To Kill A Mockingbird Chapter 8 Quotes

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I looked down and found myself clutching a brown woolen blanket I was wearing around my shoulders, squaw-fashion.

Scout narrates this line after Atticus asked why she was wearing a blanket that the Finch family certainly did not own. This line of questioning from Atticus aligned with much of the trouble the children recently experienced because they were repeated missing things or taking things from strange places and Atticus had been taking note. Since the children stood in front of the Radley's place, everyone jumps to the conclusion that Boo put it around her, but she was too distracted to notice. 

This is significant because although the children fear Boo, this situation demonstrates the paradoxical thought that Boo actually protects them. Furthermore, their perception of Boo is that he never emerges, even when they try to get him out. Here he comes out because of necessity and of his own choice. Ironically, that whom the children wanted to see was within a hand's reach, had they only known he was there. 

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Much of Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, of course, involves the racism endemic to the fictional southern town in which the story takes place. So much a part of the culture of Lee's fictional town of Maycomb is the racism that permeates the atmosphere that one can't help but pause and reflect on Scout's description of her and Jem's efforts at constructing a snowman out of the relative paucity of snow that has unexpectedly fallen on this venue in the heart of the Deep South. Having failed to elicit much encouragement or advise from their father, Atticus, with regard to the process by which a snowman is traditionally built, the two siblings attempt to perform the task on their own. Because the level of snow is so minimal, however, Jem's efforts involve the presence of dirt in the otherwise pristine white snow. The presence of the dirt causes the snowman to appear to Scout as of African heritage, prompting the following observation: "Jem, I ain't ever heard of a nigger snowman."

Scout's seemingly innocent use of the highly pejorative "n" word speaks volumes of the depth of racism endemic to the society Lee depicts in her novel. With the trial of Tom Robinson, the physically disabled African American falsely accused of raping a white woman at the center of the novel's narrative, this use of the offensive word illuminates the sickness eating away at the core of the society Lee depicts. This otherwise innocuous passage, therefore, is illustrative of the racism endemic in the culture Lee describes.

 

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