To Kill a Mockingbird To Kill a Mockingbird discussion

The Ending

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Kressel Housman I just finished this book for the first time (i.e. as an adult who was never assigned it in school) and I thought it was a masterpiece. But I must admit, I didn't quite get Sherrif Tate's speech to Atticus on first read. Anyone else have that happen?

Heather Do you mean the one where Tate basically says he's not going to pursue Boo Radley for murdering Bob Ewell? I didn't go back to look for any foreshadowing, but I was actually surprised when both Atticus and Tate believed it was Jem who killed Mr. Ewell. Something about the whole "walking home from the school" scene screamed at me that Boo was in the shadows.

message 3: by Ina (last edited Jul 09, 2011 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ina I thought Bob Ewell fell on the knife and that's how he died because he killed himself.

Heather I don't have the book in front of me, but I think in Sheriff Tate's last "lecture" to Atticus it was implied that Sheriff Tate would not pursue Boo Radley as the killer because the townsfolk just do not understand his nature. And I believe it was Scout who likened Boo to a mockingbird and repeated that which she learned from (Miss ? - the one whose house burned down), "....mockingbirds give we humans no hassles by building nests in pesky places or other such things...but only provide us with song... it would be a sin to kill a mockingbird."
Anyone else care to register in on this? Is this correct? That is what I got out of the ending of "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Kressel Housman Yes, that's exactly what happened. But it's easy to take his excuse literally - that Ewell fell on his knife. I had to read that paragraph a second time and catch "his shy ways" to understand he was talking about Boo Radley.

Kressel Housman Ina wrote: "I thought Bob Ewell fell on the knife and that's how he died because he killed himself."

No, Ina. That was the "official" story the sheriff was giving out, but what really happened was that Boo Radley killed him to keep him off the kids. And as the sheriff says, that was no crime; it was such a service to the town that everyone would honor him, which is something Boo Radley himself wouldn't want.

message 7: by Nan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nan Isn't ironic that the same townfolks couldn't figure out a similar means of solving the problem about releasing innocent Tom Robinson from punishment?

Abby Fick I normally wouldn't say this about any other book, but watch the movie. It brings the book to life in perfect fashion and only enhances the story for future rereads.

message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 14, 2011 03:09PM) (new)

I love the movie! and the book. the movie is so enchanting and it follows the book closely. at first I thought the movie would ruin the book but it didn't

Kressel Housman The movie definitely is one of the truest adaptations I've ever seen, but the book still has those delicious social commentaries that the movie had to leave out, like Scout's first day at school and the missionary ladies' tea.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

yes yes.

Debbie Mcarthur I agree totally. Books are always better...but they did a wonderful job on this movie. There are a few that I feel that way about coz most time the movie just doesn't compare...but I think this one, Grapes of Wrath and The Shining were all very well done.

Kressel Housman Funny you should mention The Shining bec. if this is the best adaptation, I'd rank that one among the worst. It just doesn't show the boy's mental process enough.

message 14: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Bursztynski Oh, the movie was wonderful! Gregory Peck was the perfect Atticus. I'd say that movie and book were two masterpieces in their own right, but the film kept to the spirit of the book.

message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Atticus also thanks Boo at the beginning of the next chapter. He says "thank you for my children Arthur." Tate explains that all the old ladies will be showing up on the Radley's doorstep with cakes and such, totally disrespecting their private ways. Scout understands this when Atticus asks her, to bring all that attention on Boo would be like killing a mockingbird. Even though i had read this before in school, I had to go back and re-read it.

Andrew Hildreth I never had to read this in school, and in some ways I'm glad because I probably wouldn't have appreciated it like I do now. This is an amazing book!!

The only thing I "felt" that was less than excellent was that the ending seemed abrupt. But, I think that was because I just didn't want—and wasn't ready for—the story to end yet.

I was getting so anxious when I was reading the ending scenes. When the attacker was pulled off of Scout, I knew it had to be Arthur. When the guy was carrying Jem to the house, I knew it had to be Arthur. (All this was "hopeful" knowing). And I about teared up when Scout realized who the guy was standing in the corner....

"Hey, Boo."

Andrew Hildreth Oh yeah, one more thing... my favorite part about the ending is when Scout is "escorted" to Arthur's house, and she turns around on the front porch and finally sees what Arthur has seen over the last few years. That was absolutely wonderful and awesome!

"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough."

message 18: by Pamela (last edited Jul 31, 2011 07:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pamela Kressel wrote: "Funny you should mention The Shining bec. if this is the best adaptation, I'd rank that one among the worst. It just doesn't show the boy's mental process enough."

