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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are some important passages in Chapters 7-12 of To Kill a Mockingbird and why are they important?

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There are probably about a dozen of those kind of "passages" that you speak of, but let me get you started with three.  First, there is a poignant passage in Chapter 9 where Atticus speaks directly to Scout about why this court case is so important:

Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at loeast one case in his lifetime that affects him personally.  This one's mine, I guess. . . .

"Atticus, are we going to win it?"

"No, honey."

"Then why--"

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win," Atticus said. (76)

The reason why this passage is important to the novel revolves around both Atticus' vast knowledge of racism's existence and Atticus' great bravery to combat that racism.

Next, there is a passage in Chapter 10 that is incredibly pertinent to the title of the novel, itself.  Here is a wee part of it:

". . . but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

"You're father's right," she said.  "Mocking birds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy.  They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." (90)

Therefore, the connection to the novel's title is obvious.

Finally, the entire ending to Chapter 10 deals with Atticus' treatment of his great shooting ability which becomes evident when he saves the town from a dangerous, rabid dog.  Both Scout and Jem stand there awestruck, not knowing their dad is such a wonderful marksman.  However, the beauty is in the reasoning behind Atticus' omission:  being a great shot at killing other living things is nothing to be proud of.

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