Last chapters: for the items listed, show how they are all linked to bring the plot to a solid resolution. (Citing text/technique optional.)In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird 1. The final scene...

Last chapters: for the items listed, show how they are all linked to bring the plot to a solid resolution. (Citing text/technique optional.)

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

1. The final scene

2. Scout's acknowledgement that "Atticus is right"

3. The image of the broken arm which closes and opens the book

4. The connection of Tom and Boo's stories

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Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Harper Lee brings her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, to its conclusion, she addresses resolves several elements important to the story's plot.

The image of Jem's broken arm introduced on the first page, and explained by the occurrences as brother and sister return from the school pageant, first and foremost answers a question: how did Jem's arm get broken. The second question is why is this so important that it needs to be mentioned at the beginning and end? Once Jem realizes he can still play football, he is all right with the injury. This may also symbolically tell us that Jem has matured over the course of the novel, but even more importantly, Jem was able to put the attack into perspective. Even Scout says he wasn't afraid. Maybe he never had the time.

The connection of Tom Robinson and Boo Radley is that they are both, symbolically, mockingbirds. They never do any harm. It would be a sin to harm either because of this. But Tom Robinson is dead because of a lie told by Bob Ewell and his daughter Mayella, in a prejudiced southern community when the Civil War is still fresh in the minds of many people in Maycomb.

Boo has been a mockingbird first at the hands of his father and then abused further by his brother. His childhood was lost and most of his adulthood, as well, because he made a foolish mistake when he was a teenager. The difference between the two men is that Tom Robinson is killed in the prison yard trying to escape, but Boo has "adopted" the Finch children, watching through his window as they live their lives, through laughter and tears. When they need him, he saves their lives. In doing so, he becomes an unlikely hero.

"Atticus is right"—when he had told the children earlier that the best way to know someone was to climb into their skin and walk around a while to get a feel for what it was like to be that person. Standing on Boo's front porch (Scout says as she walks him home) was enough for her—seeing the world from his front porch allowed her to better understand Arthur "Boo" Radley, and see him not as a ghost or a phantom, but as a person.

The final scene, when Atticus and Scout visit with Jem as he sleeps, becomes another poignant moment for Scout to learn an important lesson, and see that this, too, applies to Boo. When Atticus reads The Grey Ghost aloud, Scout starts to drift off, but comes around to recite the major events of the story to Atticus while she is half asleep. She says,

'And they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things...Atticus, he was real nice.'

His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me.

'Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'

The children had spent several summers chasing Boo down, never able to catch him. They didn't know what he looked like. When Scout finally sees Boo, she realizes the rumors about him were untrue. She realizes that Boo is really nice. And Atticus tells her that most people are when you see them.

Bob Ewell could never see Tom Robinson. Aunt Alexandra had a hard time seeing Calpurnia. Jem struggled to really see Mrs. Dubose (who made it hard...). And neither of the children could ever see Boo as anything but a ghost or phantom, at least not until Scout really sees not just the physical man, but what he is made of: the kind of person is truly is.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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