Who is Mr. Avery and what does he do in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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gmuss25 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Mr. Avery is an overweight neighbor who lives across the street from Mrs. Dubose's house. He is a colorful character who is best known for whittling and peeing off of his front porch at night. At the beginning of Chapter 6, Scout tells the story about how they were leaving Miss Rachel's one night and witnessed Mr. Avery peeing from his front porch. The children were fascinated and believed that Mr. Avery was talented because of the distance he could pee.

In Chapter 8, Maycomb experiences an unusually cold winter, and Mr. Avery tells the children they are responsible for the cold weather. Mr. Avery says to Jem and Scout that it was written on the Rosetta Stone that when children disobeyed their parents, smoked cigarettes, and argued with each other, the seasons would change. Jem and Scout believe Mr. Avery and feel ashamed for causing the harsh weather. Later on in the chapter, Mr. Avery gets stuck in Maudie's window attempting to save her furniture from the fire. Fortunately, Mr. Avery escapes just in time before her house collapses. Although he is not a significant character, Mr. Avery adds to the list of interesting citizens living in the small town of Maycomb. 

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mr. Avery is one of the Finches’ neighbors.  He does not do much, but he likes to whittle. 

Mr. Avery lives down the street,  boarding with Mrs. Dubose.

Besides making change in the collection plate every Sunday, Mr. Avery sat on the porch every night until nine o'clock and sneezed. (ch 6)

The children only seem interested in him when they see him peeing at a great distance in the yard, something that Scout cannot do because she is “untalented in this area” being a girl.

Mr. Avery does not seem to do much.  He whittles, but does not actually carve anything more than toothpicks.

Mr. Avery averaged a stick of stovewood per week; he honed it down to a toothpick and chewed it. (ch 7)

He convinces the children that seasons are caused by children being bad (ch 8).  The children return the favor when they make their snowman look like him, until Atticus makes them disguise it.

Mr. Avery is not completely useless though.  He does try to help Miss Maudie rescue her possessions from the house fire, though he is injured and laid up for a week in the process (ch 8).

In general, Mr. Avery is just one of the colorful characters that populate Maycomb.  His interactions with the children usually provide some comic relief, and reinforce the idea that Maycomb is full of interesting people.


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