She starts with her family
Simon Finch fled England to escape religious
In America, he bought some slaves
and built a plantation called Finch’s Landing on the
banks of the Alabama River.
Finch’s Landing passed
from son to son until the present generation
Atticus, became a lawyer in Maycomb,
Her Uncle Jack is a doctor in Boston, while
her Aunt Alexandra runs Finch’s Landing.
Chapter 1 Part 2
Maycomb is a small Southern town suffering through
the Great Depression.
The Finch’s aren’t rich, but
they are comfortable enough.
Atticus’s wife died when Scout was
Chapter 1 Part 3
One year when Scout is six and Jem is nine,
small and imaginative seven-year-old named Charles
“Dill” Baker Harris comes to spend the summer with
Miss Rachel Haverford, his aunt and the Finch’s
neighbor. The children become friends.
Chapter 1 Part4
Soon, Dill becomes fascinated with the nearby Radley
house, and more particularly with the legendary
Boo Radley who lives inside.
As Maycomb legend
tells it, Boo got into trouble with the law as a youth
and was shut up in his house by his father. Fifteen
years later Boo stabbed his father in the leg with a
pair of scissors, but his father refused to send Boo
to an asylum.
After Boo’s father died, his brother,
Nathan Radley, came to run the house.
Chapter 1 PArt 5
Dill tries to think of ways to get Boo to come out, but
settles on a dare: he’ll give Jem a Gray Ghost comic
book touches the Radley house. Jem does it.
thinks she sees someone watching them from behind
a curtain inside the house.
Chapter 2 PArt 1
When summer ends,
Dill returns to Mississippi.
Scout starts her first year of school.
She hates it from
the first day.
Her teacher, a newcomer to the town
actually criticizes Scout for
knowing how to read.
Chapter 2 part 2
Just before lunch, Miss Caroline Fisher discovers that one
boy, Walter Cunningham, has brought no food
and does not go home to eat.
Miss Caroline offers
to lend Walter a quarter, but he refuses.
tries to explain that the Cunningham’s are so poor
they couldn’t pay Miss Caroline back, and that Miss
Caroline is “shaming” Walter by trying to force the
quarter on him.
Miss Caroline gets annoyed and
“whips” Scout by tapping her palm with a ruler.
Chapter 3 part 1
Outside, Scout beats Walter up because helping him
got her into trouble.
Jem stops her, and invites Walter
to come eat at their house.
Chapter 3 part 2
During lunch, Walter talks with Atticus about farm
work like a grown up.
He says he can’t pass first grade
because he has to help his father in the fields.
Chapter 3 part 3
As he eats, Walter pours molasses all over his food.
Scout is disgusted and says so.
Calpurnia pulls her
from the table and scolds her, saying Scout should
never comment on someone’s “ways like you was so
high and mighty.”
Chapter 3 part 4
Back at school, Miss Caroline screams when she
sees a louse in the hair of a filthy boy named Burris
She tries to send him home to wash his hair,
but Burris says he’s “done his time for the year.”
kid in the class explains that all the Ewell’s come to
school one day a year to keep the truant officer off
their backs, then never come back.
Chapter 3 part 5
That night, when Scout says that Miss Caroline
wants her to stop reading at home,
that instead of getting angry, Scout should try
standing in Miss Caroline’s skin to see things from
her point of view.
He also says he’ll keep reading with
Scout if she keeps quiet about it.
Chapter 4 part 1
One day, while running past the Radley house on her
way home from school, Scout notices some gum in
the knothole of a tree overhanging the Radley’s fence.
And on the last day of school, Scout and Jem find two
old pennies in the same knothole.
Jem stares at the
Radley place, deep in thought.
Chapter 4 part 2
Dill arrives for the summer. After an accident rolling
a tire that leaves Scout lying on the pavement right
next to the Radley’s house, Jem comes up with a new
game: they’re going to act out Boo Radley’s story.
Atticus catches them playing. Jem lies and says they
weren’t impersonating the Radley’s.
