How does chapter 9 in To Kill a Mockingbird compare to chapter 8?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chapter 8 and 9 mark the end of one time in Scout’s childhood and the beginning of the other.  

In chapter 8, there is a fire at Miss Maudie’s house that interrupts Scout’s otherwise mostly pristine childhood.  In chapter 9, Scout and her family go to a family Christmas and Scout realizes just how far the contempt for Atticus has gone when her cousin Francis tells her that he is disgracing the family.

Chapter 8 ushers in an unusual time in Maycomb, as it experiences the first snow in decades.  Another unusual experience is the fire at Miss Maudie’s house, when Boo Radley puts a blanket on Scout’s shoulders.

As we drank our cocoa I noticed Atticus looking at me, first with curiosity, then with sternness. "I thought I told you and Jem to stay put," he said. (ch 8)

They deduce that Boo Radley must have come out and put the blanket on her shoulders.  It is a window into his character, and evidence that he has been looking out for them.

While chapter 8 is mostly carefree, chapter 9 contains more serious content.  In this chapter, Scout and Jem learn not to shoot a mockingbird.  They also learn that even their own family has turned against them.  Francis, making conversation, passes on to Scout something that her Aunt Alexandra said.

I guess it ain't your fault if Uncle Atticus is a nigger-lover besides, but I'm here to tell you it certainly does mortify the rest of the family-" (ch 9)

This small line shows some interesting insight into Alexandra's character and demonstrates that although she does seem to care about her brother, she also is willing to speak about him this way.  It foreshadows trouble for the Finch family and Maycomb.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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