To Kill a Mockingbird

Chapters 1-3

What to look for...

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?

Think about Scout's school and the role education plays in her life. Observe how she interacts at school especially when she meets her new teacher. How is her school portrayed?

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.
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Maycomb, Alabama