Chapter 5 part 1
Jem and Dill start excluding Scout,
who begins to
spend more time with Miss Maudie Atkinson, a
neighbor who grew up with Atticus.
Scout asks Miss Maudie why Boo Radley never
comes out. Miss Maudie says it’s because Boo
doesn’t want to.
She says Boo was always polite as a
boy, and that Boo’s father was a Baptist so religious
he thought all pleasure was a sin.
Chapter 5 part 2
The next day, Dill and Jem get Scout to help them try
to slip a note through a window of the Radley house
with a fishing rod.
Atticus catches them and tells
them to stop bothering Boo Radley just because he
Chapter 6 part 1
On Dill’s last night in Maycomb, he and Jem decide
to peek into the Radley house. Scout, terrified, tags
They sneak behind the Radley house, but see
the shape of a man on the back porch and run.
A shotgun fires behind them. As they duck under the
Radley fence, Jem’s pants get caught. He leaves his pants behind.
Chapter 6 part 2
The shotgun blast—Nathan Radley had shot into
the air—wakes the neighborhood.
pants cause suspicion, but the kids says Jem lost
them playing strip poker with matches.
night, Jem sneaks out and retrieves his pants, and
returns home unharmed.
Chapter 7 part 1
Scout starts second grade, which is as bad as first
One day as they walk home from school, Jem
tells Scout that when he went back to get his pants, they had been mended and folded.
Chapter 7 part 2
Scout and Jem continue to find things in the knothole
of the tree: twine, soap carved to look like them, gum,
and a broken watch on a chain.
Jem proposes they
write a letter and leave it in the knothole.
Chapter 7 part 3
But the next day Nathan Radley cements the
He says the tree was dying, but Atticus
tells Jem it wasn’t.
Jem stares at the Radley house
for a long time.
Scout thinks he might be crying, but
can’t understand why.
Chapter 8 part 1
That winter it snows in Maycomb for the first time
Scout and Jem use dirt covered with snow
to make a snowman that looks remarkably like Mr.
Avery, an unfriendly neighbor.
Atticus is impressed,
but then sees the resemblance and kindly asks them
to disguise the snowman a little bit better.
Chapter 8 part 2
The snow makes it cold, and everyone keeps their fires
That night Miss Maudie’s house catches fire.
Everyone in the neighborhood pitches in to save what
they can, but the house burns to the ground.
Maudie says the house was too big anyway.
Chapter 8 part 3
Scout and Jem watch the fire from in front of the
Radley house down the street.
When they come
inside, Scout discovers that someone has draped a
blanket over her shoulders.
Jem says it must have
been Boo Radley who gave her the blanket.
Chapter 9 part 1
Students at school start saying that Atticus “defends
When Scout asks why, Atticus says he’s
defending a black man named Tom Robinson.
Atticus says he won’t win the case, but has to take
it in order to keep his integrity.
He cautions Scout
that people, even their friends, might say dirty things
to her, and tells her to keep her head up and avoid
Scout does. It’s the first time she’s ever
walked away from a fight.
Chapter 9 part 2
Every Christmas, Uncle Jack comes down to
Maycomb from Boston and all the Finch’s gather at
Finch’s landing to spend the holidays with Scout’s
dreaded Aunt Alexandra and her awful grandson
At Finch’s landing, Francis calls Atticus
Scout punches him, and Francis
claims she hit him for no reason and also cursed at
him. Uncle Jack spanks her.
Back in Maycomb, Scout tells Uncle Jack why she hit
Francis, but makes him promise not to say anything
because Atticus said she shouldn’t fight anyone
over the Tom Robinson case.
Later that night, Scout
overhears Jack telling Atticus he doesn’t understand
Atticus says you have to be honest with
Chapter 9 part 4
Then Atticus says the trial will be bad, since
“reasonable people go mad when anything involving”
a black person comes up.
He says the trial will be
particularly tough on Jem and Scout.
