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Free Study Guide-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

PART 2

CHAPTER 12

Summary

Jem shows the typical signs of growing up, with inconsistent moods and a short temper. Scout is advised to let him alone.

When Atticus leaves for town for some official work, Calpurnia takes the children for a service to a black church. Their presence is acknowledged by all the members of the church, except for Lula, a troublemaker, but her stance is overlooked. Scout is amazed at the proceedings, especially at the lack of hymnbooks. She is later told that most of them are uneducated except for a few, including Calpurnia. Calpurnia’s sudden switch to the colored folks’ way of talking, also surprises them, and they realize the somewhat dual life that Calpurnia has to lead.

The preacher, Reverend Sykes virtually commands the people to donate money for Tom Robinson’s wife and children. Jem and Scout donate from their own pockets.

On returning home, they are disappointed to see their Aunt Alexandra in their front porch.


Notes

The suffering that Jem undergoes through the process of maturing are not fully comprehended by Scout, who misses his company as well as Dill’s. And her growing is evident too, when she finds kitchen work to have interesting prospects.

The day the children’s time at the black church serves an eye- opener for them. They suddenly realize how inherently different they are from the blacks and how they may have to face mild opposition too. But the heartfelt welcome given by the rest of the members speaks a lot of the basic generous nature of the Blacks. Besides, the children also notice the general wish to help out Tom Robinson. The reason behind Tom’s arrest is revealed, that he had apparently raped Bob Ewell’s daughter.

The reader notices how well Calpurnia (essentially a black), has adjusted herself to the way of life of Atticus’ family; having learnt to read, and even speak like the white folk. At the same time, she hasn’t forgotten her origins, and attends the services with her Negro kin of their own Church, and smoothly switches over to their way of talking when she is with them.

Aunt Alexandra, it is realized (in the next chapter) has come to stay and being a strong influence on the children, a fact which is not quite agreeable to them.

CHAPTER 13

Summary

Aunt Alexandra makes her presence felt from the first day itself.

Atticus returns home the same day. Aunt Alexandra settles down in the house. She becomes the secretary of the Maycomb Amanuensis Club and holds parties in the house. Whenever she does so, she summons Scout, to get her introduced to the guests. Aunt Alexandra’s attempts at instilling her sense of etiquette into the children is of no avail and Atticus has to speak to them about it. Atticus seems stern and gruff to the children who cannot understand this sudden change in his behavior. But finally, even he relents and allows the children to not take everything that Aunt says, too seriously.

Notes

Aunt Alexandra’s presence in the family is not immediately comforting since a lot of adjustments are required. The children, who have never been used to such a rigid upbringing, find themselves at a loss. Atticus has probably been pressurized by his sister to let her stay in his house, to rear the children better, but not being such a stickler to rules and codes of behavior himself, he too finds himself in a dilemma. Alexandra’s basic reasoning of things is right, but having no children of her own, she is not able to comprehend their true nature, and so, many uncomfortable situations ensue. It is Atticus’ practical and non-conforming nature that lets the children believe that things are not as bad as they seem.

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