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Overview / Summary
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Overview

This video looks at an overview of the book

Scout Finch (the female narrator) lives with her brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus in the small town of Maycomb in Alabama.

Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the town and as a result is well off. He is an upstanding citizen and an honourable man.

Scout and Jem befriend a young boy named Dill and we see the events of the story through their eyes as the stories are narrated by Scout.

Dill becomes fascinated by a house called Radley place where Boo Radley lives. Boo Radley becomes a fascination for the children as they are left presents by the strange man in a tree in his garden. These gifts are left during the first section of the novel.

The focus of the novel shifts when Atticus agrees to defend a local black man Tom Robinson who has been accused of raping a white woman.

The case is particularly prominent in a predominantly white community who disagree with Atticus’ role.

The Maycomb society are largely racist and as a result of Atticus’ role Jem and Scout both suffer abuse from other children.

In the summer aunt Alexandra (Atticus’ sister) comes to live with Jem and Scout. Dill is supposedly living with his ‘new father’ in a different town runs away to join Scout and Jem in Maycomb.

The Tom Robinson trial begins, Mayella Ewell is the woman who has accused Tom of rape.

At the trial Jem and Scout sit on the coloured balcony with the town’s black citizens.

Atticus provides very clear evidence that Mayella and her father Bob are in fact lying.

Mayella had propositioned Tom and was caught by her father, to cover her shame she accused Tom of rape.

Despite the impressive evidence which Atticus provides proving Tom’s innocence the all white jury convict Tom.

Tom recognising his innocence tries to escape from prison but is shot.

Jem’s faith in the justice system is shaken and he becomes despondent and doubtful.

Bob Ewell believes he has been made a fool of and vows to seek his revenge on Atticus and the judge. He abuses Tom’s widow and attempts to break into the judge’s house.

Eventually Bob attacks Jem and Scout on their way home from a Halloween party.

Boo Radley intervenes and saves the children. Boo attacks Ewell in his attempt to save the children and stabs him during the struggle. Bob Ewell is killed.

Boo carries a wounded Jem back into the house where the sheriff in a plea to save Boo insists that Bob Ewell tripped over the tree and caused his own injury by falling on his knife.

Boo once more disappears to live his solitary life.

Later on Scout feels as though she finally understands Boo. He has become human to her no longer a shadow of danger or something to be feared.

Scout finally embraces her father’s attitude to show sympathy and understanding to all.

Summary

Scout is the main female narrator – 5 years old at the start of the novel.

The novel focuses on her movement from innocent child to understanding adult.

The novel focuses on prejudice, racism, social class and the battle between good and evil.

The novel is set in Maycomb, Alabama during 1930s America – the time of the great depression.

Scout has an older brother Jem, her father is Atticus, they make up the Finch family.

Scout and Jem are friends with Dill – during their friendship they become obsessed with Boo Radley and he is portrayed as an evil character.

Scout and Jem are saved by Boo Radley at the end of the novel and they change their opinion of him.

The main event of the novel is the trial of Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is a black man accused of rape by Mayella Ewell. Atticus defends Tom and proves him innocent, however the all white jury find him guilty.

The trial of Tom has a huge impact on Jem and Scout. Jem becomes despondent and depressed that justice fails, whilst Scout has to learn to accept people for who they are.

The relationship Atticus has with his children is pivotal in the novel as he teaches them the most valuable lesson of all: To truly understand someone else's point of view, accept people for who they are and accept their good and bad points.

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