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To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

THE NOVEL

OTHER ELEMENTS

STRUCTURE

Harper Lee originally set out to write a collection of short stories, and there are readers who feel that the finished form of To Kill a Mockingbird remains a collection of episodes loosely strung together. Other readers admire the way the author has woven the tales of Boo Radley and Tom Robinson, so that strands of the plot complement other strands.

It is true that some chapters and parts of chapters could be lifted out of the pages of the book and read as stories in their own right- for example, the story of Atticus and the mad dog, or the chapter dealing with the death of Mrs. Dubose. (This can also be done with many other novels.)


On the other hand, if you read carefully, you will see that the structure of the novel is not quite so simple as it seems at first glance. The novel is divided into two parts. In part one, Scout, Jem, and Dill are absorbed in childish games and fantasies. In part two, they begin, in the words of the Bible, to "put away childish things." You may notice that events in the early part of the novel, which at the time seemed merely amusing, foreshadow something that occurs later on. For example, Scout's meeting with the Cunningham and Ewell boys in the first grade prepares us for our later meeting with the adult members of these families.

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© Copyright 1984 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Electronically Enhanced Text © Copyright 1993, World Library, Inc.
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