What is the climax of each part of the book and why does the author use this device?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Author Harper Lee breaks down her classic novel of the rural South, To Kill a Mockingbird, into two parts. The first 12 chapters cover a general overview of the town and background of the Finch family, with the main plot centering around the mysterious figure of Boo Radley. Most of the chapters deal with Jem's and Scout's attempts to lure Boo from the Radley house in hopes of meeting him and becoming his friend. The climax of Part One deals with the death of Mrs. Dubose, a relatively minor character who eventually dies after a long battle to rid herself of morphine addiction. Since Jem had been forced by Atticus to read to Mrs. Dubose, the two had become somewhat close and her death comes as a shock to Jem. Aside from his mother's death when he was quite young, this is his first experience with personal loss of this magnitude, and it marks the beginnings of his growth into manhood.

Part Two deals primarily with the rape trial of Tom Robinson, which concludes with his death in Chapter 24. The novel's final and greatest climax occurs when Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout and is then killed by Boo Radley, who comes to the rescue of his young neighbors. The climax serves as closure to both the death of Tom Robinson--the father of Mayella, Tom's accuser, has in turn been killed--and to the mystery of Boo Radley, whose imagined friendship with the Finch children suddenly materializes in a most dramatic and heroic fashion.  

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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