Have to agree about the adaptation of The Shining. Kubrick seems to have missed the point of the book. The movie concentrates on the tragedy of the family and the evil in the characters. In the book, the hotel is more of a character in and of itself. It doesn't want Jack. It wants Danny and only uses Jack as a way to get Danny.

Not to say the movie isn't good. It's great--it just has very little to do with the novel.

Sorry, got off topic there. Regarding the ending of TKAM, is it just me or does anyone else see the relationship/mirroring/whatever of Boo and Tom? Tom is essentially killed for something he did not do whereas Boo is exonerated for something he did do.

I'm not saying that what Boo did wasn't extremely justified, but rather that the reaction of the sheriff is that what Boo did was justified. If Boo had been black like Tom, would the reaction have been different?

Also in the vein of Boo/Tom, when Scout is on the front porch she is able to see what Boo has seen--to be in his shoes. Does she see/feel that much of a connection with Tom when she visits his family and when she sits in the "colored" section at the trial? (Don't know the answer...just asking the question.)

message 19: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John Walsh OT: I don't think Kubrick missed the point of THE SHINING, he just didn't agree with it, and did what he always did, which is use the book as a starting-off point. He famously called King one night and asked if he believed in an afterlife; King said he did, Kubrick said thanks and hung up, and that was it. What I got from that is that Kubrick felt secure that King's philosophy didn't match his, so he was free to just shred King's original story because it served a different idea.

Speaking of King I think his own DELORES CLAIBORNE is a riff on the ending of TKAM--Delores gets off for a murder she DID commit, and almost goes to jail for one she didn't.

As for the ending, the sheriff is explaining how things are going to be done in his town--it's not about 'justice' as it is about 'what's right.' What possible good could come of having Boo go to jail? The bad guy is dead, and if Boo were someone else, who might be bragging about it or would then go on to benefit from the killing, the sheriff would have arrested him like he would anyone else. But Boo would not benefit from this killing, and he was already in his own kind of prison, so really, what's the harm in just letting this all slide?

Not saying I agree with his point of view, but that's what it is, to me.

One thing that I found so great about this ending is how in one paragraph Scout describes Boo leaving, and ends with "I never saw him again." If this were written today, that would be its own separate paragraph, underlining the pathos. But simply adding it at the end of the other paragraph really gave it a nudge into something else. Not sure I'm making my point, but I thought it was a brilliant choice on the writer's part.

Stephanie Kressel wrote: "I just finished this book for the first time (i.e. as an adult who was never assigned it in school) and I thought it was a masterpiece. But I must admit, I didn't quite get Sherrif Tate's speech to..."

Whee, I didn't get Tate's speech either :D

Danielle I think maybe the point was that if anyone in the town had found out what happened Boo would have had no chance of a fair trial,in people's eyes he would have been guilty of murder no matter what the mitigating circumstances were, no matter that he saved the children, because he was different and the townsfolk were scared of him.The same way Tom was guilty in their eyes simply because he was black.

Kressel Housman My impression from the sherrif's speech is that Boo would have been treated as a hero with all the women in town bringing him cake, something Boo himself wouldn't have been able to tolerate. THAT was what the sherrif was sparing him.

7 taveraslimberg Taveras i like mangu

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2 i like toto

Brittany I loved how it ended and I actually some how picked up on what sheriff tate was saying the first time I read it which was shocking lol but in high school we had to read it and discuss it too so that helped make sure I was right

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Blaine Ham I was thinking about reading this book is it good

Shelley Blaine,

Read Mockingbird and you'll never be the same.

Rain: A Dust Bowl Story

message 28: by Kadi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kadi At the end it was quite obvious that Boo Radley had killed Bob Ewell. Love this book and would recommend it to anyone!

message 29: by Mia (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mia We read this book for English class and finished a couple weeks ago. When Jem and Scout were walking home from the pagent, it was very dark and Bob Ewell was the one who attacked them under the Oak tree.Our teacher showed us very suddle evidence that it was Boo who pulled Bob away from Scout.For example, it was very dark that night and since Boo is always inside, he is accustomed to the dark, so he can see better. In the end, both Atticus and the sheriff new what happened, and both came up with different stories to protect Boo, that was what the porch chapter was about.(Atticus saying it was Jem, and Sheriff saying the Bob Ewell killed himself). They decided to go with the Sheriff's side, to protect Boo from getting attention, which is why he was always in his house in the first place.

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