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What is an example of humor used in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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ajms99 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:12 PM via iOS

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What is an example of humor used in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter 8, Mr. Avery shows his superstitious side and blames the snow on the children's misbehavior. Using some of Miss Maudie's snow as well as their own, Scout and Jem make a snowman in the image of Mr. Avery. 

Jem sloshed water over the mud man and added more dirt. He looked thoughtfully at it for a moment, then he molded a big stomach below the figure’s waistline. Jem glanced at me, his eyes twinkling: “Mr. Avery’s sort of shaped like a snowman, ain’t he?” 

Atticus is impressed and slightly amused when he recognizes the snowman looks like Mr. Avery. But then he asks Jem to change him. Jem uses Miss Maudie's hat and hedge clippers to disguise the Mr. Avery snowman. Mr. Avery later redeemed himself in helping out when Miss Maudie's house caught fire. 

Some other moments of humor are when kids are simply acting like kids. In Chapter 26, Cecil Jacobs gives his report on "Old Hitler" and mispronounces a few words ('prosecutin' instead of "persecuting"). Miss Gates corrects him but there is also a moment of, maybe not humor but, a satirical comment on racism and hypocrisy in Maycomb. Miss Gates criticizes Hitler for persecuting another race but Scout recalls how Miss Gates essentially did the same thing outside the courthouse: 

I heard her say it’s time somebody taught ’em a lesson, they were gettin‘ way above themselves, an’ the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an‘ then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home—

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