Chapter 10 part 1
Atticus is older than other kids’ parents, and Scout
and Jem are sometimes embarrassed by their father’s
When he gave Jem and Scout the air
rifles they wanted for Christmas he didn’t teach them
how to shoot, instead only telling them not to shoot
at mockingbirds, since it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Miss Atkinson explains: all mockingbirds do is sing
and create beauty and pleasure, so it’s a sin to hurt
Chapter 10 part 2
One day a rabid dog appears on the Finch’s street.
still far off, and Heck Tate, the sheriff of Maycomb,
says only Atticus is marksmen enough to hit the dog
from such a distance.
Atticus kills the dog in one shot.
Scout and Jem, astonished, learn that when Atticus
was young he was the best shot in the county.
wants to brag at school, but Jem says not to: if Atticus
was proud of it he would have told them.
Chapter 11 part 1
One day, Mrs. Dubose, an old woman who harasses
Scout and Jem whenever they walk past her house,
condemns Atticus for defending Tom Robinson.
Jem, enraged, rips the flowers off her camellia
Chapter 11 part 2
As punishment, Atticus makes Jem go and read
to Mrs. Dubose each afternoon. Scout goes with
him. At first, each reading session is cut short by
Mrs. Dubose’s strange fits, but over the month the
sessions get longer and the fits slowly disappear.
Soon after the reading sessions end, Mrs. Dubose
She leaves Jem a single white camellia flower.
Jem is horrified,
but Atticus explains that Mrs. Dubose
was addicted to morphine and the reading sessions
helped her kick the habit before she died.
though Mrs. Dubose ridiculed Atticus for defending
Tom Robinson, he calls her the most courageous
person he ever knew, a person who knew she was
beaten and still fought no matter what.
Chapter 12 part 1
Summer finally comes, but Scout is crushed when
Dill doesn’t arrive because his mother got remarried.
To makes matters worse, Atticus has to leave for two
weeks to serve in the state legislature
Chapter 12 part 2
Calpurnia, who’s in charge when Atticus is away,
invites Scout and Jem to attend her church that
The all-black congregation gladly welcomes
the Finch kids, except for one woman Lula, who
gets angry that Calpurnia brought white kids to their
Chapter 12 part 3
During the service, the congregation gathers money to
support Helen, Tom Robinson’s wife.
Tom Robinson is the man Atticus is defending, and
asks what he did.
Calpurnia tells her: Tom has been
accused by Bob Ewell of raping his daughter. Scout
doesn’t know what “rape” means, but can’t believe
anyone would trust the Ewells.
Chapter 13 part 1
Scout, Jem, and Calpurnia return from church to
discover that Aunt Alexandra has moved into the
Finch’s house to provide “feminine influence” for
Chapter 13 part 2
Alexandra is proud of the Finch family’s social status
in Maycomb, and immediately begins to socialize in
Scout thinks good people are defined
by doing the best they can with what they have, but
Alexandra seems to believe that the older a family’s
history, the better the family is.
forces Atticus to teach Scout and Jem about their
family history. But this strange change in Atticus
makes Scout cry, and with relief he gives up.
Chapter 14 part 2
As the summer progresses, Scout and Jem notice
grownups in Maycomb talking about them. Scout
hears the word “rape” again, and asks Atticus what
it is. He tells her.
Chapter 14 part 2
Scout’s question leads to the story of going to
Calpurnia’s church. Aunt Alexandra is horrified.
She and Atticus have an argument about Calpurnia.
Alexandria thinks Calpurnia is no longer necessary.
Atticus says she’s part of the family.
Chapter 14 part 3
That night, Jem tells Scout not to antagonize Aunt
Alexandra, but Scout objects to him telling her what
to do. They fight. Atticus sends them both to bed.
Scout steps on something while climbing into bed,
and, with Jem, discovers Dill hiding under her bed.
Though Dill wants to keep his presence secret, Jem
Atticus tells Miss Rachel Haverford where Dill is,
but lets Dill spend the night. Dill sleeps in Scout’s
room, and tells her he ran away from home because
his recently married parents aren’t much interested
in him and wanted him to do things on his own.
Atticus tells Miss Rachel Haverford where Dill is,
but lets Dill spend the night.
