Friday, May 10, 2019

Blog #9: To Kill a Mockingbird - Reader's Notebook

 This blog post should cover the events of Chapters 1-10 in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Minimum Words: 850
Minimum Text References and Citations: 4 (Including works outside of To Kill a Mockingbird)
Due Date: Sunday, May 19 at midnight. It must be done before the large group discussion.
Note: You are very welcome to include references to other works, including books, stories, videos, music, and other things.

Helpful links: Sample Reader's Notebook from CIS Literature* | Critical Lens notecards  Reader's Notebook Instructions Spark Notes

This notebook entry is supposed to be 100% dictated by your own analysis and relationship to the text. If you can, try to do this without looking at the suggested questions below. However, for those of you who need a little push to begin this voyage, please feel free to consider the following questions or statements:

  • How do the concepts and themes of this novel relate to the world today? What value is there in studying the central ideas of this novel?
  • What does this novel have to say about growing up and developing an identity? What does this book tell us about the way we develop morals, ethics, and beliefs?
  • How much of who we are is where we are from? 
  • How do we truly become ourselves? How should parents balance wanting children to become the people they hope them to be with allowing them to develop into who they want to be? What can we learn from the book in relation to these ideas?
  • Try to apply a critical lens to your reading, the characters, or Harper Lee.
  • Who is the protagonist in the novel? Who is the antagonist? How does the opposition of these characters, ideas, or temes help develop the drama and the unfolding of the tale?
  • How would Boo Radley describe Jem, Scout, and Dill?
  • What motivates the primary characters?
  • Here are some pictures of America during the time frame in which the novel is set. What connections can you make to the text?
  • Take a look at some of the actual artifacts from the Jim Crow era in America. How does this affect your reading or your perceptions of the novel.
  • Why is the book even called "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
  • Analyze Boo Radley's role in the novel.
  • What makes Atticus the way he is. What is his role in Maycomb?
  • How do characters change throughout the novel? How do they remain the same?
  • What's the role of Family in the novel? Pay attention to Ms. Alexandra.
  • Take a look at these Book Club questions if you're really stuck.

Please cite page numbers and specific passages from the novel to support your inferences and conclusions. We will be using these questions and your conclusions, questions, and insights to spark classroom discussion on Wednesday.

Example citation:
Scout says that " Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it" (Page 4). She seems to be trying to emphasize not just the age of the town, but also the slowness of the town, the values of the people, and the way that summer heat made everything drag on.

This isn’t the first time we see one of the Price women choosing materialism over God, despite Nathan’s harsh beatings and warnings. On page 363, Rachel reaches for her mirror instead of for her Bible, explaining “[ . . . ] it didn’t seem worth saving at that moment, so help me God. It had to be my mirror.” Whether this shows rebellion or just the simplistic mindset of a 15-year-old teenage girl, I’m not sure. Perhaps she was, in her own, small way, rebelling from Nathan. But maybe she just wanted to make sure that no matter where she went in Africa, she would always know the state of her appearance. That seems pretty likely.

* The sample reader's notebook above is done by a senior in high school with a lot of experience writing these notebooks. It is also over 600 words longer than the entry you are expected to create. No pressure.