For a novel which covers such serious themes as racial prejudice and injustice, there are some seriously funny moments. My favorites include Atticus's response to Bob Ewell's spitting on him; the image of an overcorsetted Aunt Alexandra sitting on the porch; Mr. Avery's natural display; the "cooties" on the first day of school; Miss Maudie telling off those "foot-washin' Baptists"; Dill's far-fetched explanations for all kinds of things, but especially his dad; the snowman (woman) in the yard...and the list goes on.
I love all the parts where Scout unwillingly is funny (and often teaches the adults present a lesson through her innocence).
- the first day of school with Miss Caroline
- the "ladies tea" and the fact that Scout is still wearing pants under her dress
- the pageant - missing her cue, coming out late, wearing the ham costume. I definitely love that one.
1) Mr. Avery's "long flow."
2) The "morphodite snowman."
3) The children taking aim at Miss Maudie's behind.
4) Dill being mistaken for a snake under the bed.
5) Scout "sinking her knuckle to the bone" on Francis' teeth.
Harper Lee puts a humorous and satiric spin on the racial prejudice motif as Scout and Jem watch the townspeople file into the courtroom. When Mr. Dolphus Raymond enters, Scout asks Jem why he is sitting in the colored section; Jem explains. Then, the discussion between the two turns to the mixed children. Scout asks how a person can identify the mixed children because one looks black to her. Irked, Jem says,
'I told you, Scout, you just hafta know who they are.'
'Well how do you know we aint' Negroes?'
'Uncle Jack Finch says we really don't know. He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain't, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin' the Old Testament.'
Here Harper Lee hints at the miscegenation that took place in the South; so, sometimes white people were not always really white people. Their prejudice against blacks, then, takes on a wrily humorous and satiric aspect.
There is a scene in which Mr. Avery does a performance he thinks is private, but it turns out that the kids are watching him. He happens to be urinating off the side of the porch and it seems to be making a arch of liquid that the kids can see in the streetlight. This starts a competition between the boys Jem and Dill. The competition seemed to be about distance, who could shoot their urine the farthest. Scout is disappointed because she doesn't have the same skills in that area.