Rams Readers Spring 2014 discussion

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 26 comments Mod
After you have completed To Kill A Mockingbird, consider the following questions when responding:
1. Who is your favorite character and why?
2. How do you feel that Atticus managed his role as a single parent?
3. How does the trial change the town? Did the trial change you? How?
4. In the last few lines of the novel Scout says, "he was real nice. . ." and Atticus replies, "most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." Do you agree that most people in the novel are nice once you see them? How is Atticus able to see the good side of people despite all he has experienced? Can you?

message 2: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Possin | 55 comments 1. My favorite character is by far Atticus. He is just so innately good. He always sees the best in people and check his moral compass in all situations. He realizes that there are not just good and evil people but that good people can do bad things and evil or bad people still have good in them because of their humanity. In the novel it seems like his character comes in just at the right time to set things back on the GOOD path (usually by correcting the children but also in his role during the trail). I just want to spend a day seeing the world as he does. It is not that he is unrealistic in his world view; I think it is quite the opposite. He takes the good with the bad and just accepts people for what they are. It is inspiring. Some may think that he is unrelatable in this way and I can argue that point as well. He is a rare breed! But my favorite by far.
2. I think that by the standards of the time that the novel takes place, Atticus would be seen as a not so great parent. He has a daughter that does not fit into the social norms of a young southern girl. He children are left almost to their own devices, and to the people of Maycomb (the majority that is) he is seen as filling his children's heads with silly ideas about race. I am sure he was looked down on for not having a wife to tend to the children as well. It is because of all of those things that I think he is doing a fantastic job. He lets his kids be kids, lets them make their own mistakes but is there to set things right again, he doesn't demand more from them than virtue (to be honest and caring and just). He gives some of the best advice and cares about educating them even before their actual schooling began. As a single parent of a parent in general what more can you want from your kids but to be happy, be themselves, and be good people? A+ to Atticus!
3. As it says in the book, the trail proved that the town was taking baby steps in the right direction. There were those who outright stood up to the injustice and others who at the very least showed signs of guilt over the trail. With Atticus' irrefutable argument still not able to save Robinson... I think that shed a lot of light on just how deep the racism of the town was. I don't think you can ignore that kind of injustice. Bob's attack of Atticus proved that he even recognized that his character and reputation was shown for what it really was- despicable.
Did the trail change me? I try to think back to the first time I read it. I think I honestly believed that truth and good would prevail and Robinson would be freed. Since then I have learned more about the times and the cruelty, or maybe it is mostly ignorance, of the people during that time. I wasn't shocked this time, not because I knew what was coming, but more because I knew what a black man on trail with a white jury was really up against.
4. I think the novel had a way of bringing sympathy to most of the characters in the book, especially if you took Atticus' advice and put yourself in their shoes. I don't think there were any redeeming qualities to shine light on in regards to Ol' Bob though. But yes, in the novel an din life I think there is humanity in us all. I mean there are cases of serial killers being loving husbands and fathers! Extreme instance, I know, but good and bad can coexist which is what the theme of this novel seems to be. Coexist in an era, a community, and in individuals.
I thin it is because of all that Atticus has experienced that allows him to still see the good in people, not despite of. When I read The Help I thought a lot about how I may have acted if I had lived in those times. Would I have stood proudly with my maid or generate racist fliers about using separate toilets? It is really hard to say how much of someone's beliefs are a product of the times. And harder still to acknowledge that sometimes just keeping your eye blind to injustice is easiest, although never right. I think Atticus put it upon himself to be the person to stand up because he recognized how difficult it can be. He is unwaivering in his convictions. But because he chooses to acknowledge that good people do bad things he can cope with the evil, fight against the evil, and remain virtuous.
Always a great book about good and evil and innocence lost.

message 3: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Possin | 55 comments Also, I noticed I wrote trail instead of trial... Sorry!! Fast typing!

message 4: by Jaime (last edited Feb 14, 2014 11:17AM) (new)

Jaime | 39 comments 1. I think all the characters were really well developed. I really liked Scout's character, she is so fun loving, mischievous and sort of always goes against the grain. However, I feel that Atticus is he center of the novel. In the beginning of the novel Scout and Jem make Atticus seem like he is a crazy old man, but as they grow they realize what a great man and father he really was. He is very well respected by the whole town of Maycomb and he is sort of the "moral backbone" to this small town.

2. I am sure that during this time it was most certainly very difficult being a single parent, much less a single father. However, I feel that Atticus does a fantastic job raising his children. He emphasizes reading (yay!), he preaches kindness, and guides his children by setting a good example himself. One thing I especially liked was that he was very realistic parent, and honest about the world. He did not shelter Scout or Jem, and he taught them to admire the good while understanding the bad.

