To Kill a Mockingbird Summary

by Harper Lee - A Complete Summary

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To Kill a Mockingbird - A Complete Summary

Scout and Jem Finch are growing up in the town of Maycomb, Alabama, with their father, Atticus, who is a local lawyer. Times are hard and due to the Depression, no money is to be found anywhere in town. As a single parent, Atticus tries hard to raise his kids with honor and self-respect. 

Scout and Jem team up with their best friend Dill during their summer holidays and try their best to get Boo Radley, their reclusive neighbor, to come out of his house. The kids get obsessed with Boo and they even create a play on Boo's life. Atticus is not amused though and he asks them to leave Mr. Radley alone.

One day, Tom Robinson, a black man, is accused of beating and raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Atticus feels Tom is being targeted for his race and so he decides to take up this case for him. Most people in the county are convinced that Tom is guilty and they start to picture Atticus in a very negative light for defending him. Even, Scout and Jem are tormented at school for their father’s decision. Atticus, however, asks them not to get carried away by the town's immature behavior.

As the trial begins, Scout and Jem are convinced that there is no way that Tom Robinson could have beaten and raped Mayella Ewell. He is a handicapped man as his left hand is crippled. Atticus proves this fact to the jury, and everyone is surprised when the jury finds Tom guilty. The reality of life dawns on the kids as they see the prejudice against blacks. They find it difficult to understand why people are biased and mean to each other, a fact that was evident even in court. They are hurt and saddened.

Very soon, Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison. Jem has a hard time swallowing the events that unfolded before his eyes. It takes a long time for him to come to terms with the jury's decision and Tom's death.

After the trial, Mayella's father begins to threaten Atticus for embarrassing him in court. He warns him to repay him for all the shame he had to endure. Atticus is unfazed and he shrugs off Ewell as a loud mouth.

Many months pass by and Bob Ewell finally gets a chance to prove his words. He attacks the children while they returned from the school on Halloween night. He wields a knife and tries to stab them, successfully breaking Jem's arm and almost killing Scout. Boo Radley comes to their rescue and saves them. 

The sheriff, Heck Tate, hushes the whole thing over and maintains that Ewell fell on his own knife and dies. Boo Radley will not be dragged into the spotlight, and Scout is thrilled to finally get to meet him. She had spent her entire childhood fantasizing about this man. As she walks him back home, she realizes that all this time Boo had been watching them from his front porch windows. Scout finally concludes that she and Jem had brought some value to his life after all.

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23 March
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