Dill sleeps in Scout’s
room, and tells her he ran away from home because
his recently married parents aren’t much interested
in him and wanted him to do things on his own.
Chapter 15 part 1
A week later, Heck Tate comes to the Finch’s front
lawn with a group of men to talk to Atticus. Tom
Robinson is to be moved to the Maycomb jail and
Heck says there might be trouble.
Chapter 15 part 2
Jem gets scared someone might try to hurt Atticus.
When Atticus drives into town the next night, Jem,
Scout, and Dill sneak out after him.
They finally spot
Atticus sitting alone, reading, outside the jail.
then, four cars drive up and a group of men surrounds
Atticus. Scout, unsure what’s happening, runs over to
Atticus, followed by Jem and Dill. The men tell Atticus
he has fifteen seconds to send his kids away. Jem
refuses to budge.
Scout spots Mr. Cunningham and
asks him to say hi to Walter for her. Mr. Cunningham
stares at her for a second, then bends down. He says
he’ll say hi to Walter, then tells the men to clear out.
Chapter 15 part 3
Once the men have left, Tom Robinson asks from
his cell if the men are gone.
Mr. Underwood, the
publisher and writer of the Maycomb newspaper,
leans out his office window holding a double-barreled
shotgun and calls out that he had Atticus covered.
Chapter 16 part 1
At breakfast the next morning, the day of the trial,
Atticus says that Mr. Underwood never liked black
people, which makes his behavior of the previous
night seem odd to Scout.
Chapter 16 part 2
Jem declares Mr Cunningham would have killed
Atticus the previous night. But Atticus says Mr.
Cunningham just has his blind spots like everyone
else, and is still a friend.
Chapter 16 part 3
People from all over Maycomb head for the
courthouse, including some Baptists who quote
the bible condemning Miss Maudie Atkinson for
keeping a garden.
She quotes a bible verse right back
at them which proves her garden is actually beautiful
in God’s eyes.
Chapter 16 part 4
Though Atticus tells Jem, Scout, and Dill that they
shouldn’t attend the trial, they sneak in.
late, and can only find seats in the balcony where the
black people have to sit.
Judge Taylor is presiding,
and Heck Tate is already on the stand.
Chapter 17 part 1
Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor, questions Tate, who
recalls Bob Ewell saying that Tom Robinson had
raped Mayella Ewell.
Atticus cross-examines: Tate
says the right side of Mayella’s face was heavily
Next, Bob Ewell is called to the stand. He
is arrogant and unpleasant, and gets reprimanded
by Judge Taylor.
Chastened, he tells Mr. Gilmer
about finding Tom Robinson raping his daughter.
Atticus cross-examines: he tricks Ewell into writing
his name, which reveals that Ewell is left-handed.
Ewell is furious. Jem says: “We got ’em,” because a
left-handed man is more likely to bruise the right side
of someone’s face.
Chapter 18 part 1
Mayella Ewell is called to the stand. She testifies
that she asked Tom Robinson to chop up a dresser in
return for a quarter, and that when she turned around
Tom attacked and raped her.
Atticus shows that Mayella is terribly lonely. When
Atticus asks Mayella to identify Tom, and Tom stands
up, it becomes clear that Tom’s left arm is useless:
it was destroyed in an accident.
If Tom can’t use his
left arm, then how could he have beaten and raped
Mayella? Atticus asks Mayella wasn’t Bob Ewell the
person who beat her? Mayella refuses to answer.
Chapter 19 part 1
Atticus calls Tom Robinson to the stand. Tom
says he often helped Mayella with chores.
occasion, he says, Mayella threw herself at him.
tried to leave, but was scared to push her out of the
Suddenly, Bob Ewell showed up and yelled at
Mayella, “You goddamn whore, I’ll kill ya.” Tom ran.
Chapter 19 part 2
Link Deas, stands up in the crowd and says that
Tom is a good man. Judge Taylor expels Deas from
Chapter 19 part 3
Mr. Gilmer cross-examines. He calls Tom “boy” in
a nasty tone, and tricks Tom into saying he felt sorry
for Mayella, which causes a murmur of anger and
disgust in the courtroom.
