What are some myths and their sources in To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

BOO RADLEY.  Scout speaks of "According to neighborhood legend..." when recounting her stories about Boo. Some have come from her classmates, and some have come from adults, such as Miss Stephanie. "Jem received most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford, a neighborhood scold..."

INDIAN HEAD PENNIES.  Boo's pennies were gifts of good luck and magic. According to Jem, "... they come from the Indians. They're real strong magic, they make you have good luck."

THE SMELL OF DEATH.  Dill claims to be able to tell when a person is going to die. "... I can smell somebody and tell if they're gonna die. An old lady taught me how."

HOT STEAMS.  Dill was also a source of knowledge about Hot Steams, "... somebody who can't get to heaven, just wallows around on lonesome roads an' if you walk through him, when you die you'll be one too..."

THE ROSETTA STONE.  According to Mr. Avery, it was written on the Rosetta Stone that "It's bad children like you make the seasons change."

THE GUILTY JURY.  Scout probably learned this part-fact, part-myth, from Atticus. "A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted."

DOLPHUS RAYMOND.  Stories abound about Mr. Raymond; Jem prefaces his gossip with "they say..."  Of course, Scout and Dill discover the truth during a break in the trial.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Boo Radley: The local children believe in a myth that Radley pecans are poisoned. When Scout and Jem walk Walter Jr. home, he tells them that he almost died last year when he accidentally ate a Radley pecan.

Miss Stephanie Crawford tells Jem that Boo Radley randomly stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors and was locked in the courthouse basement as punishment.

Miss Stephanie also perpetuates the rumor that Boo Radley stares into people's homes in the middle of the night and even claims to have seen him looking into her window.

Dolphus Raymond: According to local legend, Jem tells Scout that Dolphus Raymond's bride blew her head off using a shotgun at the rehearsal dinner before their wedding. He also tells Scout that Dolphus Raymond drinks liquor all day and covers the bottle with a paper bag.

Paranormal Phenomena: Toward the beginning of the novel, Jem, Scout, and Dill believe in haints, hot steams, incantations, and secret signs, which are typical myths and legends circulated by children in the community.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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