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Buddy Reads Discussions > Discussion for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: *SPOILERS*!

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message 51: by Diane (last edited Aug 02, 2010 08:35AM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Lisa, I think I will probably read the book too. It will be fun to get some background information once I finish up. I just read a line that made me laugh out loud:

"Atticus was proceeding amiably, as if he were involved in a title dispute. With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon."

message 52: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Diane, Despite its serious themes, it really is such a funny book!!!

Oh good, SA & B is fun to read; it's fun to read about others' feelings and thoughts, and information too, about the book. Which is why this thread is/will be fun as well. I love hearing how others' feel/think about books, especially those where I have many thoughts and strong feelings.

message 53: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Lisa wrote: "Diane, Despite its serious themes, it really is such a funny book!!!

Oh good, SA & B is fun to read; it's fun to read about others' feelings and thoughts, and information too, about the book. Whic..."

Yes, me too! And I really hope I can find the movie to re-watch it. Off to work :( have a great day, Lisa!

message 54: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) You too, Diane. Yes, the movie is worth watching too. It's so well cast. I wish it had been longer and they'd left less of the book out, but truncating the events/story is typical of all movies made from books.

message 55: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I finished! Oh my goodness I absolutely adored this book! And, I'm not sorry I read it as an adult because I can appreciate the kind of parenting that Atticus is doing so much more.

One of my favourite and most aggravating scenes was Scout's first day of school. When the cootie crawled down out of that boys hair and the teacher just about fainted! The kids were priceless when they were trying to comfort the her.

And then I was so mad at the teacher for the way she treated Scout because she could already read. Grrrrrr!

There were so many wonderful moments in the book. I loved the ending with Boo coming out to save Jem and Scout. I cried and cried for the last few pages.

message 56: by Kathy (last edited Aug 02, 2010 12:52PM) (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Lee, I'm so glad you love it! I'm about halfway through my reread, hope to sit down this afternoon with it a while.

One of the things I enjoy most about TKAM is the allusions--literary, historical, cultural. A couple of good sites for TKAM allusions are and
I, also, copied the ones listed at the last site and listed them below:

To Kill a Mockingbird Allusions & Cultural References
When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature and Philosophy

Bram Stoker, Dracula (1.32)
Oliver Optic (1.39)
Victor Appleton (1.39)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (1.39)
Tarzan (1.39), (4.96)
The Rover Boys (1.39), (4.44)
Tom Swift (1.39), (1.68), (8.104)
Merlin (1.39)
Seckatary Hawkins, The Gray Ghost (1.68), (1.87), (31.40), (31.40-47)
Tarzan and the Ant Men (2.2)
My First Reader (2.11)
The Bible (2.27), (5.35), (12.126), (19.126)
Old Testament (5.8)
Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe (11.69), (11.80), (11.84), (11.110), (11.121)
Shadrach (12.23)
Garden of Gethsemane (12.54)
Blackstone’s Commentaries (12.132)
Moses (12.142), (23.59)
Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes (17.158)
Mr. Jingle (18.62), a character in Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers
Three Fingered Fred (31.49)
Stoner’s Boy (31.49-51)

Historical References

Andrew Jackson (1.3), (28.45)
John Wesley (1.4)
Lorenzo Dow (2.18)
Brigadier General Joe Wheeler (5.82)
Bellingraths (8.44)
General Hood (9.26)
Stonewall Jackson (9.26)
Lord Melbourne (9.174)
Dixie Howell (11.34)
Windy Seaton (11.130)
Governor William Wyatt Bibb (13.30)
Lydia E. Pinkham (13.32)
Herbert Hoover (14.1)
Henry W. Grady (15.22)
Braxton Bragg (16.6)
Robert E. Lee (17.58)
Thomas Jefferson (20.50)
John D. Rockefeller (20.51)
Albert Einstein (20.51)
Eleanor Roosevelt (24.55)
Adolf Hitler (26.14-56))
Elmer Davis (26.36)
Bob Taylor (27.3)
Cotton Tom Heflin (27.17)

Pop Culture

One Man’s Family (4.102)
Hunt’s The Light of the World (12.54)
"Jubilee" (12.75)
“On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” (12.89)
"Nearer My God to Thee" (15.45)
“Amazing Grace” (24.25)
"Sweetly Sings the Donkey" (26.12)
Uncle Natchell (26.13)

message 57: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Thanks for the list Kathy, you reminded me of something I was curious about while reading. The part where Calpurnian is telling Scout that she taught her son to read with Blackstone's Commentaries. I was wondering why Scout thought that was so scandalous.

message 58: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) I am sooooooo angry. Goodreads just ate 2 of my posts and I'm getting 503 errors forever.

