It all started when a girl named Jean Louise Finch, (Scout) was telling the story about her brother and how he broke his arm at the elbow. She went back two years to where they had tried to “Make Boo come out. ” Boo Radley, also known as Arthur Radley. Back before Jem and Scout were even born Arthur Radley and his family moved to Maycomb. There was Arthur, his older brother Nathan, and Mr. and Mrs. Radley. There was a story about the Radleys, saying that when their family moved into town, they were welcomed but chose to stick to themselves. They were considered foot-washing Baptists.
They thought that if you took pleasure in anything that you would go straight to hell. When Arthur was a boy he started to hang out with a bad group of kids. They went out one night, and resisted arrest, and were locked up in the county jail. Mr. Arthur bargained with Judge, saying he would pay a fine if they released Arthur, and he would be no more trouble to them. It was said that Arthur was never seen again. Rumors went around like Arthur stabbed his mother with a scissors, and that he had gone crazy. Miss Stephanie Crawford, the town gossip, even said that Boo looked in her window at night.
Nobody dared to go near the Radley property, children were afraid of being killed. Meanwhile, Jem and Scout were minding their business one summer afternoon when they met Charles Baker Harris, (Dill). Dill was staying with Miss Rachel, who lived next door to The Finch’s, for the summer. Dill, Jem, and Scout became quite good friends, and played many games. Their favorite was to reenact plays like Dracula, and Tarzan. They also talked about Boo, and the more Dill knew about Boo, the more interested he was. Soon Dill had the idea of getting Mr. Radley to come out of his house.
At first Dill dared Jem to go inside the house and get Boo out, but after three days of pestering him, he changed it to Jem had to touch the house. Jem agreed and ran as fast as he could to slap the house and get back to safety. It was soon time for school to start and Dill went home. Scout went to her first day of school, in the first grade, and hated it. Her teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, and Scout did not get along from the start. When Scout was all proud in showing her teacher that she could already read, Miss Caroline told her that her father, Atticus, taught her wrong and to stop. Scout was furious.
During lunchtime Walter Cunningham didn’t have any money for lunch, so Miss Caroline tried to give him a quarter, but he wouldn’t take it. She tried to force him to take it, but Scout had to explain to her that he was a Cunningham and he wouldn’t take anything that he couldn’t pay back. Miss Caroline again looked at Scout with disgust. On the way out Scout beat up Walter Cunningham, and Jem had to pull her off of him. Jem asked him who is father was and after receiving an answer invited him for lunch at their house. The reason for this was because Atticus, Jem and Scout’s father, was a lawyer, and had defended Walter’s father in court before.
While eating, Calpurnia, Atticus’s helper/maid, served Walter the syrup and he dumped on all of his food. Seeing this, Scout asked him what on earth he was doing. Calpurnia then took her into the kitchen and told her that Walter was her guest and she should know better than to act like that, then made her finish in the kitchen. After they went back to school, Miss Caroline had screamed, for she had seen a cootie come out of a child’s hair. After she was comforted, she asked the student who his name was. When he answered Burris Ewell, she looked on her list and saw that there was only Ewell, and no first name.
She asked him to get rid of the cooties before anyone else caught them and wrote him a note to go home to take a bath. He told her she couldn’t tell him what to do and that he was leaving anyway. It was then explained to her that Burris Ewell came to school for the first day and never came back, and he did this for a couple years now. Miss Caroline asked about his parents and was told he had no mother and a drunken father. She then tried to persuade Burris to come back and this made him mad. He turned to her and swore at her telling her that no teacher would make him go to school, that they never have and never will.
Most of Scout’s school days were as disliking as the first. On her way home one day, Scout noticed some chewing gum in a knothole in a tree on the Radley property. She ignored all the warnings about them being poisoned and ate them. When Jem came home he asked her what she had and where she had gotten it. When she answered him he yelled at her to spit it out, and that he’d tell if she didn’t. After that she would repeatedly show him the knothole and one day there was a box inside it that contained two Indian Head coins. Jem figured that a person just didn’t lose these sorts of items and said if anyone should ask for them he’d return them.
