To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter Summaries and Quotes


Chapter 1 (page 3-17)

We are first introduced to the main characters. Within the first few pages we receive a description of the Finch family history followed by a description of the town. We also are introduced to Dill (page 9) and Boo Radley (page 9-12). Writers often introduce key characters and themes in the first chapter so remember to reference it in the exam.

Key Quotes:

'nothing to fear but fear itself' page 6

Radley place description - page 9

'malevolant phantom' page 9

Boo hurting his father - page 12

'Jem gave a reasonable description of Boo' page 14

'I knew he was afraid' page 15

1 of 31

Chapter 2 (page 17-24)

We are first introduced to the main characters. Within the first few pages we receive a description of the Finch family history followed by a description of the town. We also are introduced to Dill (page 9) and Boo Radley (page 9-12). Writers often introduce key characters and themes in the first chapter so remember to reference it in the exam.

Key Quotes

'try to undo the damage' page 19

'until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing' page 20

'The Cunninghams never took anything they can't pay back' page 22

'The Cunninghams are country folks, farmers, and the crash hit them hardest' page 23

2 of 31

Chapter 3 (page 25-35)

In this chapter, Walter Cunningham is invited around to the Finches house for food. Atticus and Calpurnia teach Scout not to judge others based on their social class. We also find out about the Ewell family and Burris Ewell in Scout's class is extremely rude to their teacher. Atticus teaches Scout an important lesson on compromise and seeing something from another's point of view.

Key Quotes

'By the time we reached our front step Walter had forgotten he was a Cunningham' page 26

'We couldn't operate a single day without Cal' page 28

'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it' page 33

'Atticus said the Ewells had been the disgrace of Maycomb for three generations' page 33

3 of 31

Chapter 4 (page 36-45)

In this chapter we learn more about Boo (Arthur) Radley. He leaves gifts inside the knothole of the tree outside of his house (including gum, lucky Indian head pennies, twine, soap carvings, a spelling medal and a broken pocket watch). The children also develop the Boo Radley game (page 43-45) and one day, when playing with a tyre, Scout is accidentally rolled into the Radley garden.

Key Quotes

'walked a total of one mile per school day to avoid the Radley Place and old Mrs Henry Lafayette Dubose' page 39

'Calpurnia says that's ni**er talk' page 41

'Scout, sometimes you act so much like a girl, it's mortifying' page 42

'Jem told me I was being a girl' page 45

'Someone inside the house was laughing' page 45

4 of 31

Chapter 5 (page 46-55)

Scout begins to feel excluded from Jem and Dill's games so decides to spend more time with their neighbour, Miss Maudie Atkinson. She tells Scout to not believe all of the gossip heard about the Radleys and throughout the novel Miss Maudie helps Scout understand society. The children are caught by Atticus trying to give a note to Boo on a fishing pole asking him to come out.

Key Quotes

'marked me as his property' page 46

'Foot-washers (Baptists) believe anything that's pleasure is a sin' page 49

'Miss Maudie's voice was enough to shut anybody up' page 51

'Atticus is the same in his house as he is on the public streets' page 51

'We're askin' him real polietly to come out sometimes...he might feel better' page 52

'stop tormenting that man' page 54

5 of 31

Chapter 6 (page 55-64)

On his last night at Miss Rachel's, Dill decides to suggest the idea of sneaking into the Radley back garden. However, this ends badly when Mr Radley hears the children and fires a shot gun. Jem, in a desperate rush to escape, loses his pants in the garden.

Key Quotes

'you're getting more like a girl every day' page 57

'the roar of a shotgun shattered the neighbourhood' page 59

'kicking his pants off to get loose' page 60

'Mr Radley shot a ***** in his collard patch' page 60

'scared him pale' page 60

'every passing ***** laughing in the night was Boo' page 62

6 of 31

Chapter 7 (page 64-70)

Jem goes back to retrieve his trousers, which he finds are mended and left for him, as though someone was expecting him. In the tree they find twine, two soap sculptures, more chewing gum, an old medal and a pocket watch. They write a thank you note however find that the hole has been filled with cement, even though the tree is not dying.

