In the book To Kill a Mockingbird how would you describe the significance of the "morphodite" in chapters 4-8.There was a couple questions I had about the book but as this site only lets me ask one...

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird how would you describe the significance of the "morphodite" in chapters 4-8.

There was a couple questions I had about the book but as this site only lets me ask one question a day, I guess I will have to wait. However, in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, it pretty much described to me the racial substances that went on back in that time. It was very hard for me to teach this to my 9th grade class, knowing that there was going to be some racial discussion in it, but we have almost made it through. I found this very intriguing question on-line and not knowing the answer I gave it to them. I would very much like it if you could please answer this question in full detail for me to explain thoroughly to my class. My class and I would verily appreciate it and would like to thank you so much for your time and patience.

Once again thanks a lot.

Asked on by jrattz1234

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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You might have a good time talking to your class about Scout's misunderstanding (and mispronunciation) of the word "morphodite" in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It is certainly one of the most humorous episodes in the novel and illustrates the innocence of Jem and Scout in several ways.

The half-shaven Atticus is greeted to Scout's screams of terror one autumn morning.

     "The world's endin', Atticus! Please do something--!" I dragged him to the window and pointed.
     "No it's not," he said. "It's snowing."

It was Jem and Scout's first experience with snow, an event still foreign to many children in the Deep South. Since it was the first snowfall in Maycomb County since 1885, school was canceled, so Jem and Scout set about to making their first snowman. Realizing that there was not enough snow for a decent snowman, Jem and Scout decided to use the wet soil for the infrastructure and negotiated with Miss Maudie to borrow some of her snow for the outside layer. They decided to model their snow creation after Mr. Avery, who had already accused them of bringing on the unseasonable cold.

When Atticus saw it, he squinted, grinned and then laughed at its spot-on accuracy.

     "You've perpetrated a near libel here... We've got to disguise this fellow... You can't go around making caricatures of the neighbors."
     "Ain't a characterture," said Jem. "It looks just like him."

To disguise their snowman from Mr. Avery, they added Miss Maudie's sunhat on its head and her hedge-trimmers under its arm. Maudie pretended not to like it, but she and Atticus had a spirited discussion about the matter,

...the only phrase of which I caught was "...erected an absolute morphodite in that yard. Atticus, you'll never raise 'em!"

Scout, of course, had misunderstood Maudie's joke to Atticus about the snowman looking like a "hermaphrodite," since it had morphed into a cross between Mr. Avery and Miss Maudie.

The morphodite snowman led a short life, however, melting from the fire that destroyed Miss Maudie's house later that night.

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