After that Jem and Scout received more gum, a knife, pocket watch, and two soap dolls. When they wrote a note to put in the tree to say thank you, Mr. Nathan Radley had put cement in the knothole so they couldn’t receive any more gifts. When summer came, so did Dill. The games they played last year weren’t as fun anymore. They then decided to roll in a tire. Scout got inside a tire and Jem pushed it down the road. It went too fast and Scout crashed to look up and see that she was at the foot of the steps entering the Radley house. When she returned Jem had an idea. He said they would play Boo Radley.
They would reenact his life, and Dill loved the idea. They played it until Atticus came home early and saw Jem with the scissors. Jem didn’t think he knew, but Scout sensed that he did. Dill and Jem got to be very close and seldom included Scout in their activities. Scout saw them whispering one afternoon and asked them what it was about. They didn’t say at first but then told her they were going to give a note to Boo Radley. They told her that now she was a part of it and had to keep watch. She was watching and then heard a bell ring, Dill had it to ring incase someone came, to turn around and see Atticus.
He told them to stop it and leave the Radleys alone. Later Dill and Jem got the idea to go and peak inside the Radley house, and Scout said she was going along. They went through the schoolyard so no one would see them. As they were there they heard something, and then a gunshot. They ran for the fence and got out underneath. Jem, on the other hand, got stuck and had to take his britches off. When they got back the whole town was at the Radley gate and then were surprised to see Jem didn’t have any pants on. Dill said that he had won them to strip poker.
That night Jem went back to get them from under the fence to find them folded over the top, and sewn where they had been ripped. School started again, and Scout hated it. She said that second grade was just as bad as first, only this year the people at school were calling her father a nigger-lover. Scout asked Atticus what this was about and he told her not to get into any fights over him, and that it might get worse. He explained to her that they didn’t like the fact he was defending Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. That winter it snowed for the first time since 1885, so school was called off for a day.
Jem decided he would make a snowman, but didn’t know how, plus there wasn’t enough snow. They asked Miss Maudie, another of their neighbors, if they could have her snow and she more than gladly gave it to them because it was killing her flowers. They then built their snowman out of mud, and then covered that in snow. That night Miss Maudie’s house caught on fire. She left her fireplace go through the night and it burnt her house down. For Christmas, Jem and Scout went to meet their uncle Jack at the train station. Scout was swearing now, she figured if she did Atticus wouldn’t let her go to school.
When Jack heard her ask Atticus to pass the damn ham at the dinner table, he took her to the kitchen and told her he didn’t ever want to hear those words come out of her mouth unless she was being provoked. After they received their air riffles from Atticus, for Christmas, they went to their Aunt Alexandra and Uncle Jimmy’s house on Finch’s Landing. Scout didn’t like going but that was mainly because of Francis. Francis was Alexandra’s grandson, and stayed with her every Christmas. After lunch, Francis was calling Scout’s father a nigger-lover, and was provoking her. She tried to let it drop but Francis kept on.
After the last straw she pounced on him. Everyone rushed out and asked what was the matter and Francis blamed it on Scout, so Uncle Jack gave her a spanking. They went home and Scout went to her room. Jack tried to talk to Scout but she told him to go away. He went into her room and she gave him her side of the story, and he felt bad. She also asked him not to tell Atticus why she beat up Francis, and he kept her promise. Uncle Jack also taught them how to shoot their guns, but Atticus said don’t shoot the mockingbirds. He told Jem he could kill all the blue jays he wanted, but it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.
He explained that mockingbirds only sing for us, that they didn’t do anything wrong to be killed. After things cooled down a bit and things started to get back to normal Jem and Scout would walk to town to meet their father. On the way they had to pass Mrs. Dubose’s house. They didn’t like her because she was old, and was always yelling nasty things to them. One day after going to town to spend his birthday money, Jem snapped. He cut all the tops of her flowers off and was tearing up her yard. When he went home Atticus made him go back and be responsible for what he had done. To fix the damages Mrs.
