Illustration of a bird perched on a scale of justice

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Chapter 4 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What is the first present Scout finds in the tree?

2. When Dill says that he helped engineer the train, Jem says, “In a pig’s ear you did, Dill.” What does this mean?

3. Why has “Calpurnia’s tyranny, unfairness, and meddling . . . faded to gentle grumblings of general disapproval,” according to Scout?

4. What does Jem call Miss Caroline’s teaching methods?

5. What is the second present found in the tree?

6. Who is the “meanest old woman that ever lived”?

7. When Atticus asks the children if their game pertains to the Radleys, Jem says “No sir.” Atticus merely responds, “I hope it doesn't.” Why does he stop the conversation at that point?

8. How do cowardice and bravery figure into Scout’s taking part in the dramas about the Radley family?

9. What is the meaning of the following: “Dill was a villain’s villain . . .”?

10. What is a Hot Steam?

1. Scout finds chewing gum in the tree first.

2. The idiomatic expression “In a pig’s ear” means “impossible.”

3. Scout’s attitude—rather than Calpurnia’s behavior—may be the reason for the statement. Scout is spending less time with Calpurnia; possibly they miss each other. Scout is also growing and maturing; this is probably a principal reason for their improved relationship. Scout herself admits that she “went to much trouble, sometimes, not to provoke her.”

4. He calls it the Dewey Decimal System.

5. Indian-head pennies are the second gifts found in the tree.

6. Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose is the “meanest old woman that ever lived.”

7. Atticus may have been following his own lesson: ignore the behavior and it will go away. Atticus did not usually forbid the children to do anything. Rather he posed things in such a way that they could make their own decision.

8. Scout is at first frightened to participate in the dramas. Jem and Dill accuse her of being afraid. After the incident with Atticus, Scout is hesitant about playing again. Jem accuses her of “being a girl.”

9. The statement “Dill was a villain’s villain” means that Dill is good in the role; he can play a villain to the degree that even a real villain would be pleased with the performance.

10. A Hot Steam can be detected if one is walking along a lonesome road at night and comes to a hot place. The Hot Steam is actually someone who cannot get into heaven and just stays in lonely places. If a person walks through the Hot Steam, the person will become Hot Steam after death and perhaps even suck the breath from people.

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