Key Quotes

'They'd been sewed up. Not like a lady sewed 'em' page 65

'Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts' page 66

'I pulled out two small images carved in soap. One was the figure of a boy, the other wore a crude dress' page 66

'the knot-hole yielded a tarnished (spelling) medal' page 67

'someone had filled our knot-hole with cement' page 69

7 of 31

Chapter 8 (page 70-82)

Maycomb experiences the first snowfall for many years. Miss Maudie's house sets on fire and the community work together to help her save her house. Miss Maudie reacts stoically. Without realising, Boo wraps a blanket around Scout around the time of the fire, which shows his caring nature.

Key Quotes

'The world's endin' Atticus!... It's snowing' page 71

'I ain't ever heard of a ni**er snowman' page 73

Fire at Miss Maudie's - page 76-79

'found myself clutching a brown woollen blanket' page 79

'with most of her possessions gone and her beloved yard a shambel, she still took a lively and cordial interest in Jem's and my affairs' page 81

8 of 31

Chapter 9 (page 82-98)

Atticus first tells Scout about Tom's court case following some unpleasant comments at school. They go to Finch's Landing for Christmas and the children recieve air rifles and are told to use them sensibly. Scout fights with her cousin Francis after he speaks badly of Atticus defending Tom. Scout overhears Atticus telling Uncle Jack that Scout must control her temper.

Key Quotes

First mention of Tom - page 83-84

'simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win' page 84

'it ain't your fault if Uncle Atticus is a ni**er lover' page 92

'what bothers me is that she and Jem will have to absorb some ugly things pretty soon' page 97

'Maycomb's usual disease' page 98

9 of 31

Chapter 10 (page 98-109)

Scout and Jem learn to shoot their air rifles. They believe that Atticus is too old to do anything. A rabid dog, Tim Johnson, comes down the street and the sheriff Heck Tate is called however it is Atticus who shoots the dog. He explains to his children that courage is not a man with a gun in his hands.

Key Quotes

'(didn't) do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone' page 99

'shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird' page 99

'mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us...that's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird' page 99-100

'the mockingbirds were silent' page 105

'deadest shot in Maycomb County' page 108

10 of 31

Chapter 11 (page 110-124)

This chapter is important in terms of racism and courage. Mrs Dubose is a rude old woman who attacks the children verbally about their father. Jem retaliates by destroying her camellias so Atticus makes him read to her for a month. At the end of the chapter, she dies as she broke her morphine addiction and Atticus teaches Jem that courage isn't 'a man with a gun in his hand'.

Key Quotes

'your father's no better than the ni**ers and trash he works for' page 113

'it's not time to worry yet' page 115

'before I can live with other folks, I've got to live with myself' page 116

'ni**er lover is just one of those terms that don't mean anything' page 120

'I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand' page 124

11 of 31

Chapter 12 (page 127-139)

Jem is 12 and begins to show signs of growing up. Atticus is away so Cal takes the children to her church, where they are welcomed by everyone except Lula. This chapter shows the black community working together. People are hesitant to hire Tom's wife Helen because of what he is accused of and Cal explains why she speaks differently around black and white people.

Key Quotes

'negroes worshipped in it on Sundays and white men gambled in it on weekdays' page 130

'when they saw Jem and me...they parted and made a small pathway to the church door for us' page 131

Lula confronts Cal - page 131

'nobody leaves here till we have ten dollars' page 135

'they can't read' page 137

'coloured folks don't show their ages so fast' page 138

12 of 31

Chapter 13 (page 140-148)

Aunt Alexandra moves in with Atticus and the children in an attempt to 'raise them properly', therefore exposing them to the ignorance of Maycomb.

Key Quotes

'this was not my father' page 147

'it's not time to worry' page 148

13 of 31

Chapter 14 (page 148-159)

Aunt Alexandra tells Atticus that they don't need Calpurnia anymore, to which he disagrees. Scout and Jem get into a fight as Jem is bossing Scout about because he thinks he's an adult. Dill runs away from home as his parents aren't interested in him and Scout finds him hidden under her bed.

Key Quotes

'he rose and broke the remaining code of our childhood' page 155

'maybe he doesn't have anywhere to run off to' page 159

14 of 31

Chapter 15 (page 159-171)

On two occasions the children see a group of men surround their father. The first try to persuade Atticus to change his mind about the trial, the second is when a lynch mob arrives at the jail and threaten Atticus. Scout naive conversation with Walter Cunnningham Sr. turns the tide and shows us that there is some decency even in a lynch mob.

