Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Describe Burris Ewell.

2. Little Chuck Little tells the teacher that Mr. Ewell is “right contentious.” What does this mean?

3. What events lead to Burris’s leaving school before the day is over?

4. Why does Atticus say that Scout is not to mention the compromise they made when she goes to school?

5. What is a cootie?

6. Why does Walter think he almost died the first year in school?

7. Why does Atticus say Scout should ignore Jem in the tree house?

8. When Walter gets near the Finch house, Scout says he “had forgotten he was a Cunningham.” What does she mean?

9. What does it mean to “climb into his skin and walk around in it?”

10. Tell what a compromise is and give an example.

1. Burris was the filthiest human Scout had ever seen. His neck was dark grey and his nails were black into the quick. He was rude to the teacher and said that she could not make him do anything he did not want to do.

2. He meant that Mr. Ewell was quarrelsome.

3. First, Miss Caroline saw a “cootie” on him. Then she dismissed him for the rest of the day to go home and wash his hair in lye soap and kerosene; she also reminded him—in front of the class—to bathe before coming back to school. After he tells her he will not be back, she asks him to sit down. Burris refuses and is confronted by Chuck. Miss Caroline tells him to go home or she will get the principal. Burris reminds her impolitely that she cannot make him do anything. He waits until he is sure she is crying, and then he shuffles off home. Burris always quits school the first day.

4. Atticus says at first that the learned authorities would receive their activities with “considerable disapprobation,” or disapproval. He translates it to mean that he does not want Miss Caroline after him.

5. A cootie is another name for a head or body louse.

6. Walter thinks he almost died from eating poisoned pecans.

7. He tells her one should ignore some things. This is a type of behavior modification.

8. Walter has quickly forgotten that the Cunninghams do not accept that which they cannot repay. He is eager to eat!

9. Atticus is merely trying to get Scout to put herself in someone else’s position.

10. A compromise is an agreement reached by two parties; often some concessions must be made by one or both of the parties. An example from To Kill a Mockingbird is when Atticus and Scout decide to continue to read each night if Scout will go to school.

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