To Kill a Mockingbird is about growing up.Harper Lee
The main character is a girl named Scout Finch,
who is about to turn six when the book begins in a twin of ends.
The book is about what she learns about people and about life
over the course of those two years.
The book takes place between 1933 and 1935 in Maycomb Alabama.
It’s a small sleepy town in the deep south.
Scout’s father Atticus is a lawyer,
but they don’t have much money, because his clients are poor.
斯科特与父亲 哥哥杰姆 还有厨师卡波妮一起生活
Scout lives with her father, her brother Jem and their cook Calpurnia.
Her mother’s dead.
During the summers, a friend named Dill comes to stay next door,
and he spends the summer playing with Scout and Jem.
Scout basically learns four major lessons over the course of the book.
She learns them partly from Atticus and partly from her own experience.
Lesson 1:Put yourself in other people’s shoes
The first Lesson is that you don’t understand someone
until you put yourself in their shoes.
She takes a while to master this one,
and the storyline for the first part of the book mostly shows her getting it wrong.
Across this street from where Scout lives is the Redley house.
The family that lives in it is very unsocial,
and the son Arthur Redley is a man in his 30s
who hasn’t been seen outside in many years.
The children in the town refer the Arthur is Boo Redley
as if he were a ghost.
They have this horrible picture of what he’s like,
that he eats rodents and cats that he catches,
that he’s ugly and drooling,
and that he’ll kill any child he catches.
The real story of Arthur Redley is that he got in trouble
with the law for being a bit wild and disorderly when he was a teenager.
His father never let him out of the house again,
now his father’s dead and he lives with his older brother,
but he still a complete recluse.
Throughout the first part of the book,
Scout and Jem and Dill play games involving the Redley house.
They run past it, they dare each other to touch it.
Then one day they start finding presents like gum and pennis
hidden in a hole in a tree.
Boo Redley is leaving gifts for them,
though it takes a long time for them to realize it.
The kids make schemes to get Boo Redley
to come out of the house so they can see him.
One night, they sneak around to the back of the house
to try to get a look at him through the window.
They get shot at by the older brother Nathan.
Jem gets his pants caught in a fence.
Boo Redley fixes them and leaves them out for Jem.
One night when it’s very cold,
Scout and Jem are standing outside
because one of the neighbors houses is on fire.
Boo Redley puts a blanket around Scout.
She never even realizes it, she still imagins he’s really scary,
and she freaks out when she realizes he was behind her.
So over the course of the year, they gradually realize
he’s actually nice but much more slowly than we do.
Lesson 2:Don’t kill mockingbirds
The second important lesson in the book is that you don’t kill mockingbirds.
This lesson has a literal meaning.
When Atticus gives the kids air rifles,
they’re allowed to shoot at whatever birds they want,
but not mockingbirds.
Because mockingbirds don’t eat anyone’s plants or harm anything,
all they do is make music.
Mockingbird has a metaphorical meaning to,
anyone who is weak or defenceless.
To kill a mockingbird in that sense
is to take advantage of someone weaker than you.
Lesson 3:Keep fighting even if you know you’ll lose
The second phase of the book involves Tom Robinson.
Tom is a black man who has been arrested and charged with
raping a white woman named Mayella Ewell.
Atticus Finch has been appointed as his defense attorney,
and he’s determined to do good job at it,
even though he knows he’s going to lose because of racism.
Everybody in the town is racist to one degree or anothor,
and Scout and Jem wind up getting teased and talked about
becuase their father is defending a black man for a crime like that.
Atticus doesn’t want them to fight the other kids,
but to try to keep calm and keep their heads up
in the face of adversity.
He wants to teach them the lesson that ture bravery
is when you keep fighting and persevering,
even when you know you can’t win.
One evening, Tom Robinson has been move to
the County Jail before his trial.
And Atticus sits outside the door of the jailhouse
with his chair propped against the door.
A group of men comes to Lynch Tom,
and Atticus blocks their way.
Scout and Jem and Dill come looking for Atticus,
and Scout starts talking to one of the men,
because she goes to school with his son.
The man tells the rest of the mob to disperse
and they all go home.
Scout and Jem sit in the courthouse and watch the trial
along with the rest of the town.
Atticus does a great job with his defense
and the children think he’s going to win.
For one thing Mayella Ewell the victim
and her father Bob Ewell,
the other witness for the prosecution
are both obnoxious and don’t seem very trustworthy.
Also, the physical evidence is against them,
Mayella bruises are on the right side of her face,
and Tom can’t even use his left arm,
but Bob Ewell is left-handed,
he could have beaten his daughter.
Then Tom tells a convicing story on the witness stand
that Mayella tried to seduce him,
and Bob Ewell caught her and beat her up,
and she accused Tom of rape.
But despite Atticus’s brilliant defense,
the jury convicts Tom.
Because white jury is not going to acquit a black man
accused of raping a white woman.
Lesson 4: The world is very unfair
The children are crushed by Tom’s conviction
as Atticus knew all along they would be.
In one dramatic moment,
they learn about the evil side of their whole community
and the fact that even the justice system is tainted by unfairness.
Bob Ewell carries a grudge against Atticus for making a fool of him,
and he threatens to get revenge.
Scout and Jem are coming home in the dark from a pageant,
Ewell attacks them with a switchblade and tries to kill them.
He breaks Jem’s arm by twisting it.
Boo Redley hears their cries and comes out of his house
and kills Bob Ewell with a kitchen knife.
Though Jem and Scout don’t actually understand this is happening
at the time, because of the dark.
The sheriff and Atticus discuss what to do
about Bob Ewell’s death.
Atticus wants to say that Jem killed him in self-defense,
so he can clear his name publicly,
and there won’t be any rumors that they covered it up.
The sheriff says no way,
Jem couldn’t possibly have done it.
The sheriff insists that the story will be that
Bob Ewell tripped on a root and fell on his own knife.
The reason the sheriff sticks to this story is that
he knows Arthur Redley must have killed Ewell
and even though he doesn’t think this is crime,
even thinks the town would treat him like a hero,
and leave cakes on his porch.
He knows that this amount of public attention
would be devastating to a recluse like Arthur.
Since Arthur saved the children’s lives,
the best reward is to let him keep his privacy.
Atticus is afraid to do this,
because his children have just lived through this miscarriage
of justice in the trial.
And if they see Atticus as bending the law,
because of his association with the sheriff.
He fears they won’t ever respect him again,
but Scout tells Atticus that she understands,
making a hero out of Boo would be like killing a mockingbird.
That’s a climactic moment in the book,
because it means she has absorbed the lesson about mockingbirds.
Despite having seen the unfairness of life,
she sees its value as well.
Arthur is actually very childlike himself
and there’s a scene where he asks Scout to walk him
across the street back to his own house because he is afraid.
After she does so,
she looks from Redley porch
and imagines all of her own activities over the past
couple of years has seen through Arthur’s eyes.
That’s one she finally grasps the first lesson about understanding people
by putting yourself in their shoes.
For more information about To Kill a Mockingbird,
check out the To Kill a Mockingbird SparkNote on sparknotes.com