In part 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird, narrator Scout Finch acquaints the reader with many people and places that are significant in her life in Maycomb. She introduces her family members, friends, and neighbors. Scout describes her hometown and important locations on her street. Along with the ordinary routine of daily life, she mentions unusual, sometimes dangerous events.
One of Scout’s trusted friends is Maudie Atkinson, an older woman who lives down the street. As her own mother has been dead for many years, Scout seeks out female mentors. Scout values her friendship with Miss Maudie for being supportive rather than judgmental. In chapter 5, Scout describes Miss Maudie, her unladylike outfits, and her favorite activity, gardening, in the paragraph that begins,
Miss Maudie hated her house: time spent indoors was time wasted.
The Radley house stands out for a vivid description of a place. A mysterious, reclusive neighbor is Arthur “Boo” Radley; he is not accurately described early in the book because the children do not actually see him. Scout offers a vivid description of the dark, creepy house. This paragraph conveys the air of neglect, noting such features as the faded shutters and the weed-filled yard. It begins,
The Radley Place jutted into a steep curve beyond our house.
An event that occurs in chapter 10 proves significant because it radically changes the Finch children’s view of their “old” and “feeble” father. In addition, it showcases how danger can quickly rear its head in an apparently safe, sleepy town like Maycomb. Scout and Jem notice a dog acting strangely, and Calpurnia quickly realizes that it is rabid. Summoned home from the office, Atticus kills the dog with a single shot. This narrative includes several short paragraphs that convey the tension and anxiety of the onlookers, especially the young Finches.
In a fog, Jem and I watched our father take the gun….