Friday, April 11, 2008

Chapters 8-15

Post on Chapters 8-15

My favorite scenes are grouped together here in this second section. Of course the whole book is my favorite scene. I can't begin to discuss all of what is wonderful about these chapters. There is just too much. So, I'll hit the high places. Forgive me if I miss your favorite quote. You'll have to post your comments too.

Winter finally comes to Maycomb County, Alabama. Scout's reaction is perfect.

(My screams brought Atticus from his bathroom half-shaven.

“The world's endin', Atticus! Please do something--!” I dragged him to the window and pointed.

“No it's not,” he said. “It's snowing.”)

Jem's idea of making a snowman was hilarious. I love how they go to Maudie's to borrow snow.

(“Yesum!” called Jem. “It's beautiful, ain't it, Miss Maudie?”

“Beautiful my hind foot! If it freezes tonight it'll carry off all my azaleas!”)

The fire that destroys Maudie's home is both serious and comical. Imagine pushing the fire truck to her house and then the hose busts.

We as readers finally get the satisfaction of Scout's realizing Boo is behind the gifts in the hollow tree when a blanket is placed on her shoulders as she watches the fire.

(Atticus said, 'Whoa, son,' so gently that I was greatly heartened. It was obvious that he had not followed a word Jem said, for all Atticus said was, 'You're right. We'd better keep this and the blanket to ourselves. Someday, maybe, Scout can thank him for covering her up.'

'Thank who?' I asked.

'Boo Radley. You were so busy looking at the fire you didn't know it when he put the blanket around you.'

My stomach turned to water and I nearly threw up when Jem held out the blanket and crept toward me.)

My favorite quote in this chapter comes from Maudie.

('Only thing I worried about last night (the night of the fire) was all the danger and commotion it caused. This whole neighborhood could have gone up. Mr. Avery'll be in bed for a week—he's right stove up. He's too old to do things like that and I told him so. Soon as I can get my hands clean and when Stephanie Crawford's not looking, I'll make him a Lane cake. That Stephaine's been after my recipe for thirty years, and if she thinks I'll give it to her just because I'm staying with her she's got another thing coming.')

The shooting of Tim Johnson (the mad dog) will always be my favorite scene both in the book and the movie. Atticus' age is finally redeemed with his marksmanship. His children are left speechless.

(“What's the matter with you, boy, can't you talk?” said Mr. Tate, grinning at Jem. “Didn't you know your daddy's--”

'Hush Heck,' said Atticus, 'let's go back to town.')

Then we meet Mrs. Dubose, the old lady with the civil war pistol under her blanket. In my opinion, Ms. Lee out did herself with this character. The dialogue is brilliant. The scene where the children are reading to Mrs. Dubose in her bedroom comes alive with all the senses. I love Mrs. Dubose never loses her sense of winning. The camellia in the cigar box is an excellent touch.

(In the corner of the room was a brass bed, and in the bed was Mrs. Dubose. I wondered if Jem's activities had put her there, and for a moment I felt sorry for her. She was lying under a pile of quilts and looked almost friendly.

There was a marble-topped washstand by her bed; on it were a glass with a teaspoon in it, a red ear syringe, a box of absorbent cotton, and a steel alarm clock standing on three tiny legs.

“So you brought that dirty little sister of yours, did you?” was her greeting.”)

The conflict between Calpurnia and Lula lent credence to this novel. The deep message of this book for me is: We're all basically the same. Period. Never assume you are above any train of thought or action.

The description of the cemetery in at Calpurnia's church makes me think of an old graveyard I saw a couple of years ago. The things that had been placed on the graves suggested visitors spent a lot of time visiting.

(“The churchyard was brick-hard clay, as was the cemetery beside it. If someone died during a dry spell, the body was covered with chunks of ice until rain softened the earth. A few graves in the cemetery were marked with crumbling tombstones; newer ones were outlined with brightly colored glass and broken Coca-Cola bottles. Lightning rods guarding some graves denoted dead who rested uneasily; stumps of burned-out candles stood at the heads of infant graves. It was a happy cemetery.”)

And we close this section with the men who have come to lynch Tom Robinson. They've arrived in four dusty cars with attitudes of justice, their justice. This is not so different than Lula's thought process of white children coming to a black church, of course minus the intent to do harm. But isn't that how all harm or so-called justice of this kind begins? With a thought that the person really does not belong or deserve to be treated the same, that somehow above the other?

One little girl saves the day doing what her father taught her to do, stepping into someone's shoes.

(“Entailments are bad,” I was advising him, (Mr. Cunningham) when I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing the entire aggregation. The men were all looking at me, some had their mouths half-open. Atticus had stopped poking at Jem: they were standing together beside Dill. Their attention amounted to fascination.)

I look forward to your comments on these wonderful chapters.


Melissa said...

"Now don't eat it, Scout, you're wasting it. Let it come down."

Snow in the South is a big deal and Ms. Lee perfectly portrays that in Chapter 8.

It's hilarious that Atticus recognizes the snowman as a characterture of Mr. Avery.

I can so relate to Scout's hatred of school.

"Despite our compromise, my campaign to avoid school had continued in one form or another since my first day's dose of it: the beginning of last September had brought on sinking spells, dizziness, and mild gastric complaints. I went so far as to pay a nickel for the privilege of rubbing my head against the head of Miss Rachel's cook's son, who was afflicted with a tremendous ringworm. It didn't take."

The story also begins to take shape when Atticus explains his reasons for defending Tom Robinson and asks her to "keep those fists down".

The lesson seemed to have sunk in...

"Somehow, if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being called a coward for him. I felt extremely noble for having remembered, and remained noble for three weeks. Then Christmas came and disaster struck."

Then Cousin Francis ran his mouth and Scout split her knuckle to the bone on his front teeth.

One of my favorite quotes from chapter 10 came in the first sentence.

"Atticus was feeble; he was nearly fifty."

I also love that they named their dogs "real" names like old Tim Johnson. And Atticus proves he can do something when he shoots the dog in one shot.

Mrs. Dubose is a trip!

"We could do nothing to please her. If I said as sunnily as I could, 'Hey, Mrs. Dubose,' I would receive for an answer, 'Don't you say hey to me, you ugly girl! You say good afternoon, Mrs. Dubose!'"

Then in chapter 13 when Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them.

"Aunt Alexandra was positively irritable on the Lord's Day. I guess it was her Sunday corset."

And last but not least, I absolutely love when Scout opens the eyes of Walter Cunningham and the rest of the mob with her talk of "entailments".

I really love this book! :)

Ann Hite said...

Wonderful! I can't wait to discuss the last section in a couple of weeks. I'm almost finished.