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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
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1.Walter Cunningham, one of Scout's classmates, is invited to have lunch with the family. Atticus shows an interest in Walter's home life and asks him about farming. Why do you think Atticus treats him this way? What do you think Scout learned from this visit?
2.Why do you think that Jem, Scout and Dill turn Boo Radley's story into a game?
3.Atticus feels he should do his best to defend Tom Robinson. How unusual would it be for a white lawyer to do his best for a black client in Alabama at that time (the 1930s)? Why?
4.Is Mayella like her father or different from him? In what ways?
5.What did you think about the scene when the town ladies were talking about the Mrunas in Africa?
6.Does the story want us to think that Atticus has forfeited or upheld his principles when he allows sheriff Heck Tate to keep Boo from trial? Do you think Boo should have been put on trial?
7.How much of a surprise is it to find what Boo Radley is really like? How does the story prepare you for this?
8.Jem and Scout receive a series of mysterious presents in the knothole of an oak tree by the Radley house. Two pieces of chewing gum, two Indian-head coins, two figures carved out of soap, a packet of gum, a spelling medal and a broken pocket watch. Are these random gifts, or do they tell you something about the giver?
9.The mockingbird of the proverb is a harmless creature which does its best to please its hearers by singing but is defenseless against hunters. The wrongness of killing the bird becomes a metaphor for the wrongness of harming innocent and vulnerable people. Who do you think the mockingbirds are in this book?
10.Why do you think Harper Lee wrote this book?
11.How does Jem change in the course of the novel? How does Scout change?
12.Many of the characters hold stereotypes about how individuals will behave as a result of age, gender, race, family background and so on. Which characters are the victims of stereotyping? Do any of them break through the behavior that is expected of them?
13.Do you think Bob Ewell was capable of killing Scout and Jem? Why was it important for the story that Boo saved Scout and Jem instead of Atticus?
14.Why do you think the author has Atticus and Tom Robinson saved by Scout when the Cunninghams show up at the jail the night before the trial?
15.What do you think Atticus means when he says that the length of the jury's deliberation might be "the shadow of a beginning"? (chapter 23, page 222)
16.Why do you think the author included the episode about Atticus shooting and killing the rabid dog?
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