CliffsNotes, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

CliffsNotes, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

CliffsNotes, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

CliffsNotes, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Synopsis

The original CliffsNotes study guides offer expert commentary on major themes, plots, characters, literary devices, and historical background. The latest generation of titles in this series also feature glossaries and visual elements that complement the classic, familiar format.

In CliffsNotes on To Kill a Mockingbird, you explore Harper Lee's literary masterpiece - a novel that deals with Civil Rights and racial bigotry in the segregated southern United States of the 1930s. Told through the eyes of the memorable Scout Finch, the novel tells the story of her father, Atticus, as he hopelessly strives to prove the innocence of a black man accused of raping and beating a white woman.

Chapter summaries and commentaries take you through Scout's coming of age journey. Critical essays give you insight into racial relations in the South during the 1930s, as well as a comparison between the novel and its landmark film version. Other features that help you study include

  • Character analyses of the main characters
  • A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters
  • A section on the life and background of Harper Lee
  • A review section that tests your knowledge
  • A Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites

Classic literature or modern modern-day treasure - you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.

Excerpt

Dill goes back to Mississippi for the school year, and Scout turns her attention to starting first grade—something she’s been waiting for all her life. However, Scout’s first day at school is not at all the glorious experience she’d been expecting from the winters she spent “looking over at the schoolyard, spying on multitudes of children through a twopower telescope … learning their games, … secretly sharing their misfortunes and minor victories.”

Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, is new to teaching, new to Maycomb, and mortified that Scout already knows how to read and write. When Miss Caroline offers to lend Walter Cunningham lunch money, Scout is punished for taking it upon herself to explain Miss Caroline’s faux pas to her. (Walter refuses to take the money because his family is too poor to pay it back.)

Scout catches Walter on the playground, and starts to pummel him in retaliation for her embarrassment, but Jem stops her and then further surprises her by inviting Walter to have lunch with them. Scout is then punished by Calpurnia for criticizing Walter’s table manners. Back at school, Miss Caroline has a confrontation with Burris Ewell about his “cooties” and the fact that he only attends school on the first day of the year.

That evening, Scout tells Atticus about her day, hoping that she won’t have to go back to school—after all, Burris Ewell doesn’t. Atticus explains why the Ewells get special consideration and then tells Scout, “‘You never really understand a person … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’” These words stick with Scout, and she will try with varying degrees of success to follow Atticus’ advice throughout the course of the story.

Commentary

In these two chapters, Lee uses Scout to help the reader gain a better understanding of the Maycomb community and how it functions. Meeting Scout’s classmates paves the way for meeting their adult . . .

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