3. The trial changed the town in many ways, I think the trial also expresses the good and the bad of the town. As for those who were racist and prejudice, it made them even more so angry that Tom Robinson could be guilty of raping Ewell's daughter. Those who believed in Tom's innocence, it made them realize how unjust the system truly was. Jem was most especially changed by he trial, I think throughout the novel he matures and grows from being ignorant and innocent to being realistic and mature. The trial changed my point of view as well, I too thought that justice would prevail, and without a doubt it was just the opposite. the trial was very effective in showing the good vs. evil in the town.

4. I love the last chapters of the novel, it really comes full circle. When Atticus is holding Scout just as if she is still a small innocent child. The characters grew so much and learn about good and evil. Boo who was thought to be a ghost story in the town becomes a hero and saves both Scout and Jem, and creates justice when Bob Ewell "falls on his knife". Boo really was a good person hidden in his home, and he showed this through his presents and heroic rescue. I think that everyone has some sort of 'good' n them. It is up to the person to decide whether or not to let the good prevail. This is true in everyday life, you make a choice daily as to do the right or wrong thing. This comes from what you do, how you act, or the way you speak. Being kind, nice, moral etc. is a mind set and a lifestyle. Atticus really represented this, he made every choice to do the right thing whether or not it was what everyone else would do, and he taught his children to do the same. I also really appreciate the way Atticus understands both sides, and teaches his children to understand both sides. There is not good without the bad, and both will always exist.

message 5: by Tricia (new)

Tricia | 24 comments 1. I really enjoyed Scout as a character. She is hopeful and positive in a childlike, but not childish. Her reckless side makes an engaging and exciting perspective.
2. Atticus managed very well as a single parent. He worked hard to make his kids “good”. I admire the way he expects respect and accountability from them. He gives a great perspective and example for his kids. I think he manages his role very well. Mostly, I think he’s just a solid example, which might be kind of unrealistic—it’s just more common to see people tell what they believe rather than show or live it.
3. The trial showed me that people’s deep ideologies will come to light particularly when supported by others around them. “Crowd mentality” or bandwagon thinking applies to insignificant things like shopping habits and to racist ideas as well.
4. I do agree that most people in the novel were nice, and I think it’s true in life, too. This makes the novel timeless I think. Basically all people are good including the story’s characters. They were all just trying to get their needs met—caring more about that than anyone else or their needs. I think Atticus can see the positive in people the same way each of us can: by hearing/seeing the heart behind people rather than just their words or actions.

message 6: by Maira (new)

Maira Torres | 45 comments 1. My favorite character in “To Kill a Mockingbird” would have to be Scout. I liked her because she was not what she was supposed to be according to everyone else and that still didn't stop her from being herself. I think she turned out to be a good person and that was all thanks to the people around her like Atticus and Calpurnia.
2. I think Atticus was a great father especially considering the time period he was forced to be one in. I am sure being a single father in the time of the book was not easy. He had to hear everyone else’s two cents and still managed to decide what was best for his kids. Dill had two parents and they didn't pay attention to him. Scout and Jem had Atticus’ full attention.
3. I do not think that the trial changed the town much maybe just some people. I think the trial may have changed the next generation of adults in Maycomb. I had already read this story before and I love this book. Even though I knew what the outcome would be I still wanted the ending to change from the last time I read it.
4. I do not agree that most people are nice once you get to see them. Some people are exactly who you see them as the first time. I know that you do not judge a book by its cover but sometimes we can’t help but do so. I think Atticus is able to see the good side of people despite everything because he truly believes everyone has some good in them. I think everyone has some good in them but not everyone decides to use it.

message 7: by V. (new)

V. Fox | 67 comments 1) It's hard for me to choose a favorite character because I liked so many of them. Scout, Jem, and Dill all had gumption - Dill buying his own ticket and coming back to spend the summer with Scout and Jem without his parents' knowledge; Scout - being herself in every situation and defusing the scene outside the jail; Jem - explaining things to Scout and protecting her
2)Atticus and his role as a single parent
I think Atticus is a wonderful parent. The town is small enough that Scout and Jem have freedom to play and explore a lot on their own giving them opportunities to use their imaginations. Atticus knows he needs help and employs Calpurnia to assist with caring for the home and the children. Atticus allows his children to know about the realities of life.
3) I don't think the town was really changed as a whole by the trial. They certainly were interested in it since it was so well attended. I liked where I think it was Miss Maudie who told the kids it wasn't by accident that the Atticus had been appointed to defend Tom. I think the trial is a good example to follow when courage might be needed to follow your convictions.
4)I like that Atticus looked past the parts in people that made them difficult to deal with with an understanding of why they acted the way they did. A lot of that comes from knowing people's histories and that takes time to develop. I wish most of us were nice.

message 8: by Erin (new)

