Chapter 6 of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee?
- Key themes
- Language, form and structure
- Contextural Factors
- Perspectives of Lee
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Themes. Lee continues to explore the themes of intolerance (the children are still bent on seeing Boo Radley despite Atticus's warnings) and racism (the neighbors all assume it is a black man who has raided the Radley collard patch). It is yet another example of the children's loss of innocence, and an occasion for Jem to show both his bravery and growing maturity.
Language, form and structure. Lee provides the reader with some exposition about a new character, aptly named Dick Avery, at the beginning of the chapter. It is the last time the children deliberately attempt to get a peek at Boo, and the mysterious mending of Jem's pants is a signal to him that Boo is not someone to be feared. Much of the chapter consists of dialogue, and Lee accurately displays the colloquial speech of the characters, and particularly the children.
Perspectives of Lee. Author Harper Lee provides the reader with a healthy dose of humor--and somewhat bawdy at that--in this chapter. There is the story of Mr. Avery's peeing exhibition followed by Jem's and Dill's own peeing contest, one that made Scout "feel left out again, as I was untalented in this area." Jem later appears in his underwear, providing Dill with his quick-thinking excuse that Jem's pants were lost while playing "strip-poker"--a term unknown to Scout. Miss Stephanie even makes a crude attempt at racist humor when she refers to a "white nigger."
Conflict. There is the initial conflict of Scout trying to convince Jem and Dill not to make their visit to the Radley's back porch, and she later tries to talk him out of returning for his lost pants. Jem decides he must return in order to maintain Atticus's trust in him, and for seeing that Atticus has never "whipped me... I wanta keep it that way."
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