Here is what I have so far. I wasn't sure if you needed quotes or just reflections. Let me know if I need to add to any of these. Thank you!
1.Time and place: Describe the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, the setting for the novel, and how it presents life in a small Southern town during the Great Depression.
Maycomb is a very small town where the streets are still made of dirt and the residential sections are segregated by both class and color. It shows that in the South during the Depression, even the middle and upper class struggled to get by. There are four main sections of town- downtown, Scout’s neighborhood which appears to be upper middle class, a section for Blacks, and a section for poor, white people. The people in Scout’s neighborhood try to help each other out and are “neighborly” to the point that anyone who wants to be left alone must be some kind of monster. The neighborliness only extends so far for most of them however since both poor white people and black people are treated as second class citizens.
2.What themes are being introduced? List as many as you can discover thus far in the book.
◦Can you anticipate how they will play out?
a) One theme is that good and evil are not mutually exclusive. Both are present in most people and either could be the outcome of most situations. Scout and Jem will learn that just because society labels something evil or good, does not make it so.
b) Another theme has to do with the loss of innocence. In this book, Scout loses her childhood innocence through watching how the adult characters interact. Scout spends so much time with and watching adults that she is able to make moral judgments beyond her years.
c) Practical and moral education are as important as academic education. In several places, Lee implicitly compares going to school with real life experience. This will be important when Scout has to face a real life fear.
3.List the main characters (Atticus, Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, and Dill). What do you learn about them in the first part of the book?
Atticus is a widower and a lawyer raising two young children on his own. Scout is a young tomboy who is very smart, but very stubborn. Jem, Scout’s older brother, is on the verge of puberty and struggles with the emotional loss of his mother, the perceived weakness of his father, and his own place in the world. Calpurnia is the Black caretaker for the Finch household. She provides both moral and disciplinary support for the children as well as being the representation of the Black community for them. Dill is an orphan who befriends Scout and Jem and who is prone to tell stories in an effort to fit in.
◦Atticus Finch is the moral center of the book. How is this communicated?
Atticus constantly uses moral values to direct Scout and Jem to do the right things. He tells them they have to walk around in someone else’s skin before judging them and of course he tells them it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. All of the moral lessons he imparts show him to be the moral center of the book.
4. What conflicts are being introduced?
Man vs. Society- XXXXX XXXXX is up against the tightly held beliefs of the time period.
Man vs. Man- Atticus is berated by the townsmen and Bob Ewell for defending a black man.
Man vs. Self- Although Atticus never wavers in his resolve, Scout has to come to terms with her own beliefs about what is right and wrong.
5.Comment on the narrator’s voice, which is in the first-person perspective of a little girl. Does she actually write/sound like a little girl, or has the author used a memoir technique by including memories and viewpoints as she understood them looking back?
Scout has a very believable voice, but her ability to analyze situations seems beyond her years. Lee is able to differentiate however when Scout talks to other characters and her narrator’s exposition. In the exposition, she sounds like an adult reflecting on the past, but when Scout’s character talks, she sounds very much like a little girl.
6.What memories of your own childhood come to mind as you read about Scout’s adventures and experiences?
I grew up with two brothers, so the games that Dill, Jem, and Scout play are familiar in tone if not action. We may have had more toys and more complicated games, but we often dared each other to do things, we ganged up, and we made believe anything we could.
◦How has childhood changed since the Great Depression? One way to answer this question is by interviewing one person in your life who lived through the Depression, which lasted from 1929 to the beginning of the Second World War (early 1940s).
As stated above, childhood is different today in that children have more high tech toys, video games, and other diversions to keep them happy. During the Depression, few children could afford even the few toys that were available like dolls and trucks.