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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What are three important events that take place in Chapters 1-5 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

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In Chapter 2, Scout gets off to a rough start on her first day of school. During lunch, Miss Caroline notices that Walter Cunningham did not bring a bag lunch and offers him a quarter to buy one. When Walter refuses to take the quarter, Miss Caroline insists that he take it. Scout feels the need to explain why Walter will not accept the quarter and simply says, "Miss Caroline, he's a Cunningham" (Lee 26). Scout does not take into consideration the fact that Miss Caroline is not from Maycomb, and she has no idea about the Cunningham family's background. Scout mentions that she doesn't have the ability to explain what type of family Walter comes from and says, "You're shamin' him, Miss Caroline. Walter hasn't got a quarter at home to bring you, and you can't use any stovewood" (Lee 28). Miss Caroline gets fed up with Scout's behavior and punishes her by patting Scout's open palm with a ruler a half a dozen times. Later on, Scout tells her father about her rough first day, and he teaches her an important lesson in perspective.

In Chapter 4, the children's obsession with Boo and the Radley family leads to the creation of a game they call "One Man's Family." Jem plays the leading role of Boo and acts like a monstrous psychopath. Dill plays a variety of roles and Scout reluctantly joins the game. They act out numerous scenes which depict their rendition of Boo's life story. Most of the information they gather about Boo's life stems from neighborhood gossip, rumors, and legends. Dill and Jem both add interesting details to Boo's life story for dramatic effect. After Atticus catches them playing the game, Scout comments that she doesn't want to participate anymore.

In Chapter 5, Scout feels neglected by the boys and talks with Miss Maudie on her front porch. Scout asks Maudie whether she thinks Boo is still alive, and Maudie elaborates on Arthur "Boo" Radley's tragic life. Their conversation is significant because it is the first time Scout hears an accurate description of their reclusive neighbor. Maudie explains that Arthur was a kind child who unfortunately grew up with a radically religious father. After getting caught participating in minor adolescent pranks, Boo's father kept him inside the house. Scout finds out that many of the rumors Miss Stephanie is spreading are false, which opens the possibly that Boo Radley may not be the "malevolent phantom" every child thinks he is.

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There are more than three important events, but here are some central ones:
Jem breaks his arm.
Dill comes to town.
Scout has her first day in school.
Dill invents a new game built around Boo Radley.


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