Choose one significant event in the story. Describe what happened including some content of the story.Explain why and how you think this event is important to the story

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a maturation novel; consequently, significant passages are those that teach the children lessons about life, lessons that help them mature.  When Dill becomes sick after listening to the way Mr. Gilmer conducts his cross-examination of Tom Robinson, Mr. Dolphus Raymond tells. Scout, "Things haven't caught up with that one's instinct yet."  Harper Lee's implications throughout the novel are that children learn important lessons from life through examples of others.

One instance of Atticus's teaching his children through quiet example occurs on the day that a mad dog walks up the street. Atticus takes action in order to protect his family and neighbors; he shoots the staggering dog from quite a distance and kills it.  Amazed at his accuracy, Jem is in "numb confusion" because his father has refused to teach him to shoot a gun, but later,impressed, Jem remarks, "..it looked like that gun was part of him...an' he did it so quick."  

When Scout says that Atticus should be proud of his ability, Miss Maudie corrects her, "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents." Having learned this lesson of humility, Jem cautions his sister to say nothing of what has happened at school.  Jem says, "I wouldn't care if he couldn't do a blessed thing."

As well as teaching the children humility, Atticus Finch underscores by his behavior what he has told his children about it being a sin to kill a mockingbird.  For, he has killed a mad dog because there is a reason, not a mockingbird who is harmless.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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