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									Bryan Bishop               To Kill A Mocking Bird (Dialectic Journal)          Chapters 7 through 12
November 15th, 02004

Text                                                                         Commentary
―Jem stayed moody and silent for a week.         From what I remember reading, nothing
As Atticus had once advised me to do, I          ever happened fast in Maycomb. Although
tired to climb into Jem‘s skin and walk          this makes my irony-sense tingle, why
around in it: if I had gone alone to the         would a funeral be faster? Seems a bit odd
Radley Place at two in the morning, my           to me.
funeral would have been held the next
afternoon. So I left Jem alone and tried not
to bother him.‖ (62)
―We were walking past our tree. In its           Note: The tree is now considered ―theirs‖,
knot-hole rested a ball of gray twine.‖ (63)     even though it‘s obviously not. Why?
―We went home. Next morning the twine            Not only is the tree ―their property‖, but
was where we had left it. When it was still      everything in it, even by accident, is ―their
there on the third day, Jem pocketed it.         property‖. What type of system is this?
From then on, we considered everything
we found in the knot-hole our property.‖
The start of chapter 7: Talk about school, a     Why not just keep writing about the
break about the Radley‘s Tree and                school? Why the break? I think it‘s to
something in it - along with a new rule          denote a subject of specific interest. I just
how everything in it is the kid‘s, and then      don‘t see why the little detour can‘t wait.
back to school. (62-63)
―There are no clearly defined seasons in      Long sentence to describe the setting. It‘s
South Alabama; summer drifts into             odd how this wasn‘t given at the beginning
autumn, and autumn is sometimes never         of the story, but rather later into it on
followed by winter, but turns to a days-old   perhaps a ―need-to-know‖ basis. This can
spring that melts into summer again. That     cancel out guesses because new
fall was a long one, hardly cool enough for   information can be introduced – that isn‘t
a light jacket.‖ (64)                         any fun(!).
―Jem stared at me so long I asked what was    Why is ―nothing‖ capitalized? Is it because
the matter, but got Nothing, Scout for an     the author is learning basic writing in 2nd
answer.‖ (65)                                 grade, and believes that ―nothing‖ is a
                                              ―thing‖, thus a noun, and thus should be
                                              capitalized? Funny.
―Jem and I were trotting in our orbit one     If these ‗gifts‘ are from Arthur Radley,
mild October afternoon when our knot-hole what business would he have giving them
stopped us again. Something white was         soap with pictures of themselves embedded
inside this time. Jem let me do the honors: I into it? Gum is candy – that‘s an obvious
pulled out two small images carved in         one. Twine is .. also useless. What can
soap.‖ (64)                                   twine and soap be used for?
― ―These are us,‖ he said.‖ (64)
Jem & Scout find the following in the knot: Why are Jem and Scout even taking these
     Within 2 weeks: A package of            things? It‘s not as if they have a collection
        chewing gum.                          going. They also seem to care less and less
     Tarnished spelling medal                of what it could mean as compared to what
Bryan Bishop                 To Kill A Mocking Bird (Dialectic Journal)         Chapters 7 through 12
November 15th, 02004