Mr. Gilmer asks why Tom
ran if he was innocent.
Tom says that a black man has
to run in any bad situation.
Chapter 19 part 4
Dill starts to cry and Scout takes him outside. Dill
says he can’t stand the way Gilmer was talking to
Chapter 20 part 1
Outside the courthouse, Mr. Dolphus Raymond
sympathizes with Dill about the way white people
treat black people without even stopping to think
that blacks are people too.
Raymond is an eccentric
rich white man. He gets little respect from the white
people in the town because he’s always drunk and
lives with a black woman and has fathered interracial
But Dill and Scout learn that Raymond
isn’t actually a drunk: he only drinks Coca-cola. Mr.
Raymond explains that he fakes being a drunk so
people won’t bother him for living the way he wants.
Chapter 20 part 2
Atticus is making his closing remarks when Dill
and Scout get back to their seats. Atticus notes
the prosecution’s lack of evidence, then says the
courtroom is the one place in America where every
man is equal, and asks the jury to “do its duty.”
Chapter 21 part 1
Calpurnia enters the courtroom. She tells Atticus
that Jem, Scout, and Dill are missing. Mr.
Underwood says they’re sitting in the balcony.
Atticus tells them to go home and eat lunch, but
relents and says they can come back for the verdict if
it hasn’t already been delivered.
Chapter 21 part 2
An hour later, Scout, Jem, and Dill get back to the
silent, tense courtroom. The jury is still deliberating.
Jem is confident of victory because all the evidence
is in Tom’s favor.
Chapter 21 part 3
Heck Tate calls the court to order. The jury comes
back and does not look at Tom. Scout knows this
means the verdict is guilty. It is.
Chapter 22 part 1
Jem cries. He can’t understand how the jury could
convict Tom. Atticus says they’ve done it before and
they’ll do it again and only the children will weep.
Chapter 22 part 2
The next morning, the Finches wake to discover that
the black community of Maycomb has brought them
baskets of food in thanks for Atticus’s defense of
Chapter 22 part 3
That afternoon, Jem tells Miss Maudie he used to
think the people of Maycomb were the best people
in the world, but no longer does. Miss Maudie says
the trial was a step in the right direction, and that
there are good people in Maycomb. For instance, it’s
no coincidence Judge Taylor appointed Atticus to
take Tom’s case.
Chapter 22 part 4
Suddenly Miss Stephanie Crawford runs up with
gossip: Bob Ewell just threatened Atticus and spit
in his face.
Chapter 23 part 1
Jem and Scout are terrified Ewell will attack Atticus.
Atticus, thinks Ewell has already gotten the need for
revenge out of his system, though Aunt Alexandra
isn’t so sure.
Chapter 23 part 2
Meanwhile, Tom Robinson is in prison. Atticus
thinks he has a good shot of winning on appeal. If
he loses, though, Tom will be executed. When Jem
expresses disdain for the jury that convicted Tom,
Atticus says that one man on the jury, a Cunningham,
almost voted for acquittal. This news inspires Scout
to declare she’s going to invite Walter Cunningham
to dinner, but Aunt Alexandra forbids it. She says the
Finches are too good for the Cunninghams
Chapter 23 part 3
Later that night, Scout and Jem try to figure out why
people are prejudiced. They come up with all sorts of
reasons but none seems sufficient. Jem realizes Boo
Radley stays in his house because he wants to.
Chapter 24 part 1
One Saturday, Aunt Alexandra invites company, and
tells Scout to help Calpurnia serve.
At the event,
Mrs. Grace Merriweather talks about helping the
poor oppressed people of Africa, then turns around
and blames “some people” for her maid’s “sulkiness”
since the Tom Robinson trial.
Miss Maudie shames
the woman for talking badly about Atticus while
enjoying his hospitality.
