To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter Summaries

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Chapter 1


Atticus Finch doesn’t follow in his family’s footsteps by working on a farm but becomes a lawyer with a dead wife, two children, and a maid/nanny called Calpurnia.

Jem Finch and his sister meet Dill, and it is obvious that he is cocky and “bigger than he appears”- he will be a bad influence.

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Arthur “Boo” Radley is a mysterious character that all in Maycomb are scared of, as there are many insane stories of him, such as a time when he stabbed his father with scissors.

Prediction: I think that Dill will try to make Jem and his sister do other foolish, idiotic things because one of my younger brothers will always try to convince my youngest brother to do something stupid so he can watch it without having to face the consequences.

Chapter 2


Dill only visits Maycomb during the summer, so he goes back to Meridian.

Scout (Jem’s sister and the narrator) goes to school but Miss Caroline, her teacher, who dislikes and mistreats children, realizes Atticus taught her to read and punishes her for being smart before having gone to school.

The Cunninghams are a poor family, so poor that they pay the Finches with food rather than money; Walter Cunningham forgets his lunch and is offered a quarter by Miss Caroline but will not be able to pay her back.

Prediction: I think Miss Caroline might either quit or have a very hard school year because she was humiliated by first graders and by a sixth grade teacher.

Chapter 3


Scout gets upset at Walter for getting her in trouble but Jem instead invites the Cunninghams to dinner with them

Miss Caroline freaks out because a bug crawls out of Burris Ewell’s hair; the Ewells are not a respected family and the children only go to school on the first day of the year.

Scout doesn’t want to go to school anymore, and asks if Atticus would teach her instead, but he says he can’t due to the law.

Prediction: I think that Scout may eventually try to leave school because even though it seems like they have made a deal, she is young and might change her mind.

Chapter 4


The school days are long and boring for Scout because the concepts for her are way too simple and it’s almost dreadful to have to take days to learn something in the time it would take her to learn multiple lessons.

Scout finds two pieces of gum in a knothole of a tree by the Radley house, and then she and Jem find two pennies in the exact same spot so they keep them.

Dill returns and they all begin their schemes again, one including them acting out the entire Radley family until Atticus finds out.

Prediction: Scout will be peer pressured into doing things that Jem and Dill have her do because she doesn’t want to be called a girl (even though she is one).

Chapter 5


Jem gets increasingly annoyed by Scout and slowly starts moving closer towards Dill and further away from Scout, which causes her to find other friends; specifically, Miss Maudie.

Scout and Miss Maudie talk a lot and Miss Maudie proposes her thoughts on Boo Radley and that he wasn’t so bad of a kid after all.

Dill and Jem try to lure Boo out by trying to leave a note saying that they would buy him ice cream, but Atticus catches them and tells them to stop.

Prediction: Jem will begin to dislike his father more and more, and try to do more things to make him angry because children have a tendency not to let things go- especially little things like this.

Chapter 6


Jem and Dill plan to look into the Radley house during Dill’s final moments in Maycomb until next summer.

They follow through with their plan, but Mr. Radley “sees” them in his yard a shoots a shotgun, causing the three to flee under a fence; Jem loses his pants in the process.

Practically the whole town has gathered conversing the situation; Atticus asks where they were and where Jem’s pants were, Dill quickly lies and says they were playing strip poker and he won Jem’s pants; Jem retrieves his pants later that night.

Prediction: The townspeople won’t make much more of the event because in the last paragraph, it says “...he was still.” This gives a calm sensation to the reader, leading me to predict there won’t be any future events regarding this incident.

Chapter 7


Scout dislikes second grade as much as first and can only find one thing to enjoy about it- getting out of school at the same time as Jem.

Scout and Jem find a ball of twine in the same knothole as before, and then later find many other objects including bars of soap with their faces on it, more gum, a medal, and a “pocket watch that wouldn’t run”.

Mr. Radley fills the hole in the tree with cement.

Prediction: I think Jem and Scout will start to lose interest in Boo because they have had a lot of trouble trying to get Boo to come out and just this recent incident with the knothole.

Chapter 8


There is snow in Maycomb, which never happens; Scout and Jem build a snowman that looks so like Mr. Avery that Atticus makes them change it up a little.

Miss Maudie’s house burns down- she lost all her possessions but got out fine.

Boo Radley allegedly draped a blanket over Scout during the whole ruckus of Miss Maudie’s house burning down and both Scout and Jem freak about it.

Prediction: I think Jem and Scout will continue to pursue Boo because they now have “proof” that he exists. “Proof”.

Chapter 9


Atticus is the lawyer for a black man in a trial and Scout gets in a fight with a boy named Cecil in class, when he says that Atticus “defended niggers.” (Lee 85)

The Finches go to Finch’s Landing, Scout makes dislikes pretty much everyone there.

Scout beats up Francis for a remark he made about her father; Uncle Jack hits her without hesitance, but later realizes he was wrong.