        Non-working pocket watch with             it actually is.
         aluminum knife. ( 65)
― ―Dear sir,‖ said Jem. ―We appreciate             ―Jeremy Atticus Finch‖. Finally, an
the—no, we appreciate everything which             explanation to the weird spelling of ―Jem‖.
you have put into the tree for us. Yours           They didn‘t get in the letter; the tree is now
very truly, Jeremy Atticus Finch.‖ I signed,       knot-filled with cement. (Play on words?)
―Jean Louse Finch (Scout),‖ beneath it.
Jem put the note in an envelope.
Next morning on the way to school he ran
ahead of me and stopped at the tree. Jem
was facing me when he looked up, and I
saw him go stark white.
I ran to him.
Someone had filled our knot-hole with
cement.‖ (66-67)
Jem asks Mr. (Nathan) Radley as he passes          There‘s proof that the tree might not be
by why and if he put cement in his tree.           dying, but it‘s obvious that there‘s a cover
Mr. Radley says that it‘s the thing to do if a     up here, and not just of the knot-hole. Is
tree is dying. Jeremy then asks Atticus if         there a point to cover the hole with cement?
the tree is dying, receiving a flat out ―no‖.      If it‘s a cover up, why not simply stop
(67)                                               putting things there? Or maybe something
                                                   valuable is behind the cement wall.
Jem had been crying after he learned that          Why are they crying about this? It‘s just a
the tree was possibly not dying even               tree. Is it because they enjoy the sense of
though Mr. Radley said so. Jem told Scout          excitement and adventure they get from
to not cry when she learned of the soap-           peering in each day? It‘s really not their
figurines. (Chapter 7, 65-67~~)                    business – they should just go find
                                                   something new to get into instead of
                                                   something possibly ending up bad.
Chapter 8
―Jem asked Atticus would it keep up.‖ (69)         Where‘s the quotation marks? Why did the
                                                   author choose to keep it without quotes,
                                                   and without a question mark? It was a
                                                   question.. ―If it would keep up‖ would‘ve
                                                   been better, is this to portray Scout‘s lack
                                                   of ―advanced‖ education?
―Eula May was Maycomb‘s leading                    I don‘t doubt that she‘s the leading
telephone operator. She was entrusted with         telephone operator, because she‘s probably
issuing public announcements, wedding              the only telephone operator. That‘s a lot of
invitations, setting off the fire siren, and       responsibility for a simple telephone
giving first-aid instructions when Dr.             operator; Is it viewed as an industrial job?
Reynolds was away.‖ (69)                           Something high-tech? This town is
―peach tree switches‖ (71)                         Google says that a ―peach tree switch‖ is a
Bryan Bishop               To Kill A Mocking Bird (Dialectic Journal)          Chapters 7 through 12
November 15th, 02004

                                                 whipping tool for punishing children.

―Jem looked up at Atticus, who shook his         Defintion of Morphodite: Hermaphrodite.
head. ―She‘s just fussing,‖ he said. ―She‘s
really impressed with your ---                   .. How does it look like a morphrodite? I
accomplishments.‖                                thought Atticus said it looked good. The
Atticus strolled over to Miss Maudie‘s           way Ms. Maudie yells at Atticus makes me
sidewalk, where they engaged in an arm-          believe that the towns people don‘t believe
waving conversation, the only phrase of          Atticus can raise the children alone.
which I caught was ―… erected an absolute        Possibly normal behavior, but later will
morphodite in that yard! Atticus, you‘ll         proof be presented for this argument?
never raise ‗em!‖‖ (72)
                                                 Also, it looks like people are getting more
                                                 and more fed up with Atticus, and I think
                                                 this will carry over to the lawsuit event.
                                                 Will the town split into two? Some for
                                                 Atticus‘s views, and some for not?

                                                 The morphrodite brings up another concept
                                                 seen throughout the book. Scout keeps
                                                 acting like a boy, when people tell her to
                                                 act more lady like. Does the snowman
                                                 represent herself acting like a guy while
                                                 being a girl?
― ―What‘s the matter?‖                            The mood of this paragraph is general
By then he did not have to tell me. Just as      with suspense that may or may not add up
the birds know where to go when it rains, I      to something exciting or important. The
knew when there was trouble in our street.       words like ―helpless dread‖, ―muffled‖,
Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled             ―spewing‖, ―wailed‖, and ―screaming‖ all
scurrying sounds filled me with helpless         help set the mood of an already known to
dread.                                           be tragedy.
―Whose is it?‖
―Miss Maudie‘s, hon,‖ said Atticus gently.
At the front door, we saw fire spewing
from Miss Maudie‘s dinningroom
windows. As if to confirm what we saw,
the town fire siren wailed up the scale to a
treble pitch and remained there,
screaming.‖ (73)
The houses on fire on pages 73 to 75; In         Linking: I once woke up at night to see my
general.                                         neighbor‘s house on fire, just a little over a
                                                 month ago. The house originally looked
                                                 exactly like mine. I woke up at 4 in the
                                                 morning, credit to my brother, and looked
                                                 out the window to see some flames
                                                 climbing to the sky across the street. At
Bryan Bishop               To Kill A Mocking Bird (Dialectic Journal)         Chapters 7 through 12
November 15th, 02004

