What are a couple of good quotes from Chapters 1-3 of To Kill a Mockingbird, and why are they important?
CHAPTER 2. I've always loved the final lines of this chapter concerning Scout's mixed feelings of sympathy toward her inexperienced teacher, Miss Caroline. Scout has been ridiculed by Miss Caroline for being able to read above grade level; she has had to endure Miss Caroline insult Atticus's teaching skills; she has been punished unfairly; and she has been "whipped" with a ruler. The unruly class causes another teacher to berate Miss Caroline, leaving the new teacher with her head buried in her arms. As the class breaks for lunch, Scout sees Miss Caroline "sink down in her chair."
Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her. She was a pretty little thing. (Scout)
CHAPTER 3. Certainly one of the most famous and important quotes of the novel comes following Scout's terrible first day at school. Atticus's advice to Scout deals with his philosophy about tolerance, and how if you try and put yourself in another person's place, one might better understand their reasoning.
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (Atticus, to Scout)
One of Harper Lee’s challenges in To Kill a Mockingbird is to characterize the town of Maycomb. The town is really like a character in its own right, along with all the other characters that make up the book. There is a very nice quote in chapter one that does a good job of introducing the reader to the town:
A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.
From this quotation we get an idea of what life is like for the characters in Maycomb. Life is sleepy, they are poor, and the rest of the world might as well not exist. This is the setting in which Scout and Jem and Dill will grow up and form their views of the world. Atticus, fortunately, exists within this setting. He is able to help the children expand beyond the drowsy borders of Maycomb.
When you look for quotations in books, look for statements that mean something in the story, something that helps the reader understand the characters, or the setting, or the theme, or key parts of the plot. Most books have a number of quotations in every chapter that could be used. It’s easier than you think! Then just ask yourself what this tells you about the story, and that’s your explanation.
Give chapters two and three a try.
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