Key Quotes

'that boy might go to the chair, but he's not going till the truth's told' page 161

'we don't have mobs and that nonsense in Maycomb' page 161

"Do you really think so?" - Atticus, page 167

'a flash of plain fear was going out of his eyes' page 167

Scout talking to Mr Cunningham - page 169

'they were gone' page 170

15 of 31

Chapter 16 (page 171-182)

In this chapter we are introduced to Dolphus Raymond, a white man married to a black woman who haved mixed race children. He is known for drinking 'whisky' from a brown paper bag almost all of the time. The trial for Tom Robinson first begins.

Key Quotes

'I don't know of any law that says they can't talk. Maybe if we didn't give them so much to talk about they'd be quiet' - page 173

'Mr Cunningham was part of a mob last night, but he was still a man' page 173

'coloured folks won't have them because they're half white; white folks won't have them because they're coloured' page 177

16 of 31

Chapter 17 (page 183-197)

In this chapter we hear the testimony of Heck Tate and Bob Ewell. Atticus confirms with both men thar the doctor wasn't called for help and that Mayella's injuries were on the right side of her face. We also see the description of the Ewell family and home and clarify that Bob Ewell is left-handed.

Key Quotes

'every town the size of Maycomb had families likes the Ewells' page 187

'against the fence...they were Mayella Ewell's' page 188

'I seen that black ni**er yonder ruttin' on my Mayella' page 190

17 of 31

Chapter 18 (page 197-209)

Mayella's testimony. Through Atticus' questions the jury and the reader learn more about the unfortunate home life of the Ewells. Atticus also suggests that it was Bob Ewell who attacked his daughter, not Tom. We also discover that Tom is missing half of his left arm.

Key Quotes

'Atticus was quietly building up before the jury a picture of the Ewells' page 201

"Except when he's drinking?" asked Atticus so gently that Mayella nodded' page 202

'His left arm was fully twelve inches shorter than his right and hung dead at his side' page 205

"Didn't Bob Ewell beat you up?" page 207

18 of 31

Chapter 19 (page 209-220)

Tom's testimony. Tells the jury that Mayella was always asking him into the yard to help her and he did out of pity. On the day he was accused of ****, Mayella had jumped on him and tried to kiss him and Mr Ewell caught them. The children leave the courtroom as Dill feels sick about what was said.

Key Quotes

'it came to me that Mayella must have been the lonliest person in the world. She was even lonlier than Boo Radley' page 211

'if he had been whole, he would have been a fine specimen of a man' page 212

'took me a slap year to save seb'm nickels, but I done it' page 213

'I felt right sorry for her' page 217

'scared I'd hafta face up to what I didn't do' page 219

19 of 31

Chapter 20 (page 220-227)

Dolphus Raymond reveals that he is only pretending to be a drunk so that people can blame that for his lifestyle choices. Pages 224-227 is Atticus' speech that concludes the trial and includes many very important quotes on context.

Key Quotes

'I'm not much of a drinker, but you see they could never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live' page 221

'cry about the hell white people give coloured folks, without even stopping to think that they're people too' page 222

'she was white and she tempted a *****' page 225

'in our courts all men are created equal' page 227

20 of 31

Chapter 21 (page 227-233)

Calpurnia comes into the courtroom and takes the children. Though they were not supposed to be there, Atticus says they may return after supper. They return and wait many hours for the verdict to discover the jury was found Tom guilty.

Key Quotes

'exactly the same as a cold February morning, when the mockingbirds stood still' page 232

'a jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when the jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson' page 233

"Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing' page 233

21 of 31

Chapter 22 (page 234-239)

Atticus wakes up to discover that the black community have gifted him food to thank him for his work during the trial. Miss Maudie speaks to the children to explain that Judge Taylor purposefully gave Atticus the case and there are some good people. She also says that though Tom was convicted, the hesitation of the jury shows improvements.

