What are the games the adults play in To Kill a Mockingbird, and what does Scout learn from them? 

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator


Atticus. Atticus uses several lawyering techniques that gain the admiration of his children. One comes in Chapter 5 when he tricks Jem into accidentally revealing the truth about the Radley game. "Jem finally realized that he had been done in by the oldest lawyer's trick on record." Another game Atticus plays is when he utters the words "Do you really think so?"

This was Atticus's dangerous question. "Do you really think you want to move there, Scout?" Bam, bam, bam, and the checkerboard was swept clean of my men.  (Chapter 15)

When Atticus uses these words again to the lynch mob at the jail, Scout finds them irresistible. "... it meant somebody's man would get jumped. This was too good to miss."

Miss Stephanie. Miss Stephanie's game is gossip, and she spreads the news of Maycomb throughout her neighborhood.

Miss Maudie. Maudie does not play "cat-and-mouse" games with the children, but Scout does enjoy her neighbors' "gold prongs clipped to her eyeteeth... With a click of her tongue she thrust out her bridgework, a gesture of cordiality that cemented our friendship."

Bob Ewell. Bob's games include prowling about Maycomb's neighborhoods at night and stalking Helen Robinson, "crooning foul words at her."

Dolphus Raymond. Dolphus's game is a clever one: He staggers about town with a bottle hidden inside a paper sack. Everyone in town believes it to be whiskey, but when he befriends Scout and Dill, he reveals that the bottle only contains Coca-Cola. He does so because "It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason" for his actions and that they could "never, never understand that I live like I do because that's the way I want to live."

Mr. Gilmer.  The prosecutor used the "slight cast in one of his eyes" to his advantage, since "he seemed to be looking at a person when he was actually doing nothing of the kind, thus he was hell on juries and witnesses."

Mr. Avery.  Dick's ability to create a "splashing in the yellow circle if the street light" instigates a peeing contest between the children in which Scout was made to "feel left out again, as I was untalented in this area."

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question