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Free Study Guide: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Free BookNotes

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The novel is set in the 1930’s in a small community in Maycomb County, located in the South. Although slavery has been legally abolished for many years, the Southerners in Maycomb continued to believe in white supremacy, and the novel projects the social snobbery and the prejudice attached to these southern values.


Major Characters

Atticus Finch
A highly respected and responsible citizen of Maycomb County. He is the father of Scout and Jem. An attorney by profession, he is very particular about delivering justice.

Scout Finch
Atticus’ darling daughter. An impulsive girl by nature, she keeps rushing into fights and is more emotional than her brother.

Jem Finch
He is the son who is deeply motivated to follow his father's footsteps. The important idea of maturity is well depicted in his character as he has gains maturity by the end of the novel.

Arthur Radley
He is called ‘Boo’ by Scout and Jem. He is an enigmatic character, who never steps out of his house, nor maintains any relation with the townsfolk. Yet, he attempts an indirect friendship with the children. He is a pathetic figure in his need for love and attention.

Bob Ewell
An uncultured, uncouth, inherently evil character, who drinks up all the relief money, beats up his children, and has no qualms in resorting even to murder to restore his lost dignity among the community members.

Minor Characters

Aunt Alexandra
Atticus’ sister who comes to live with them, since it seemed necessary that there should be some feminine influence in the house. Aunt Alexandra seems too stern and forbidding at the beginning, but later on, her soft-heartedness is revealed.

The family’s black housekeeper who has looked after the family since the children had lost their mother. Her presence has contributed to the molding of the children’s character to a great extent.

The closest friend of both Jem and Scout. Through habitually weaving long fantasies, he reveals himself to be a child, deprived of love and attention.

Mr. Radley
Their neighbor. He is an unrelenting father in that he punishes Boo to a stern solitary confinement. He is a complete contrast to Atticus in the role of a father.

Miss Stephanie Crawford
Their neighbor and local gossip, who cannot help trying to be the first one to pass any rumor or to speculate on any piece of gossip.

Nathan Radley
Boo Radley's older brother. Shares some of the cruel traits of his father.

Miss Maudie
The children’s confidante who always takes pains to explain human character and its whims to the children.

Mayella Ewell
Bob’s young daughter, who in her search for company and affection, puts the innocent Tom Robinson into deep trouble.

Tom Robinson
A young Negro laborer. He is honest and helpful but is unfairly convicted and even found guilty for crime he has not committed. The inequality towards blacks reaches a peak in the treatment given to him by the whites.

The Cunningham family
They are what are termed as the ‘poor whites’, but they are decent self-respecting, hardworking people who always try to pay off their debts in whatever manner possible.

Mr. Heck Tate
The sheriff of Maycomb county who is a sincere and respected man of society. At the end of the novel, he uses his discretion over the death of Bob Ewell to save a lot of unnecessary speculation.

Judge Taylor
The seemingly lethargic and disinterested judge for the Tom Robinson - Mayella case but who underneath, is a very alert and perceptive judge .

Mrs. Dubose
The bitter tongued, garrulous old neighbor of Atticus, who presents herself as an irritating and corrosive woman to the children, but who really is a very strong-willed and considerate person.

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