So, remembering to copy before send!!!

I don't know why.

Maybe Benedict Arnold? Doubt it though.

Lee, I'm so happy that you liked it.

Kids love Atticus too. I read it at 12 as did many of my friends and we all wanted Atticus as a father.

Lee, I knew you'd love the school scenes!!! ;-)

message 59: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I thought something romantic might develop between Atticus and Maude.

message 60: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee wrote: "I thought something romantic might develop between Atticus and Maude."

They do seem suited for one another. There's something there, it seems.

message 61: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
So does anyone know why Harper Lee only wrote one book? What a talent she had.

message 62: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Lee wrote: "So does anyone know why Harper Lee only wrote one book? What a talent she had."

I think a lot of it had to do with the invasion of her privacy that she hated so much.

message 63: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee wrote: "So does anyone know why Harper Lee only wrote one book? What a talent she had."

Lee, Not really. There is a lot of speculation. I highly recommend the book Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird. Some speculation in there.

Some think she was afraid she couldn't top herself after To Kill a Mockingbird but she's been mostly mum on the subject.

message 64: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I have a question -- is TKAM also considered Young Adult, in addition to classic? I've seen it referenced as YA on some sites. I hope so, then I can meet my YA challenge on another group :)

message 65: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Well, she certainly gave the world a wonderful gift.

message 66: by Hayes (last edited Aug 02, 2010 11:52PM) (new)

Hayes (Hayes13) Lee wrote: "So does anyone know why Harper Lee only wrote one book? What a talent she had."

I read an article somewhere (don't know if I'll be able to find it... will try) that suggested that she was quitting while she was ahead. Anything that she could write after would be compared to TKAM and she didn't want to have that hanging over her head.

Lee I'm so glad you liked it.

Diane D.: I was 13 when I read this in school, so I think you could use it as a YA book.

ETA: Ha! I found it!

message 67: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Diane D. wrote: "I have a question -- is TKAM also considered Young Adult, in addition to classic? I've seen it referenced as YA on some sites. I hope so, then I can meet my YA challenge on another group :)"

It's an adult novel. I read it when I was 12 and many read it between the ages of 9 & 18. But it is an adult novel, at least it was published as such. That said, back in 1960, there wasn't really a young adult genre. AND, the YA Book Club here ( is reading it for this month's selection, so by all means, count it as a ya book if that works for you!

message 68: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Lisa and Hayes, I had never thought of it as a YA, but when I read that so many of you read it at such an early age, and then all the YA groups that have it, that made me ask. Reading it now, I am wondering how I would have processed it if I read it when I was between 9 and 13 like some of you.

Lee says she appreciates Atticus' parenting more. How do others feel that are re-reading as adults? Do you feel you understood the racial injustices shown to Tom at the outcome of the trial when you read as a child? What about rape? Did you know what that was?

message 69: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Diane, I think that there's a lot of good parenting to be observed in Atticus. After Jack spanks Scout, she points out the difference in bad parenting and good parenting when she says, "Well, in the first place you never stopped to gimme a chance to tell you my side of it--you just lit right into me. When Jem an' I fuss Atticus doesn't ever just listen to Jem's side of it, he hears mine, too ..." Plus, I like how Atticus believes in answering the kids' questions with honesty and facts, not just putting them off.

message 70: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Kathy, I agree. Your examples are great and also the morals he instills in them, teaching them to not lose their cool (Scout fighting in the schoolyard); the local women were more concerned with the fact that Scout dressed in overalls instead of dresses.

