In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, describe a development in the story that was unexpected.Briefly describe such development in TKAM with quotes. Did this development add to the excitement of the...

In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, describe a development in the story that was unexpected.

Briefly describe such development in TKAM with quotes. Did this development add to the excitement of the book? Explain with reference to the novel.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most unexpected events in the novel--and one of my favorites scenes (especially in the film version)--comes in Chapter 10 when Atticus is suddenly asked by Sheriff Tate to shoot the mad dog. The chapter opens with Scout questioning Atticus's ability to do anything but his job.

     Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty.
     Our father didn't do anything.

When Scout questions Miss Maudie about this, the Finch's neighbor assures her that he can play the Jew's harp, is a great checker player, and that "there's life in him yet." But the children have their doubts. When Tim Johnson, a local man's dog, comes staggering down the street, Calpurnia calls the operator to warn the sheriff before notifying all the neighbors. Atticus and Sheriff Tate arrive and, to the amazment of the children, Tate suddenly thrusts the rifle into Atticus's hands.

     In a fog, Jem and I watched our father take the gun and walk out into the middle of the street...
     With movements so swift they seemed simultaneous, Atticus's hand yanked a ball-tipped lever as he brought the gun to his shoulder.
     The rifle cracked. Tim Johnson leaped, flopped over and crumpled on the sidewalk... He didn't know what hit him.

What Miss Maudie had neglected to tell Scout was that in his youth, Atticus was "the deadest shot in Maycomb County." When Scout wonders why Atticus had never bragged about his shooting skills, Maudie pointed out that

     "People in their right minds never take pride in their talents."

It was the children's first lesson in humility, and Jem celebrated the pride he had in his father by exclaiming that

"Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!" 

Sources:

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