Lee, Harper: *1926

To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960 - Summary

  • Scout, a young girl in a quiet southern town, is about to experience the dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. She and her brother Jem are being raised by their widower father Atticus and by a strong-minded housekeeper Calpurnia. Wide-eyed Scout is fascinated with the sensitively revealed people of her small town but, from the start, there's a rumble of thunder just under the calm surface of the life here. The black people of the community have a special feeling about Scout's father and she doesn't know why. A few of her white friends are inexplicably hostile and Scout doesn't understand this either. Unpleasant things are shouted and the bewildered girl turns to her father. Atticus, a lawyer, explains that he's defending a young Negro wrongfully accused of a grave crime. Since this is causing such an upset, Scout wants to know why he's doing it. "Because if I didn't," her father replies, "I couldn't hold my head up."
    from the Pacific Union College Dramatic Arts Society
  • Chapter by chapter summaries with vocabulary explanations
  • Summary game to be played after having read the novel; with questions. BBC (6:54)