write his name?



79. Page 200 – Why did Dolphus Raymond entrust Scout and Dill with his secret?



80. Page 202 – What did Atticus do here that he never did? 



81. Page 211 – Why did Reverend Sykes tell Scout to stand up?



82. Page 213 – Jem questions, “How could they do it?” What is Atticus’s answer?


83. Page 213 – Why isn’t it time to worry yet?



84. Pages 214-215 – Why were there only two small cakes?



85. Why was Jem taking things harder than the other two?



86. Page 215 – “There are some men in this world born to…” Do what?



87. Page 216 – Why does Dill want to be a clown?



88. Page 219 – What is circumstantial evidence?



89. Page 220 – What here reminds you of the mad dog?



90. Pages 220-221 – Atticus defines trash. Who is trash?



91. Page 222 – Who was “rarin’ for an outright acquittal”?



92. Page 222 – Explain the Cunningham family.



93. Page 227 – According to Jem, why did Boo never come out?



94. Compare Aunty’s and Atticus’s definition of trash.



95. Page 225 – Why couldn’t Scout ask Walter to spend the night?



96. Pages 231-232 – According to the missionary circle ladies at the tea, what was the result of the trial among the “darkies”?



97. Page 234 – Define hypocrites. Use a dictionary.



98. Page 236 – What does Miss Maudie say about background?



99. Compare Scout’s bug on page 238 with the turtle on page 14.



100. Page 238 – Why wouldn’t Jem let Scout squash the bug? Write the answer to Scout’s question, “Why couldn’t I mash him?”



101. Page 241 – What did Mr. Ewell say about Tom’s death?



102. Page 243 – What had Atticus really known all along?



103. Page 244 – Define persecuting and prosecuting. Use a dictionary.



104. Why is the discussion about Hitler in the book?



105. Page 254 – What was Jem and Scout’s longest journey together?



106. Page 259 – How is Jem compared with Atticus?



107. Page 270 – Who carried Jem home?



108. Page 273-274 – Was Atticus a failure as a parent?



109. Page 275 – Where did Heck Tate get the switchblade?



110. Page 276 – Heck Tate says that “taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight – to me, that’s a sin.” Connect this statement to Atticus’s advice on page 90 and to the title of the novel.



111. Page 276 – One theme of the novel is Coming of Age or Growing Up. Explain how Scout’s discussion with Atticus at the bottom of the page develops this theme.

112. Page 278 – What is body English?




113. Page 278 – Was it true that Jem and Scout had given Boo nothing?




114. Page 278 – “I had never seen our neighborhood from this angle” – from whose point of view?




115. Page 279 – Scout summarizes the adventures of the novel and refers first to the children and then to his children – whose children?




116. Page 279 – Explain how the Growing Up theme is again evident.




117. Page 280 – What was Atticus doing?




118. Page 280 – Of what was The Gray Ghost symbolic?