Key Quotes

'seems that only children weep' page 235

'It's not time to worry yet' page 235

'it's just a baby step, but it's a step' page 238

'There ain't one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I'm gunna join the circus and laugh my head off' page 238

'Mr Bob Ewell stopped Atticus on the post-office corner, spat in his face, and told him he'd get him if it took him the rest of his life' page 239

22 of 31

Chapter 23 (page 239-251)

The children fear that Bob Ewell is going to hurt Atticus but Atticus tells them not to worry. Jem and Atticus discuss the jury and Jem explains how upset he was with the verdict. Finds out that a Cunningham wanted an acquittal. Aunt Alexandra enforces that the Finches are more 'upper class' than families like the Cunninghams.

Key Quotes

'so if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take' page 241

"Not time to worry yet" page 241

'I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks' page 250

'I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside' page 251

23 of 31

Chapter 24 (page 251-262)

The missionary circle come round to the Finches. The women laugh at Scout for not being very ladylike. They snub Atticus for defending Tom and Miss Maudie gets angry. Atticus comes home early and announces that Tom was shot in the back 17 times trying to escape prison.

Key Quotes

'there's nothing more distracting than a sulky darky' page 256

'it's never entered that wool of hers' page 257

'His food doesn't stick going down, does it?" page 257

'But I was at home in my father's world... They weren't-' page 258

'Tom's dead' 'Seventeen bullet holes in him' page 259-260

"Do I show it?" "Not a sign" page 261

24 of 31

Chapter 25 (page 262-266)

Atticus and Calpurnia go to tell Helen about what has happened to Tom and she is distraught. Mr Underwood writes an article on Tom's death in a sympathetic way.

Key Quotes

'Mr Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples... senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children' page 265

'Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed' page 266

25 of 31

Chapter 26 (page 266-273)

Scout mentions Boo again, however her approach is much more mature now. At school, the class discuss current events and Hitler is mentioned. Scout cannot fathom how people can have as much hatred for Hitler yet didn't support Tom Robinson during the trial.

Key Quotes

'how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly to the folks right at home?' page 272

26 of 31

Chapter 27 (page 273-280)

Bob Ewell acquired and lost a job within a matter of days. Someone (presummably Bob) tried to break into Judge Taylor's house. Mr Link Deas gave Helen a job. Link walks Helen home to make sure she is safe and when Bob Ewell follows her to work, Link threatens Bob. The Halloween pagent is mentioned.

27 of 31

Chapter 28 (page 280-294)

Cecil jumps out on them on the way to school. Scout misses her cue for the pagent and so, embarrased, waits for everyone to leave. On the way home, someone attacks the children but a man saves them. He carries Jem home who is unconcious. Heck Teck finds Bob Ewell dead under the oak tree.

Key Quotes

'This was the stillness before the thunderstorm' page 287

'The man walked with the staccato steps of someone carrying a load too heavy for him' page 290

'in her distraction, Aunty brought me my overalls' page 291

'Bob Ewell's lying on the ground under the tree yonder with a kitchen knife stuck up under his ribs. He's dead, Mr Finch' page 294

28 of 31

Chapter 29 (page 294-298)

Scout recounts to Atticus and Heck what had happened. Scout discovers that the man who saved the children's life was Boo Radley.

Key Quotes

'They were white hands, sickly white hands that had never seen the sun' page 298

'his hair was dead and thin, almost feathery' page 298

"Hey Boo" page 298

29 of 31

Chapter 30 (page 298-305)

Atticus believes that if was Jem who killed Bob in self defence but Heck knows it was Boo. But Heck wants the town to believe Bob fell on his knife as not to drag Boo into the limelight.

Key Quotes

'Boo would feel more comfortable in the dark' page 299

'Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself' page 301

'Let the dead bury the dead' page 304

'Mr Finch,taking the one man who's done for you and this town a great service and dragging him with his shy ways into the limelight - to me, that's a sin' page 304

'Well, it'd sort of be like shooting a mockingbird, wouldn't it?' page 304

"Thank you for my children Arthur" page 305

30 of 31

Chapter 31 (page 305-309)

Boo asks Scout to take him home and so she escorts him. She stands on his front porch overlooking the neighbourhood and reflects on the events in the novel. The book concludes with Atticus reading The Grey Ghost to Scout.

Key Quotes

"Will you take me home?" page 306

'I had never seen the neighbourhood from this angle' page 307

'Boo's children needed him' page 308

"he was real nice"... "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them" page 309

31 of 31


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all To Kill a Mockingbird resources »