What are ten major events in To Kill a Mockingbird, and why are they important?

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DILL ARRIVES.  When Dill arrives in Maycomb to spend the summer with his Aunt Rachel, Scout gains her new best friend--and a boy with whom she will share her first kiss. 

THE FIRE.  Scout enjoys her first snowfall and building her first snowman--"The Morphodite Snowman"--with Jem, but the day turns tragic when Miss Maudie's house burns down. Scout also discovers that she has a new friend: Unnoticed, Boo Radley has placed a blanket upon Scout's shoulders to keep her warm.

OL' ONE SHOT.  This chapter is important because it introduces Miss Maudie's explanation about it being a "sin to kill a mockingbird," and reveals to the children that ol' Atticus has a secret talent after all. When a mad dog comes weaving down the street, Sheriff Tate hands the rifle to Atticus, who puts a single bullet between the dog's eyes. Maudie explains that as a boy, Atticus was the "deadest shot in Maycomb County," known as "One-Shot Finch."

MRS. DUBOSE.  Jem is punished for destroying the irritable old Mrs. Dubose's camellias by reading to her for a month. When the old lady dies shortly after Jem completes his punishment, Atticus reveals that she has been going cold turkey from a longtime morphine addiction. She was the bravest person he ever knew, Atticus tells Jem.

CAL'S CHURCH.  The children get a close-up and first-hand educational experience when they join Cal for services at the all-black First Purchase Church in the Quarters.

THE LYNCH MOB.  Little did the children know that when they followed Atticus to the jail, they would end up saving Tom Robinson's life--and possibly Atticus's as well. Scout's innocent engagement with Walter Cunningham Sr. convinces the man to leave Tom's punishment to the courts--and not to the hangman's noose.

THE TRIAL.  All three of the children--Jem, Scout and Dill--grow by leaps and bounds during the day of the Tom Robinson trial. They witness the ignorance of Mayella Ewell, the racist hatred of Bob Ewell, the innocent honesty of Tom Robinson, and the lawyering skills of Atticus Finch.

THE VERDICT.  Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the jury sides with the Ewells, convicting Tom of rape and battery. Jem is heartbroken--that Atticus has lost and that the people of Maycomb may not be quite as good as he had assumed.

THE MISSIONARY CIRCLE TEA.  Scout learns that not all of the church-going "ladies" behave in a ladylike manner. Atticus delivers some bad news during the meeting--Tom Robinson has been killed trying to escape from prison--and when Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra compose themselves and return to the business at hand, Scout decides she can act like a lady, too.

BOB'S ATTACK.  Returning from the Halloween pageant, Jem and Scout are attacked by an unseen man--and then saved by another. When the dust settles, Bob Ewell is found dead with a knife in his chest.

BOO APPEARS.  The "malevolent phantom" Boo Radley finally appears, making Scout's fantasy come true. It is Boo that has stopped Bob's attack on Jem and Scout, killing the man who tried to harm Boo's children.

THE LADY AND THE GENTLEMAN.  After Sheriff Tate decides to call Bob's death self-inflicted, Scout takes Boo's arm and walks him back to the Radley Place, where she looks out over her neighborhood while standing in Boo's shoes and seeing thing's through Boo's eyes.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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