To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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How does Harper Lee use language to create atmosphere in Chapter 15 of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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The atmosphere of a book is called the mood, or the emotional landscape of the story.  Authors carefully choose their words in order to create the mood they want to convey in the section.  The author’s tone, or attitude, helps create the mood and atmosphere.

The mood begins to turn in Part II from the triumphs and hardships of childhood to the life and death seriousness of the trial.  The mood of Chapter 15 is foreshadowed by references to Dill as the “defendant” in the beginning paragraph and Scout wondering who had died when the men conversed in the yard, as they only did for “death and politics.”

The atmosphere is reinforced by the fact that it is dark, and the men are collected in the front yard to discuss the situation.  Although Scout does not know what is going on, she is aware that something unusual is happening.

There was a murmur among the group of men, made more ominous when Atticus moved back to the bottom front step and...

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