                                                 first I thought nothing of it, but after going
                                                 outside I noticed that the entire upstairs of
                                                 the house was roasting like a marshmallow
                                                 in the blue of the flame. About three fire
                                                 trucks came and tried to put out the fire; No
                                                 use. The fire stayed active until early
                                                 morning. The house lost the entire upstairs,
                                                 and all downstairs void the dinning room –
                                                 but the remains ruined the furniture. I
                                                 walked through the house the following
                                                 day, an odd experience, knowing that my
                                                 house could possibly end up exactly like
                                                 that one. The house still stands today, to be
                                                 demolished at an unknown date.
―No matter what anybody says to you,             Get your goat? What does this term mean?
don‘t you let ‗em get your goat.‖ (Atticus,      Phoenixzoo.org says that it is from a time
80)                                              when horses were accompanied with goats
                                                 during races, and people would try to steal
                                                 the goats to make the horses nervous. In the
                                                 quoted text, I suppose it means that Atticus
                                                 wants Scout to maintain her integrity.
― I felt extremely noble for having              Wow, that must be a new record. Why
remembered, and remained noble for three         can‘t nobility be more common?
weeks.‖ (81)
―Aunt Alexandra was Atticus‘s sister, but        Then.. a Crawford would be a Mt. Everest
when Jem told me about changelings and           analogy? What‘s a changeling?
siblings, I decided that she had been
swapped at birth, that my grandparents had
perhaps received a Crawford instead of a
Finch. Had I ever harbored the mystical
notions about mountains that seemed to
obsess lawyers and judges, Aunt Alexandra
would have been analogous to Mount
Everest: throughout my early life, she was
cold and there.‖ (82)
―But the only time I ever heard Atticus        Atticus continuously defends himself as to
speak sharply to anyone was when I once        how he raises Jem and Scout. Other people
heard him say, ―Sister, I do the best I can    believe he isn‘t doing a good job, but he
with them!‖ It had something to do with        stands his ground. Does he have any
my going around in overalls.‖ (85)             specific reasons? Why not remarry? Why is
                                               Scout wearing overalls a problem?
―Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the            People are very critical with Scout and
subject of my attire. I could not possibly     how she dresses. I can‘t believe that
hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I dressing is such a big issue, seeing how
said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I she‘s only in the 2nd grade. Atticus doesn‘t
wasn‘t supposed to be doing things that        really mind her ‗differences‘ (from what
Bryan Bishop               To Kill A Mocking Bird (Dialectic Journal)         Chapters 7 through 12
November 15th, 02004

required pants. … She hurt my feelings and       culture expects), why? Does he not have
set my teeth permanently on edge, but            the time? Why not bring up Scout and Jem
when I asked Atticus about it, he said he        to be ‗proper‘ in the community‘s eyes?
didn‘t mind me much the way I was.‖ (86)         Letting a kid run wild is like never
                                                 punishing him.
―Our father didn‘t do anything. He worked        Ironic that Scout thinks that manual labor
in an office, not in a drugstore. Atticus did    and driving a dump truck is admirable. It‘s
not drive a dump-truck for the county, he        just the opposite these days, in my opinion
was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work       of course. I‘d rather be the head of a
in a garage, or do anything that could           corporation than out on the farms working
possibly arouse the admiration of anyone.‖       long and tiresome hours.
―Besides that, he wore glasses. He was           It‘s starting to sound like Atticus is ahead
nearly blind in his left eye, and said left      of his time. He seems to not be tied down
eyes were the tribal curse of the Finches.       to having to do what the community
Whenever he wanted to see something              expects, and does exactly what he wants. In
well, he turned his head and looked from         the 1930‘s, I suppose smoking and drinking
his right eye. He did not do the things our      was popular, which further proves my
schoolmates‘ fathers did: he never went          belief that Atticus is a bit ‗further along‘
hunting, he did not play poker or fish or        than the rest of the crowd.
drink or smoke. He sat in the livingroom
and read.‖ (94)
―When he gave us our air-rifles Atticus          My..foreshadow-senses..are..tingling. I‘m
wouldn‘t teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack           positive that this is the first time
instructed us in the rudiments thereof; he       ‗mockingbird‘ has been referenced in this
said Atticus wasn‘t interested in guns.          book, so it‘s of importance. Does this mean
Atticus said to Jem one day, ―I‘d rather you     there will be a murder at the end of the
shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know    book?
you‘ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays
you want, if you can hit ‗em, but remember
it‘s a sin to kill a mockingbird.‖‖(94)
Page 94-96: Scout states on multiple             Has Scout lost her respect for her father?
occasions that Atticus is old and can‘t do       Why? What has he done? Is peer pressure
anything (even while people say                  getting to her? I think that she‘s going to
otherwise).                                      need to reassert her trust in him at one
                                                 dramatic point in the story.

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