Dubose had him read to her everyday after school, and he could try to fix what he had done. He as to do this for one month and hated every minute of it. Two months later Mrs. Dubose died, and Jem and Scout’s father told them that she was a morphine addict and that was why she acted the way she did. That Summer Jem and Scout got a letter from Dill saying that he wouldn’t be coming this summer because he had a new family. Scout was sad, because two years ago Dill had said that she was the only girl he’d ever love, and asked her to marry him. In the letter Dill explained that he would come back for her and marry her just as he said he would.
Jem was starting to act a little strange lately as well. Calpurnia told Scout it was because he was growing up. A few weeks later Aunt Alexandra moved in with Jem, Scout, and their father. Jem and Scout were arguing about Scout giving their Aunt a hard time, and told her not to do it. They went into their own rooms and Scout thought she felt a snake hit her foot. She asked Jem to see what it was and it was Dill. He told them that he had run away from home because he didn’t like it. He said his parents were nice, bought him everything he wanted, but were never home. Jem told Atticus that he was here, and they called Miss Rachel.
Miss Rachel said it was ok for Dill to spend the night, and that she would check in the morning to see if he could stay the summer. The next day Dill found out he could stay and the three went back to their usual routine. Shortly after, on a Sunday night, Atticus took a lamp and book and said he was going out and wouldn’t be back until late. Jem couldn’t stand it and decided to go check up on him. Scout insisted on going with, so they got up, and got Dill to go with them. Together they went to town to Atticus’s office. When they found he wasn’t there they decided to walk on down to the post office, and found him sitting outside the Jailhouse.
They turned around to leave, but were distracted by some cars that pulled up to where Atticus was sitting. Apparently they wanted to kill Tom Robinson, who was in the cell, but Atticus was in their way. They had asked him to move, but he refused. Just then Scout yelled to Atticus and went over to him. Instead of being happy to see her he looked scared. The men saw Jem and Dill and told Atticus to send his children home. When he did Scout recognized Mr. Walter Cunningham and asked him how his entailment was doing. She told him all about how Walter came over for lunch and told Mr. Cunningham to tell him “Hey” for her.
He said he’d do that and then looked at the other men and said for them to leave. The reason Tom Robinson was in jail was because he was accused of rapping Mayella Ewell. She and her father testified that Tom went on their land to bust up a chiffarobe, and raped Mayella. Tom Robinson’s story was very much different, and the truth was told, that Tom was innocent. Atticus had hope that Tom might have had a chance at an appeal, but Tom gave up. Jem, Scout, and Dill watched the trial, sitting with Reverend Sykes, who was the Reverend in Calpurnia’s church. Everyone knew he was innocent, but because he was black he was convicted.
He was sent to jail, tried to run and was shot 17 times. Mr. Ewell swore to Atticus that he would get him for discrediting him in public if it was the last thing he did. Later things settled down and Jem and Scout were back in school. It came time when Miss. Merriweather was having a skit for the children, and Scout was to be a ham. Jem walked her there and left her with Cecil Jacobs. On the way home Jem thought he heard something, and Scout was still in her ham costume, so she could barely hear anything. It turned out that someone was following them, and soon they broke out into a run.
When they reached the tree in the Radley lawn Scout tripped and fell, and the attacker started mashing her ham costume. Jem went back to help her and they were struggling, Scout heard a strange snap, and the Jem screamed. The man was back on top of Scout trying to strangle her when someone, whom she thought was Jem, pulled the man off her. Then she saw someone pick up Jem and carry him home. When she got home Atticus phoned Heck Tate, the town Sheriff, and a doctor. Jem was unconscious and had a broken arm, which would interfere with his love to play football. Heck went back to see if the attacker was still on the ground and he was.
It was Mr. Ewell, and he was stabbed to death. When they asked Scout what happened she said she thought it was Jem who pulled Mr. Ewell off her, but it was really Mr. Arthur Radley. When Atticus said to Heck that his son would pay for what he did, meaning killing Mr. Ewell, Heck said he didn’t do it. He said that Mr. Ewell tripped and fell on the knife himself, when it was really Arthur who had done it to help Jem and Scout. When Atticus asked Scout if she understood why they were doing this she said yeah. It would be like killing a mockingbird if they didn’t.