message 71: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Diane, When I saw the movie at age 9, I had no idea what rape was, but I got it that he was accused of hurting her. When I read the book at age 12 I basically knew what rape was, yes. And I appreciated Atticus's parenting style very much when I read it at age 12. I think I got it. For the movie, I honestly don't remember.

message 72: by Diane (last edited Aug 03, 2010 06:08PM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) On the topic of Atticus' parenting, another thing I respect is that he never tried to hide anything from the children. Specifically this scene when they all arrive home after the verdict of guilty and the kids, esp Jem, are so upset:

Aunt Alexandra: "I didn't think it wise in the first place to let them - "

Atticus: "This is their home sister. We've made it this way for them, they might as well learn to cope with it."

That scene for me was WOW!

message 73: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Diane, I love that too.

message 74: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Finished it last night, and it was just as wonderful as the other times. When I reached the part where Scout sees Boo in Jem's room and says, "Hey Boo," it was as thrilling as the first time I read it. I'm so glad I joined in this reading of TKAM.

message 75: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Kathy, I'm so glad that you're glad.

That's about where I start crying and don't stop. ;-)

message 76: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Lisa wrote: "Kathy, I'm so glad that you're glad.

That's about where I start crying and don't stop. ;-)"

Yeah, I'm always sad that Scout says she never saw him again after she walked home with him and the door closed. I wanted to believe that they would/could have a friendship in the years to come.

message 77: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I cried at that scene too! That "hey Boo" was so perfect.

One of the things I appreciated about Atticus was how he always told the truth to his kids. He found a way to explain things to Scout and Jem in respectful way. He took their concerns seriously and never dismissed them. I love that.

Also, he knew and taught them that having true integrity was more important than the appearance of morality. What an inspiring message!

message 78: by Diane (last edited Aug 05, 2010 08:49AM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Well, I'm almost finished. I just finished the chapter where Tom was shot (17 times!!) and killed. I did not remember the ending from the movie at all so I was so sad to read this.

Lee, I agree with you whole-heartedly about how Atticus always told the truth and explained things somehow to the kids. Especially after the verdict of guilty was delivered at the trial, and he explained everything to them. Jem was so emotional and disappointed in the jury....just a great chapter. Atticus always was able to somehow turn a negative into a positive and never lose hope.

I agree with Kathy, I'm really glad to be part of this with all of you, there's so much to talk about! Wonderful book.

message 79: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee, I especially agree with you about the honesty with kids. When I think about it, I read this when I was being told/had been told a huge lie, which was very traumatic. I wholeheartedly believe in honesty with kids, especially about the big things! Atticus was my personal hero, and I wanted to be Scout.

message 80: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I forgot to mention another part I found so endearing...when Jem opened his shirt to show Scout his hair growing on his chest and under his arms! Oh, talk about the innocence of children. So sweet!!

message 81: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I was curious about how TKAM was received when it was published in 1960, given the subject matter and what was going on in the U.S. A quick google found this:

The Civil Rights Era -
Setting the Historical Context for the Novel and the Film

Lee wrote the novel during the beginning of the Civil Rights era (from about 1955 to 1958). Alabama was very much in the news at this time with the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King's rise to leadership, and Autherine Lucy's attempt to enter the University of Alabama graduate school.
Harper Lee, who was well known on campus as editor of the politcially satirical student newspaper, graduated from the university and entered law school, leaving one semester short of receiving a law degree. Lee's book was published in 1960 - a time of tumultuous events and racial strife as the struggle in the Civil Rights movement grew violent and spread into cities across the nation, and into the American consciousness on TV screens and the nightly news.

The novel shot to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, as it began to make its remarkable impact on a divided nation. A year after its publication Lee worked as a consultant on the film adaptation of the novel and the screenplay written by Horton Foote. The film was released in 1962 and went on to receive five Academy Award nominations, winning three.

message 82: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 09, 2010 11:14AM) (new)

Chrissie I reread this book at the end of July. You know, I do NOT reread books. But THIS, this was worth it. It had so much more than what I had first seen in it about fifty years ago. Me, I am 58, and I don't remember exactly why or when I read it, but it was not for school and was about 11 or 12. Lisa, I guess we read it at about the same time. If you lived in a family of readers you simply could not miss this book! Race issues were very predominant at that time. I really like the depiction of the south and race relations. I think the book captured the true sense of how it was to live in the south at this time. I think I was living in Milwaukee at the time. Or NY?

