Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To Kill a Mockingbird- Study Questions

It is not the main point of this post to tell you why this blog has been so sadly neglected. But a brief explanation should be given. The past week and a half or so has been crazy. Springfield, Schoenstatt, Youth Group, Harry Potter 5 (the movie) and Harry Potter 7 (the book) have made blogging rather lighter then usual. Speaking of Harry Potter 7, there is a very interesting discussion going on here, and at Flying Stars another can be found, but be warned all ye who have not yet read the book, spoilers are brought up numerous times.

That said 'tis time for study questions. To Kill a Mockingbird was one of our teen discussion books about three months ago, and just today I finally finished answering the study questions for this book. Nota Bene, a number of my answers come from our discussion group, not all of them are my own.

1. From whose point of view is this story told?
The story is told from the point of view of Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout.

Who do you think the author chose this character instead of Jem?
In Scout's narrative there is a childlike simplicity that gives the book a character which would be much less evident in Jem's less childish story.

2. How does Jem look on his father early in the book? (give at least one example)
Although Jem loves his father, he thinks that he is not very good at anything, as in the incident of Jem's annoyance with Atticus for not playing football.

Does his view seem to change by the end?

If so, how?
In the course of the story, Jem sees his father doing things, e.g. the mad dog incident and the court scene, which show him that his father is good, very good, at many things, things that are actually more important then football and such. Many times throughout the book Jem sees more of his father's character, and learns that it is strong and very good, thus Jem comes to respect and admire his father.

3. Who is Mrs. Dubose?
Mrs. Dubose is the cranky neighbor lady who is always hurling insults at passersby.

Why do the children hate her so?
The children hate her because of the insulting things she says about them and especially the nasty comments concerning Atticus and his court case.

When Atticus realizes how angry Jem is over Mrs. Dubose's comments, he says: "You just hold your head high and be a gentlemen. Whatever she says to you, it's your job not to let her make you mad." What does this comment tell you about Atticus's children?
I think it illustrates, as is seen in other places as well, that Atticus is rather passive ordinarily yet can make up his mind and stick to it remarkably well. I think that is largely because he doesn't get angry and stubborn about every little thing. The question of how Atticus tries to raise his children comes up in another question so I won't go into it again.

How did the children end up helping Mrs. Dubose?
The children helped Mrs. Dubose by reading to her and thus distracting her from the pain that ensued when she stopped taking drugs.

4. In chapter 11, Atticus and Scout briefly discuss why he feels he must defend Tom Robinson. Atticus says, "The one thing that doesn't abide by a majority rule is a person's conscience." Explain what he mans by this and how this belief causes conflict for him within the community.
Atticus means that although everyone else may be against what's right, a person's conscience (if it is well formed) will still tell you the what it right, although it may conflict with what the others say. Since Atticus followed his conscience, thus following God, rather then the popular prejudice, some of the people of his town were very angry, in a few cases, violent.

5. How was the Finch's family life different than others they knew?
Atticus let his children have a pretty free rein to do a good deal of what they wanted to, not whatever they wanted to. Also the lack of a mother in the household made their family life different then the typical one.

How did other people view the way their father was raising them?
Most other people viewed Atticus's methods with a critical eye, they thought he was far to lenient with his children.

What do you think of Atticus Finch as a father?
I think Atticus Finch is a wonderful father. He taught by example as well as by telling his children what is right and so he provided them with a better sense of right and wrong.

6. Why was Tom Robinson's case so hopeless?
Tom Robinson's case was so hopeless because of the great prejudice against Negroes in the south at that time.

What did it say about the judge that he asked Atticus Finch to represent Tom Robinson? The fact that the judge chose Atticus Finch to represent the man who was sure to be condemned shows that the judge cared about justice, and Tom Robinson and wanted to be sure that he had a fair trial.

7. What is the meaning of the title of the book?
To put it simply the meaning of the title of the book is that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird as we see in the story so named.
Why is it a sin to kill a mockingbird?
It is a sin to kill a mockingbird because a mockingbird does no harm to anyone, but merely sings its beautiful song.

Who is the mockingbird in the book? (Feel free to mention more than one if you think it appropriate).
Tom Robinson is the most obvious example but Arthur (Boo) Radley also illustrates the characteristics of the mockingbird.

Given this title, what do you think the author would consider to be the most important point of the book?
I don't know that I can pinpoint one particular most important point among the many themes present in the book including: love, hope, justice (shown partly through an excess of injustice) and courage.

8. What do you think this book might teach parents about raising children in difficult times and under difficult circumstances?
To Parents raising children under difficult circumstances To Kill a Mockingbird would show them, and hopefully inspire them to teach their children by their actions and not just their words. It might also show them that while they can't shield their children from everything, they can help them to overcome the difficulties thrust at them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

From Orthodoxy By GKC

The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of something he cannot understand.

(Chap. 2 The Maniac)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

I would like to write a long(er) post with at least some poetry, but I just returned from a 24 hour 4th of July party, and would really like to curl up on the couch, so I'll just say go here for some photos and.....

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!