Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Start Free Trial

What do you think was the most humorous scene in To Kill A Mockingbird?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

For a novel which covers such serious themes as racial prejudice and injustice, there are some seriously funny moments.   My favorites include Atticus's response to Bob Ewell's spitting on him;  the image of an overcorsetted Aunt Alexandra sitting on the porch; Mr. Avery's natural display; the "cooties" on the first day of school; Miss Maudie telling off those "foot-washin' Baptists"; Dill's far-fetched explanations for all kinds of things, but especially his dad; the snowman (woman) in the yard...and the list goes on.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I love all the parts where Scout unwillingly is funny (and often teaches the adults present a lesson through her innocence).

- the first day of school with Miss Caroline
- the "ladies tea" and the fact that Scout is still wearing pants under her dress
-  the pageant - missing her cue, coming out late, wearing the ham costume.  I definitely love that one.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

1)  Mr. Avery's "long flow."
2)  The "morphodite snowman."
3)  The children taking aim at Miss Maudie's behind.
4)  Dill being mistaken for a snake under the bed.
5)  Scout "sinking her knuckle to the bone" on Francis' teeth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Harper Lee puts a humorous and satiric spin on the racial prejudice motif as Scout and Jem watch the townspeople file into the courtroom.  When Mr. Dolphus Raymond enters, Scout asks Jem why he is sitting in the colored section; Jem explains.  Then, the discussion between the two turns to the mixed children.  Scout asks how a person can identify the mixed children because one looks black to her.  Irked, Jem says,

'I told you, Scout, you just hafta know who they are.'

'Well how do you know we aint' Negroes?'

'Uncle Jack Finch says we really don't know.  He says as far as he can trace back the Finches we ain't, but for all he knows we mighta come straight out of Ethiopia durin' the Old Testament.'

Here Harper Lee hints at the miscegenation that took place in the South; so, sometimes white people were not always really white people.  Their prejudice against blacks, then, takes on a wrily humorous and satiric aspect.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is a scene in which Mr. Avery does a performance he thinks is private, but it turns out that the kids are watching him. He happens to be urinating off the side of the porch and it seems to be making a arch of liquid that the kids can see in the streetlight. This starts a competition between the boys Jem and Dill. The competition seemed to be about distance, who could shoot their urine the farthest. Scout is disappointed because she doesn't have the same skills in that area.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What was the funniest part in the nighttime drama of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee?

The humor found in the nighttime drama of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, has to be the issue surrounding Jem's pants.

As with many things we experience in life, some things are humorous only after the event is over. In the novel, when the kids sneak out in their tireless pursuit of knowledge of Boo Radley , they camouflage their...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

presence by crawling through the underbrush in an attempt to sneak closer to the Radley house.

The humor, for me, comes from the classic nature of children on an adventure. There is subterfuge, fear, and common sense in the planning and execution. Their plan is clear; along with their fear is the thrill of the danger of being caught. The reader also witnesses Jem's common sense when he tells the others to spit on the hinges of the gate so that it will move noiselessly.

Harper Lee does an excellent job of transporting the reader to the damp underbrush, to the explosion of discovery (the gunshot), and even the sheer terror the children experience, particularly when Jem falls behind because his pants are caught on the bottom of the fence. He is only able to escape because he kicks them off.

The last piece of humor is the appearance of the children in the midst of the adults who come out to investigate the firing of the Jem stands there in his boxers. Dill's wonderful imagination steps in to explain the absence of Jem's pants, but fear arrives once again as Jem is told to get the pants back. He knows he cannot leave them on the fence to be discovered in the morning, and so he must return to face his fears all over again. (It is not until the following chapter that the reader learns about the condition in which Jem discovers his pants.)

However, the comedy presented in the form of a childhood prank takes on more serious implications when the gun goes off; it then becomes humorous again when Jem and friends appear without Jem's pants and with an unlikely excuse; but terror returns when Jem must go back for his missing clothing.

In the moment, it may not seem to be funny, but in hindsight, it does provide the reader with a chuckle; and for those who might actually find themselves in a similar situation, humor might be present long after the fact, when the fear is gone and time has softened the sharp edges of the experience.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is a hilarious part in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

One of my favorite funny moments throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Chapter 23. Scout becomes upset after Aunt Alexandra forbids her from hanging out with the Walter Cunningham because "he---is---trash." (Lee 301) Jem intervenes and takes Scout by the shoulders into his room. Inside his room, he attempts to console Scout by offering her a Tootsie Roll. Scout notices how Jem's body is growing and maturing. Jem turns around and tells Scout he'll show her something if she doesn't tell. Jem unbuttons his shirt, smiles at Scout and asks her, "Well can't you see it?" (Lee 301) Scout is confused and asks Jem what exactly he is attempting to show her. Jem says, "it's hair," and is excited to share with Scout that he also has it growing underneath his armpits. Scout's reply is hilarious because she simply says, "It's real nice, Jem," even though she doesn't see a thing. (Lee 302) The image of a hairless, preteen boy pointing to specks of hairs on his chest that are barely visible is one of the memorable funny moments throughout the novel.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on