Why did Harper Lee choose to end the first part of To Kill a Mockingbird where she did (Chapters 11 and 12)?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems like a fairly logical decision by author Harper Lee to divide To Kill a Mockingbird between the 11th and 12th chapters of her novel. The first seven chapters concern the children's fascination with Boo Radley, the Radley House, and their attempts to get a glimpse of the "malevolent phantom." Chapters 8-11 serve as a transition; Aunt Alexandra's family is introduced in detail, Atticus's secret talent is unveiled, and Jem's march into adulthood begins with the death of Mrs. Dubose. Part Two deals with the second major plot, the trial of Tom Robinson, and the children's trip to Calpurnia's church followed by Alexandra's arrival in Chapters 12 and 13 sets the stage for the trial. Some critics have suggested that Miss Lee should have added a third part following the trial, perhaps beginning somewhere between Chapters 22-26, since the final chapters tie the two plots together when Boo finally makes his appearance to defend the children against Bob Ewell following the Halloween pageant.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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