To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Plot Summary

To kill a mockingbird happens between 1933 and 1935 in a small town in Alabama called Maycomb. The main character, Jean Finch, referred to as Scout, is a very talkative and creative tomboy who narrates her story using an imagination of a six-year-old girl although she is already grown. Her narration begins with an introduction of the members of her family from her widower father, who is a widower, to their family cook, Calpurnia who helps raise them and is considered as part of the family and a mother to her and her sibling. As the narration continues, new residents of Maycomb are introduced. Dill, a white-haired, six-year-old nephew of Miss Rachel Haverford, Finch's neighbor, is introduced. To be accepted into the group of friends, Dill is forced to put up fake appearances which he later grows tired of and starts focusing on the story about Boo Radley, their neighbor who according to Jem, feasted on raw squirrel and cats if he laid hands on them. His interest in Boo Radley later turns into and obsession, and he plans to draw him out of his house with the help of Scout and Jem.

When summer holiday ends, Dill goes back to his home town, Mississippi and Scout is anxious about her first day at school. At this point, Scout’s classmates, a group of unique and mischievous characters are introduced. The story takes a slight twist when one day as Scout is on her way from school heading home, she sees a shiny thing in the knothole of an oak tree in front of the Radley house. It turns out to be two sticks of gum in tinfoil wrappers. Whoever left it there is a mystery, but then the same thing happens later on, and Jem and Scout becomes suspicious of their neighbor Radley as the one leaving them gifts. Their lives become complicated when a crime is committed in the neighborhood when Bob Ewell's daughter, Mayella Ewell, a nineteen-year-old girl is raped. Atticus defends the accused, Tom Robinson who is a black man. Although the residents are sure that Tom is innocent, the racist community does not give him a chance to have a free trial. In spite of the fact that Tom cannot win the case, Atticus is too stubborn to let go of his defense.

During trials, it is discovered that Mayella's father is the real culprit who physically and sexually assaulted her. Ewell, Mayella's father, blames Atticus for attracting the community's attention and directing it towards him. Tom is convicted in the end, and Ewell publicly threatens Atticus. Tom tries to escape from prison and is killed in the process, and at this point, Ewell states that one threat is gone, but there are two more. By this, he refers to Scout and Jem. Ewell attacks Jem and Scout after their school play on their way home, but he does not succeed in the end. The two are saved by a mysterious savior who attacks Ewell and carries Jem to the Finch house.

Sheriff Tate later discovers that the mysterious savior is Boo Radley but keeps it a secret because when the attack occurred, Radley stabbed Bob causing his death. The sheriff and Atticus simply state that Bob fell on his knife during the attack and stabbed himself by mistake. Boo stays in the Finch house to ensure that Jem was out of danger and later asks Scout to escort him out. They walk out hand in hand like a lady escorted by a gentleman and when Boo gets into his house and closes the door that is the last time she sees him. The lesson she learned from the scenario stays with her for life.

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