To Kill a Mockingbird Study Guide Questions Chapter 9

1. As the chapter begins, Scout is yelling at Cecil Jacobs, a boy at school. Why are they fighting? Cecil had announced in the schoolyard the previous day that “Scout Finch’s daddy defends ******s.
2. Scout faces Cecil Jacobs next day again. How does the fight end? What can you tell about her? Scout was so furious with Cecil for not taking back what he said that she is about to fight him. Then, she remembers what Atticus told her: “No matter what anybody says to you, don’t let’em get your goat.” Scout drops her fists and walks away from the fight. Scout follows Atticus’s advice because she doesn’t want to let him down.
3. What makes Scout fell “noble”? Cecil calls her a coward but she feels just the opposite. She feels noble because she did what her father asked her to do: “Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him. I felt extremely noble for having remembered….”
4. Who is Atticus defending? Atticus is defending a black man named Tom Robinson. Robinson and his family go to Calpurnia’s church and are considered “clean-living folks” by her.
5. What are people in the town saying about the case, and what is Atticus’s response to the gossip? Some people in Maycomb are saying that Atticus should not be defending Robinson. Atticus tells Scout that if he did not defend the man, then he essentially would be disregarding his profession as a lawyer, as well as his own code of ethics. He would not be able to respect himself, nor could he expect others to respect him, including his own children: “…I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.”
6. When Scout asks Atticus if he is going to win the case, he tell her, “No, honey.” Then she asks him why he is taking on a case that cannot be won. What is his response, and what do you think he is referring to? Atticus says, “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”Atticus is most likely referring to the deep-rooted racism in Maycomb County, which goes back hundreds of years. Although the novel is set nearly seventy years after the abolition of slavery, prejudice against black people is still very much alive in America, especially in Deep South states like Alabama. Atticus is saying that there is little chances of Robinson’s fair trial. However, this is not going to cause Atticus to simply give up and not even try to win the case.
7. Describe Uncle Jack and his relationship with Scout. Present some evidence for your answer.
8. What does Francis say about Atticus? How does Scout react to Francis’s taunts? Francis calls Atticus a “******-lover” and says that he is “ruinin'” the family.” Scout gets very upset and yells at him, “He is not! … I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, but you better cut it out this red hot minute!” When Francis starts up again, Scout punches him, “splitting her knuckle to the bone on his front teeth.”
9. What is the result of Scout’s action? Does she feel sorry for what she did? Uncle Jack punishes Scout by spanking her in front of everyone and the Finch family leave the family gathering. She said, “I’ll never speak to you again as long as I live! I hate you an’ despise you an’ hope you die tomorrow!”
10. How does Scout explain her behavior to Uncle Jack? How does her explanation change Uncle Jack? Scout tells Uncle Jack what Francis said about Atticus. Jack now realizes that Francis was the one who started the fight and that Scout’s reasons for hitting him were understandable. He wants to go back to the Landing and tell Alexandra what actually happened.
11. According to Scout, what was unjust about the way he punished her? What did she say to Uncle Jack that made him deep in thought? What does she mean by that? Scout explains that Jack had acted unfairly when he punished her before getting all of thefacts: “…you never stopped to gimme a chance to tell you my side of it—you just lit rightinto me. When Jem an’ I fuss Atticus doesn’t ever just listen to Jem’s side of it, he hears mine too….” She adds that when Jack had scolded her for swearing, he had said that such words should be used only under “extreme provocation.” She maintains that Francis’s hurtful remarks fell under the category of extreme provocation.Scout said, “you don’t understand children much.”
12. After Scout tells Uncle Jack the truth, what does she then make him promise? Scout makes Uncle Jack promise not to tell Atticus about the incident; she wants to protect Atticus from knowing what Francis said. More importantly, she does not want Atticus to know that she let her temper get the best of her.
13. What further information is provided about the Robinson case as the chapter comes to a close? Atticus reveals that the case involves the Ewells. He also tells Uncle Jack that the situation could not be worse: “The only thing we’ve got is a black man’s word against the Ewells’…The jury couldn’t possibly be expected to take Tom Robinson’s word against the Ewells’….” Atticus admits that he will not win the case due to the racial prejudice of the jury.
14. As Jack and Atticus talk together in the evening, Atticus says that Scout must “learn to keep her head” in the next few months. Why is he concerned about her? With the trial coming up, it is likely that the children will hear many more unkind things said about their father. Atticus knows that Scout has a fiery nature and that it is difficult for her to walk away from fights, especially when she feels the need to defend her father. As he states to Uncle Jack, “What bothers me is that she and Jem will have to absorb some ugly things pretty soon. I’m not worried about Jem keeping his head, but Scout’d just as soon jump on someone as look at him if her pride’s at stake….”
15. Near the end of the chapter, Atticus refers to the ingrained racism among the residents of Maycomb. How does he describe racism in this passage? To what does he compare it? Atticus compares racism to a disease. He says he hopes that Jem and Scout will be able to get through the trial without “catching Maycomb’s usual disease.” His remarks further suggest that racism is a mental disease or a type of insanity: “Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand
16. Atticus knows Scout is listening the whole conversation between Jack and him. Why do you think Atticus wanted Scout to hear what he said during his conversation? Atticus knows that Scout might take his advice more seriously if it is not given directly. He also wants her to know that she and Jem can trust him and come to him with any questions during the impending difficult time: “I just hope that Jem and Scout come to me for their answers instead of listening to the town. I hope they trust me enough….”

You Might Also Like