What can I say? I think I love the book now more than I did then. Then it was such a topic for discussion. Now you just attack it with your own feelings, no one is stressing the racial clash. On the back of my book the author states that she simply saw this as a love story, and this is what affects me most now in this reading. The love between brother and sister. And Atticus' and Boo's love for Scout and Jem. And the Dill - Scout relationship too. This book is saturated with people who truly love eachother, in an hones down to earth manner. It is NOT dripping with syrup. I loved this book so much! Each love realtionship was so completely unique. Aunt Alexandra and Atticus - think about how Aunt Alexandra changed. Think about how she truly loved her brother irregardless of their different points of view!

The lines, the dialogue. I agree with you Lisa. I love: "The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." For me there is one line, repeated time and time again, that speaks directly to my heart: "It is not time to worry." I am swept off my feet by this statement. Scary issues are not denied, but NOW is not yet the time to really start falling apart. It is honest and comfortong all wrapped up together. What a way to teach children.

I loved the way the issue of rape was not hidden but put right up front to the children in a manner that was not too icky. How? Simply by their father's definition using "correct terms". Honest, but not sordid and icky. Later life would teach soon enough.

Excellent lines, upplifitng (irregardless of the brutal actions described), an accurate and poignant description of a time and place and a love story about the people in a family and a small town. That is this book.

Heavens, I haven't written a review yet. But this is what I am thinking. Maybe I will just skip the review or paste a bit of this there..... It is hard to write 4 book reviews and really do the books justice when you have so many other things piled up to do.

Hi all you guys, nice to be back.

message 83: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Chrissie, So glad you're back. And I'm glad you made an exception and reread this book, and liked it again, even more.

We got to read this book when it was fairly new(ish) and then on its 50th anniversary too (and I many, many times in-between.) But, it is a true classic; it really holds up, even though times have changed.

message 84: by Diane (last edited Aug 09, 2010 08:44AM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Hi Chrissie - I love your Message 82! I just finished this past Saturday and I tried to write a review but I couldn't put my feelings into words at all about this book. But you got it.

Reading this book and realizing that it was published in 1960, I could not help but realize the gratitude we owe to people like Harper Lee and others who were so active in the Civil Rights movement. This book took on very controversial issues for the times of publication; and this book lives on. Like Lisa says, a true classic.

It was perfect timing for me to read it at the 50 year anniversary and with all of you who are such fans. BTW my live book club is reading it now and we will be discussing it next week.

message 85: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Hey Chrissie, I love what you said about the love relationships between all the characters in the book. I really felt that too. I was also really moved by Boo, sitting in his house watching the kids coming and going and his obvious love for them.

message 86: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Diane, that is nice what you said!

Lee, and think of the sheriff who understood why Jem's supposed crime couldn't be taken to court. It was so perfect that Atticus wanted it all brought out into the open but that the sheriff knew that more damage would be done and that it was so very unnecessary.

and I loved Miss Maudie and how she gave a piece of the big cake to Jem...... I loved so many people in the town.

But most of all I need to remember that line:

"It is not time to worry". It is something I need to shout at myself when I get all upset about things, when I get all stressed up....... It is my new motto.

And I loved how Scout "grew up a bit" and could actually serve all the women at the party along with Miss Maudie and Alexandra. If they could, so could she! Each character was true to themselves and yet at the same time changed as life punched them. Think of Dill! Think of Jem!

message 87: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Yes, yes, yes! Just about every character had some redeeming qualities even if they weren't perfect. I loved that. The sheriff, the neighbour who was addicted to morphine, Aunt Alexandra, they all grew a little over the course of the book. What an amazing cast of characters! The more we talk about it the more I appreciate it. Harper Lee was a very wise and compassionate author.

