In Chapters 11 and 12 of To Kill a Mockingbird, what are some examples of hidden identities discovered and illusions that give way to reality?

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Chapter 11.  

  • The children eventually discover that Mrs. Dubose's anger and crankiness comes primarily due to her addiction to morphine.
  • Jem finds that he has not killed Mrs. Dubose's prize camellias: He has only damaged them, and Mrs. Dubose leaves him one as a remembrance just before she dies.
  • Atticus admits that "I certainly am" a nigger-lover. "I do my best to love everybody..."
  • Atticus explains to Jem his reason for making him read to Mrs. Dubose: He wants to show his son that "what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand." In Atticus's mind, it takes much more courage to face her addiction and impending death than to shoot a defenseless mad dog.

Chapter 12.

  • The children see a new side of Calpurnia--how she is respected by the congregation of her church and how she speaks quite differently around her black friends.
  • Jem and Scout see both the differences and similarities found at First Purchase Church. The church and congregation are poorer than the white Methodist church, but Reverend Sykes' sermon is not that different from the ones heard in their own church.
  • Jem and Scout find that "This church has no better friend than your daddy."
  • Jem and Scout find out a little more about the upcoming Tom Robinson trial, and how "Bob Ewell accused him of rapin' his girl."
  • The children discover that Cal has learned to read from Miss Buford; that she has grown up at Finch's Landing; that the book she has learned to read from was given to her by Atticus's father; and that Cal is older than Atticus.
Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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