GradeSaver(tm) ClassicNotes To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird Questions

Join the discussion about To Kill a Mockingbird by asking a new question or answering an existing question.

Homewoek Question Help


dee m #56513
Mar 29, 2008 6:56 PM

Report abuse

Homewoek Question Help

I have to do alot of reading for this book this weekend, and answer a ton of questions..I'm stuck though.

Questions I don't know:
-Which details help the reader understand that the jail house is a symbol of Maycomb's resistance to progress?
-What persuades the lynching party to give up their attempt on Tom's life?
-Which facts in Chapters 17 & 18 give the reader a picture of the Ewells?
-What does Atticus mean when he speaks of "polite fiction"?

Answer this question


sandy g #56530
Mar 30, 2008 1:04 AM

Report abuse

I think I know the fourth answer for your To Kill A Mockingbird homework questions.

4. "Polite fiction" is when people know the truth but they make up a fiction just for the sake of politeness.  A good example is when people say they are going to the bathroom to wash their hands, but they're really going to use the toilet. 
The passage that you need to look at is in Chapter 15:

"I walked home with Dill and returned in time to overhear Atticus
saying to Aunty, " favor of Southern womanhood as much as
anybody, but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human
life," a pronouncement that made me suspect they had been fussing
again. "

Atticus is saying that he doesn't believe that it's right to protect the sexual virtue of white Southern women just for the sake of politeness especially when doing so would cause a Black man's death

coco s #17435
Mar 30, 2008 6:35 PM

Report abuse

The jailhouse is an ugly building cramped between two businesses on Main Street.  It has a silly-looking facade to make it appear more modern than it is.

Scout stops the mob at the jail.  She turns the mob into one individual--Walter Cunningham--and reminds the men that they are all just dads trying to raise their families.  Suddenly the mob mentality dissolves.  Besides, these men don't want to do this dirty deed in front of a lady.

I don't know which chapters these details appear in, but here is what we learn about the Ewells . . . their house is next to the city dump and is a stark contrast to the neat, snug cabins of the Negroes.  The place is littered with all kinds of junk.  The only pretty spot is Mayella's flowers.  The children are barefoot, filthy, and constantly sick, and they say ugly things to passers-by (mostly Negroes).  There is no running water.  The place is isolated, so the children don't interact with other people very much.  We also learn that Bob is off boozing quite frequently, leaving Mayella alone with seven siblings.  They don't have enough to eat.  Mayella has not had much schooling and has no friends.  There is a clear suggestion that Bob is abusing Mayella, when Tom testifies, "She say she never kissed a grown man before, and she might as well kiss a nigger.  She say what her daddy do to her don't count."  Some of these details might not be in the chapters you indicated, so you'll have to check in those chapters for the exact details there.

dee m #56513
Mar 31, 2008 8:01 PM

Report abuse

okay, thank you so much!

dee m #56513
Mar 31, 2008 8:02 PM

Report abuse

Thank you for your detailed answer! I've finished now! :)

Join for free to answer this question.

Existing Users

New Users

Yes No

To Kill a Mockingbird Essays and Related Content