Atticus was so calm wasn't he? I like that "not time to worry" line too. I tend to get wound up and stressed out in the moment and it's really pointless. It creates so much tension and fear in the body.

message 88: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments I, too, loved the "not time to worry" line.

message 89: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Lee and Kathy - great to know that others also were caught by the "not time to worry line"! It was amazingly wonderful how although it was Atticus's line, both Scout and Jem would tell each other this too. It is so calming b/c it doesn't pretend that the terrible has disappeared, just that we are not at that point yet! The honesty lets you calm down. Yes, all hell can break out soon, but we are not at that point NOW, so cool it!!!!

And then you guys - think of the title! Remember how Atticus warns the kids to "never kill a mockingbird" with their air guns? Atticus never talks about sinning, but to do that IS to sin! So what is the mockingbird? A bird that only brings pleasure and delights us with a song. It is beauty. So what is the book about? I would guess it is about how horrible it is when people kill what is beautiful and kind and good. And Scout understands this when she tells Atticus that the sherif was absolutely correct, and that she had been mistaken in thinking that Jem had killed Mr. Ewell. The sherif, Mr. Tate, WAS probably correct when he said Mr. Ewell had fallen on his knife. To prove this would be to draw all the village attention on to Boo and that this would be a sin. What I love is the true understanding of who each person is! Mr. Tate knew and "loved" Boo enough to prevent drawing this man into the village limelight. Scoult understood this too and she sums it all up by stating that to do otherwise would be like to kill a mockingbird. OMG I loved that. Then even obtuse Atticus understood. He had been stuck in the tracks of his profession where NOTHING could be covered up. Atticus who always understood everything and was so perfect had to be pushed into clarity by little Scout. I loved, loved, loved that Scout understood what her father had taught her about putting yourself in another person's shoes. She first thought that she had only taken from Boo, but then she understood that when she saw the village from Boo's porch that Boo had loved them and that she HAD given to Boo too.

message 90: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Oh yes, I loved that scene when Scout is standing on Boo's porch looking around from his perspective. That was amazing.

message 91: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Lee, and here again you could see how whe really was growing up and really understood what her father had been teaching all long. It gave such a cool view of the whole town. Before one thought that Boo was insular, now he is in fact taking part, in his own way, of what the town had to offer through its people.

message 92: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Chrissie wrote: "Lee and Kathy - great to know that others also were caught by the "not time to worry line"! It was amazingly wonderful how although it was Atticus's line, both Scout and Jem would tell each other t..."

Great commentary, Chrissie!

message 93: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 1853 comments Lee wrote: "Oh yes, I loved that scene when Scout is standing on Boo's porch looking around from his perspective. That was amazing."

Oh, Lee, I could read that scene over and over again. I imagine myself standing on that porch and looking out at the view that Scout now has. This book compels us to look at our own lives and try to see what others see, not just our own myopic view.

message 94: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Thanks Kathy.

message 95: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Awesome comments all around everybody! Thanks for deepening my appreciation of the book!

message 96: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Yep. that scene with Scout on Boo's porch looking at everything from there was priceless. The whole book is. I'm so glad I reread it yet again. I'm always scared I won't like it as much as I used to, but so far it hasn't been time to worry yet. (hee hee, but true!)

message 97: by Diane (last edited Aug 10, 2010 04:12PM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I was just at Borders where my favorite bookseller told me he has an AUTOGRAPHED copy of To Kill A Mockingbird!! I almost fainted!

message 98: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Diane D. wrote: "I was just at Borders where my favorite bookseller told me he has an AUTOGRAPHED copy of To Kill A Mockingbird!! I almost fainted!"

Oh, what a lucky man!

message 99: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I wish I could better understand those who DON'T like this book. What would they change? What bores them? How can it be perceived as flat? I just don't understand, but maybe it is fruitless to debate since people just perceive things differently....... I would hope that our discussion, where most of us love the book, would help them enjoy it too.

message 100: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I watched the movie last night. It was wonderful watching it again, after having just read the book!

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Books mentioned in this topic

To Kill a Mockingbird (other topics)
Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of "To Kill a Mockingbird" (other topics)
To Kill a Mockingbird (other topics)
In Cold Blood (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Harper Lee (other topics)
Truman Capote (other topics)
Jane Austen (other topics)