Prediction: I think Scout will try to intervene with the trial somehow because she was listening in on a conversation Atticus was having with Jack about Tom Robinson and got scared when she was caught.

Chapter 10


Scout is upset that her dad isn’t a “cool dad”, that he doesn’t do all the things regular fathers do- fishing, hunting, etc.

A rabid dog shows up in town and Atticus kills it with one shot, even from far away and despite the fact that he “[hadn’t] shot a gun in thirty years…” (Lee 109)

Jem is smart somehow and tells Scout not to tell anyone about Atticus’ skills, because “...if he’d wanted [them] to know it, he’da told [them].” (Lee 112)

Prediction: Scout will start listening to her father and realize he is smart because she has been closely examining him and noticing he knows what he is doing- especially regarding the trial.

Chapter 11


There is a woman named Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, whose house Jem and Scout always pass on the way home from school; they both despise her, but Atticus says to Jem, “ a gentleman.”

Mrs. Dubose says something to Jem about Atticus that offends him sincerely and he takes a baton Scout bought and destroys all of Mrs. Dubose’s camellias; as punishment for this, Jem goes to Mrs. Dubose every day for a month and reads to her.

Mrs. Dubose dies; Atticus tells Jem that him reading to her was to help her overcome a morphine addiction, and it was successful but she still died; Jem receives a small box with one camellia in it from Mrs. Dubose’s maid Jessie.

Prediction: Jem will forget about this incident soon and probably do another stupid thing because he is still a child and children tend to forget life lessons.

Chapter 12


Dill gets a new dad and says he won’t be returning to Maycomb, but that he will be staying in Meridian with his father and mother.

Cal takes the children to her church, the First Purchase African M.E. Church, where Scout learns that Tom Robinson was accused of rape by Bob Ewell.

They get home from church and Aunt Alexandra is there, already making herself at home.

Prediction: The children will either get along very well with Aunt Alexandra or the exact opposite because in books, children always have a very extreme relationship in one way or another with ancestors.

Chapter 13


Alexandra insists on staying a while since they don’t have a mom.

Alexandra quickly becomes almost a celebrity in Maycomb, bragging about the Finches’ ancestry.

Alexandra demands Atticus inform the children about their family’s past, but it doesn’t work very well.

Prediction: The children will hate Alexandra and make some sort of plot to get her to leave because again, they are children and that is a childish thing that seems likely.

Chapter 14


Whenever Scout and Jem are out, they catch people staring and whispering since their father is the lawyer for a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of rape.

Aunt Alexandra doesn’t like Cal, she tries to get rid of her; Jem tells Scout not to be rude to their aunt, but Scout doesn’t like being told what to do, so she fights Jem

Dill is found hiding under Scout’s bed because his new parents allegedly don’t pay enough attention to him; Miss Rachel, Dill’s aunt, is told where Dill is, Dill eats and then sleeps.

Prediction: Dill will leave back to Maycomb because he just wanted to show that he really would do something (like run away) if they didn’t pay more attention to him.

Chapter 15


The sheriff is worried about Tom Robinson being lynched by a mob, so Atticus goes to the front of the jailhouse that night and simply sits; Jem, Dill, and Scout secretly follow a little later.

Scout freaks out and runs out, will Jem and Dill following; Jem won’t budge after Atticus tells them to go home, so Atticus is given 15 seconds to get them back.

Unknowingly, Scout prevents Tom from being lynched by talking to Mr. Cunningham, who then realizes he shouldn’t lynch him.

Prediction: Atticus will still get very mad at them all because for one, they were out of the house late and two, they were in a very dangerous place.

Chapter 16


The current adults in the Finch household have a conversation about negroes, and Scout says she “was beginning to notice a subtle change in [her] father these days, that came out when he talked with Aunt Alexandra.” (Lee 179)

Tom Robinson’s trial begins and a ton of people show up from various locations.

Jem, Dill, and Scout sneak into the trial after a recess the court has, but get in very last and sit with the blacks on the top balcony.

Prediction: As commonly predicted, I think Tom Robinson will be determined guilty because of the extreme racial prejudice.

Chapter 17


Heck Tate is questioned as a witness by Mr. Gilmer. It is discovered that no doctors were called to inspect the woman raped and that there were bruises on the right of her face.

Bob Ewell claims that he heard his daughter Mayella screaming one night so he ran to see what was the matter, only to find that Tom Robinson was raping her.

Atticus has Mr Ewell write down Tom’s name, and sees that he is left-handed (Atticus concludes that Bob was more likely to cause bruises on the right side of someone’s face).

Prediction: I still think Tom Robinson will be proclaimed guilty because, again, he is a black man and he could just as easily be left-handed.

Chapter 18


As the trial goes on, Mayella admits she invited Tom into her house (but simply to break up her dresser- she offered him a nickel).

Atticus discovers that Mayella’s father is a drunkard, her siblings are practically useless in her eyes, and she doesn’t have any friends.

Tom’s left hand is useless, torn to shreds by a cotton gin when he was younger; Atticus begs

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