To Kill a Mockingbird

What to Look for in chapters 1-2

An introduction to the town of Maycomb...

In the opening chapters, Scout gives us a full description of the town of Maycomb. We learn about its history, its people, and its dynamics. We are introduced to several characters through the eyes of Scout, now older narrating this story.

Think about why Harper Lee included this background about the setting. She brings this town alive and hints at the potential conflicts that will arise in terms of racism and fear. But why is it important to know these details of the setting which occur BEFORE the events of the story?

Right away we meet Dill and Jem. We see how Scout interacts with them, and then later how she acts in front of adults (her teacher). Observe her childlike innocence in the beginning of the novel but also her intelligence and her moral code instilled in a unique home life. Unlike the other kids, she lives with a black housekeeper, a single father who is older, and no mother. Consider the effect this has on Scout.

Theme: Fear
Finally, keep the idea of fear in your mind as you read the beginning of the novel. What are the children afraid of? What might the town in general fear about the world? You should be able to sense a mood of uneasiness as the first few chapters are given.
Big image