Erin | 20 comments My favorite character by far was Atticus he is a great example of a role model that children should have. He taught them right from wrong while also caring for them as well. I loved the scene when he stood in front of the jail when Robinson was going to be moved, it shows that he really does care for his clients. I was not surprised by the trial in the book since I have read this book before in high school I knew what was going to happen. I think this trial did create a footing in the right direction, and no matter what the facts were even if innocent he was going to be found guilty. I think once you finally understand a person and see who they really are they can be nicer then what it seems on the outside. I think Atticus likes to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, I think he isn’t one to judge and fall into believing the rumors of the town. No doubt about it was he the strongest character in this story, it’s such a good read, I hope others enjoyed it as well.

message 9: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cjhicks) | 76 comments To Kill a Mockingbird
After you have completed To Kill A Mockingbird, consider the following questions when responding:
1. Who is your favorite character and why? My favorite character is Scout, I love her spunk and her honesty.
2. How do you feel that Atticus managed his role as a single parent? I think he might have been a bit of a work-alcoholic but most lawyers are that way but given the circumstances of the time period I would that his contemporaries didn’t think he was doing a good job but if he were raising these kids today we would say he was doing an excellent job. He always answered their questions honestly to the degree they could understand what he was saying. He read to them every night, how many parents do that today.
3. How does the trial change the town? I think the trial is a first step in the right direction for the civil rights of African Americans. It is obvious to all that Mr. Robertson is not guilty and this makes them realize that maybe African Americans are not what the general population believes it to be. In spite of that they are afraid of changing their ways.
Did the trial change you? No not really because I have read this book before and have seen the movie. It helped shape me when I was young.
4. In the last few lines of the novel Scout says, "he was real nice. . ." and Atticus replies, "most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." Do you agree that most people in the novel are nice once you see them? Well some are some are not just like today. I think the people are basically nice but they were set in there ways and feared change.

How is Atticus able to see the good side of people despite all he has experienced?
Atticus is just simple a very good and kind man who is able to look beyond peoples faults. He realizes it will take time to change the people of his town.
Can you? I try but I am not always very good at it.

message 10: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Possin | 55 comments I find everyone's response to the last question very interesting. I think it's a bit telling of maybe not the person but their experiences with people over the years.

message 11: by Diana (new)

Diana | 34 comments I enjoyed the characters in this book, I like the way Scout was so peppy and gutsy. However, I must admit the one who stands bold and brave is Atticus. He was courages in raising his children, but determined when it came to his profession and extremely audacious. Atticus as a parent was all around a good father, he took time to read to his children. Even though is profession may have caused him to be weary, he managed to dedicate his time and attention to his children. When I think about today and how parents care and raise their children...well there's just not enough done in comparison to what Atticus did. The trail I believed did not change everyone but it did cause many to reflect on the true actions and judgements that were being screened. Atticus speech was so detrimental and firm in demonstrating how he felt about Tom. How sad that many were compelled to join the bandwagon regardless of what the truth really was. How Atticus was able to see the good in everyone is an admirable trait. Very few of us can see the good in all people because too often we are to quick to judge. However, with his profession and noble character he made a huge effort to believe that people were good but sometimes there situations changed them for the worse. I would like to believe I try to see the good in most people but sometimes their first impression is hard to disregard. Ideally it would be great if I were more adamant in believing people are generally good.

message 12: by V. (new)

V. Fox | 67 comments My friend, Sherry Early, has a blog found at www.semicolonblog.com where she writes book reviews. She posed a question on Facebook asking who had read or seen the movie To Kill A Mockingbird. She was reviewing the book I Kill the Mockingbird b Paul Acampora. It is supposed to be a young adult novel for "meta-book-lovers" and includes interpretations of To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm going to try to read it this summer.

message 13: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cjhicks) | 76 comments Diana wrote: "I enjoyed the characters in this book, I like the way Scout was so peppy and gutsy. However, I must admit the one who stands bold and brave is Atticus. He was courages in raising his children, but ..."

I really love this book, it has always been one of my favorites and I think it is still a book worthwhile reading for today's kids. It has lessons about racism and enlightens us to how very bad it was for the Black person. We have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. I also love the setting in this book because it reminds me so much of the southern life in a small town. I never lived in a small town per say but I have visited relatives who live in small southern towns and I have positive feelings about it. I hear my mom talk about being raised in a small town and it seems so relax although even though everyone knows your business. Most of my life was spent living on military bases and they resemble small towns in many ways. Everyone knows your business and I could never get away with tee peeing a house cause my parents always found out about it and I would end up cleaning it up.

message 14: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cjhicks) | 76 comments V. wrote: "1) It's hard for me to choose a favorite character because I liked so many of them. Scout, Jem, and Dill all had gumption - Dill buying his own ticket and coming back to spend the summer with Sco..."
I think that they as a whole realized how wrong they were to assume things and that a black man has a harder road to travel than a white and I think they learn a lesson in standing up for what is right and not just letting a few mess things up.

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