Chapter 24 part 2
Just then, Atticus comes home and tells Calpurnia,
Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, and Scout that Tom
tried to escape from prison and was killed. Calpurnia
leaves with him. Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, and
Scout return to the party and act as if nothing has
Chapter 25 part 1
A few nights later, Scout spots a roly-poly bug. Jem
won’t let her squash it because it didn’t do anything
to her. Scout remembers that Jem was present when
Atticus told Helen Robinson that Tom had died, and
Helen collapsed in grief.
chapter 25 part 2
That Thursday, Mr. Underwood publishes an
editorial in his newspaper comparing Tom’s death to
the “senseless slaughter of songbirds.”
Chapter 25 part 3
When he hears Tom has died, Bob Ewell is overheard
saying “one down and about two more to go.” The
rest of the white people in Maycomb thinks it’s just
like a black man to try and escape even though he
has an appeal pending, and soon moves on to other
Chapter 26 part 1
School starts. As a third grader, Scout is no longer
frightened of Boo Radley. She is confused, however,
when the town, which was so set against Atticus
defending Tom, reelects him to the state legislature
Chapter 26 part 2
In school, Scout’s class discusses Nazi Germany.
Scout asks Jem why her teacher, Miss Gates, would
say persecuting the Jews is awful when she seemed
so happy after Tom Robinson got convicted. Jem
shouts at Scout never to talk about the trial again.
Chapter 27 part 1
Over the next few weeks: Bob Ewell gets a job and
gets fired for laziness within days; Judge Taylor
hears a scratching at his back door and sees a
shadow running off; Ewell follows and curses at
Helen Robinson until Link Deas threatens him to
stop or else.
Chapter 27 part 2
Aunt Alexandra thinks Ewell has a grudge against
everyone involved in the trial.
But Atticus says
Ewell will calm down when the weather cools. For
Halloween that year, there’s a pageant at Scout’s
Scout is to be a giant ham—her costume is
made of wire and cloth. Atticus and Aunt Alexandra
are too tired to attend the pageant, though, so Jem
Chapter 28 part 1
The night is dark. On the way to the pageant Cecil
Jacobs jumps from behind a bush and scares Scout
and Jem. Then Scout falls asleep and misses her cue
to go onstage and is so embarrassed she doesn’t
want to leave when people are around.
Chapter 28 part 2
As Jem and Scout walk home alone (Scout still in her
costume) they hear a noise, and then are attacked.
Jem fights back, but is thrown and screams. The
assailant squeezes Scout, but then suddenly she’s
somehow free. Scout feels for Jem, but touches a
strange unshaven face that smells like whiskey. In the
distance, she can see a man she doesn’t recognize
carrying Jem toward her house, and Atticus running
out to meet him. Atticus calls for Dr. Reynolds and
Heck Tate. Dr. Reynold’s examines Jem and says he
has a broken arm but will be okay. Heck Tate arrives
with news that Bob Ewell is dead.
Chapter 29 part 1
Scout tells Heck Tate everything that happened,
and as she does realizes that the pale man standing
in the corner of the room is the person who saved
her. Then she realizes that he’s Boo Radley, and
says “Hey, Boo.”
Chapter 30 part 1
Atticus is sure Jem killed Bob Ewell and doesn’t
want it covered up. But Tate says that Jem didn’t
kill Ewell. Boo Radley did. As sheriff, Tate decides
that Boo was saving other people’s lives and doesn’t
need more attention. Atticus asks Scout if she
understands. Scout says she does: bringing attention
to Boo would be like shooting a mockingbird.
Chapter 31 part 1
A little later, Scout escorts Boo back to the Radley
House. After Boo has gone inside, she looks out at
the street from his porch, and sees the street as Boo
must have been watching it for so many years.
Chapter 31 part 2
When she gets back, Atticus is reading in Jem’s
room. Scout asks Atticus to read to her and rests
her head against his knee. He picks up at random one
of Jem’s comic books, the Gray Ghost, the book Dill
gave Jem years earlier. Atticus reads until she falls
sleep, knowing full well that Atticus will sit there until
Jem wakes up the next morning.