What are the overall most important events from chapters 8-14 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird that should be included in a plot line?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most important events in Chapter 8 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the moment Miss Maudie's house catches fire, because it leads to further character development.

During the fire, Scout and Jem had been commanded by Atticus to stay in front of the Radleys' gate, far away from the fire. Once the danger has passed and the Finch family is back in their own home, Atticus, Scout, and Jem are all very surprised to find that Scout is clutching a "brown woolen blanket" around her shoulders. Atticus and Jem are the first to realize it must have been Arthur (Boo) Radley who put the blanket around Scout's shoulders, without her noticing it, since Nathan Radley was helping out at the fire. The moment is significant because it helps Jem further see what a caring and benevolent person Arthur is, not the dangerous person the neighborhood has been led to believe.

A second significant event is the moment Atticus rescues his children and the rest of the neighborhood from a rabid dog in Chapter 10. Prior to this moment, the children saw their father as a "feeble" man incapable of doing anything interesting, such as shoot or play tackle football, due to his old age though he is only in his late forties. However, when the rabid dog comes within shooting range, they are very surprised to witness Sheriff Heck Tate hand his riffle over to Atticus, saying, "Take him, Mr. Finch." At first, Atticus refuses but becomes convinced when Sherriff Tate argues that they need to kill the dog in one shot, and if the bullet misses, it could go straight into the Radleys' house.

The children are astonished to learn that their father is actually a sharpshooter who gave up shooting long ago  because, as Miss Maudie later explains, he saw that his skills put him at an "unfair advantage over most living things." Through this new knowledge about their father, Jem realizes that Atticus is adverse to killing living things because, as he explains to Scout, "Atticus is a gentleman, just like me!" (Ch. 10). Hence, the incident is significant because it helps Jem begin to understand the extant of Atticus's bravery and to associate bravery with being a gentleman. More importantly, it helps Jem begin to associate being brave and gentlemanly with protecting the innocent.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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