The Southern States of America in 1930

In 1930, the great depression began. This was due to the Wall Street crash that caused a major economic decline. It caused half the nation to be unemployed, meaning half the nation wasn’t earning money. This made it a very hard time for them, with the suicide rate increasing heavily, along with the already high rate of discrimination, especially on women. It also caused a massive separation in social classes, as the rich were surviving without working, were as the poorer became a lot poorer.

Similarities of 1933/now

  • social and economic divide between rich and poor
  • Americans are still very racist
  • teachers only teach to the syllabus

Differences of 1933/now 

  • most people have become more accepting of race and gender equality
  • more technology, eg cars and phones
  • a more fair justice system
  • in 1930s ladies were expected to be ladies, now people aren’t supposed to hold those expectations

Setting of Maycomb




Timeline of events


  • Dill arrives
  • Scout starts school


  • Scout and Jem find gifts in tree outside Radleys place
  • Kids try give Boo a note and get caught
  • Jem loses pants when trying to spy on Boo
  • Miss Maudie’s house burns down


  • Atticus shoots mad dog
  • Mrs Dubose dies
  • Kids attend church with Calpurnia
  • Aunt Alexandra moves in
  • Dill runs away
  • Mob came to jail
  • Trial begins
  • Kids meet Dolphus Raymond
  • Jury say Tom is guilty
  • Tom died trying to escape jail
  • Bob Ewell tries to kill Jem and Scout and Boo saves them




Major characters

Jean Louise(Scout) Finch, the narrator of the story, is a major character. She is a girl who wishes she was a boy, she refuses to wear dresses and loves to be outside adventuring with her brother Jem and their friend Dill. Scout has a strong impact throughout the story as although she is innocent, she has strong opinions that regularly contradict the adults; these actions have got her into trouble as much as she has saved people.

Jem Finch is the older brother of Scout who at the beginning of the story would always be playing with her, but as the story progressed and he became a teenager he slowly started to become more individual and ‘too cool’ to play with Scout. However, he still felt as if he had to be her protector and always silently made sure she was alright. If Jem got challenged to any kind of dare, he would take it up and do it with pride; he was always the risk-taker and got the three(including Dill) in trouble with Atticus for his imaginations of Boo.

Atticus Finch is the father to Scout and Jem, he is a busy man who is at work all day then comes home to read or sleep; however, he is still very caring for his children and ensures there is time to be with them throughout their childhood. He would be the most well-mannered and caring man in Maycomb who puts himself at risk to help others, just like in the case with Tom. Atticus would be one of the only men in that era who believes in racial equality so strongly. He has been a great father to the two kids and they’ve grown up with a great sense of morality and hasn’t let them get caught up in the injustice in the town.

Tom Robinson is the main character in part two, he has been put on trial for raping Mayella Ewell. He was prejudiced accused of raping a girl, just because he was a negro and the Ewells knew they could get away with it because of the unjustly narrow-minded community of Maycomb. Tom was, in fact, a very caring man who would help Mayella with chores for free. Sadly, Tom was one of the books ‘mockingbirds.’

Minor characters

Charles Baker “Dill” Harris is the best friend to Scout and Jem every summer and they got many adventures together. He, along with Scout, shows a child’s perspective and innocence throughout the book with their obliviousness to the situations around them. Dill has a very strong imagination, sparking images in the other kid’s minds about Boo Radley.

Calpurnia is the cook for the Finch family, they are very fond of her and the mothership she can have for them. She has helped them have empathy for the black community and gave them opportunities to show the community they care for them too. Calpurnia has helped Jem and Scout to be disciplined and to control their opinions.

Aunt Alexandra is Atticus’s sister who decides she would move in with them during the trial ‘to help Atticus’ even though he was fine. She tries to change Scout into a lady even though that is not who she is and Aunt and Atticus get into numerous fights about it. She pushed into their lives and tried to control every situation, believing Atticus wasn’t taking good enough care of them; she tried to even fire Calpurnia.

Characters that change

I believe that Scout Finch is a character that has changed throughout the novel, this may be due to her growing older, or her new people in her life who have influenced her. Scout starts the novel as a complete tomboy, who will only ever wear overalls and will be beating up the boys up at school. This is because she has a brother Jem, who she adores and has shaped her personality around. Scout never thought about becoming a lady as Atticus never pushed it and Jem always teased her about being a girl. However as the story goes on and she is going from 6-9 years old, she begins to mature into a lady with the strong influence of her Aunt Alexandra; this was the normal thing for all girls in that generation and Scout was catching on a bit late. When Scout’s aunt moved in with them she always argued with Atticus about Scout needing to change her ways. Scout hated it, how someone just came into her life and tried changing who she was “I walked home with Dill and returned in time to overhear Atticus saying to Aunty, ‘…in 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.” Aunt Alexandra managed to influence Scout enough to start wearing dresses, occasionally, and she also made her attend the ladies tea gatherings (there was usually lots of gossips so Scout didn’t mind.) However, the one thing that never changed was her strong opinion, and she wasn’t afraid to let her aunt know what she felt about becoming a lady, “I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately.”

The second character I think changed throughout the book was Jem Finch, Scout’s brother. He was becoming a teenager during the story, so we saw many changes both physically and mentally. Physically, Jem will have grown into his body more, and would have been trying to get strong, as he was really into football. Jem changed mainly mentally, he used to be really close to Scout and they used to play games, but throughout the book, he slowly started to become “too cool” for Scout. He would prefer to be in his room alone and wouldn’t want to be seen with her at school. Jem would also become frustrated with Scout as she hadn’t quite matured as much as he so got annoyed by her innocence. During the trial, he was beginning to understand the events unfolding around him and became quite upset when the trial didn’t go fairly like he thought it would, so in this way he was still quite innocent.



Chapter Questions 1-3

Chapter one:

    1. The opening of the novel begins with a detailed story of how Jem broke his arm. Through this, we are given an insight into what Jem is like as a character as we learn what his behaviours/thought processes are like. We are also vaguely introduced to Dill and Boo Radley, which intrigues us as we want to know more about the story of how Jem broke his arm with Dill trying to get Boo out. But out of what is what we don’t know which gets us predicting different ideas about the book. Scout, Jems younger sister, says how she “maintains) that the Ewells started it all” whereas Jem clarified that it was in fact due to the story of Boo Radley and Dill. This makes it seem that Scout, who’s four years younger, was trying to believe in the half of the story that didn’t bring back memories of Boo Radley, and instead was convincing herself that it all happened innocently and without the fault of the ‘crazy’ man.
    2. In the third chapter, Scout is trying to prove Jem wrong, but he’s not budging. The mood is slightly humorous as Scout is trying very hard to win the argument, using every story in the book to use as an argument. This is humorous to us as it can remind us of what we were like as kids fighting with our siblings about whos story’s right.
    3. “ a fur-trapping apothecary from Cornwall whose piety was exceeded only by his stinginess.”                                                                                                                                      “ his first two clients were the last two people hanged in the Maycomb County jail”


  • ********************



Chapter two:

  1. Scout’s teacher Mrs Caroline was upset that Scout already knew how to read and write, she began telling Scout that she must stop learning at home as she is learning wrong and it will hold her back from learning new skills. Miss Caroline says how Scout’s dad is teaching her wrong, however she only has this opinion as she is trying to teach the kids of Maycomb in a new way so she was disappointed that Scout has already learned using the traditional way. This is ironic because Miss Caroline is a teacher so she should be stoked that Scout can already read and write because it makes her job easier, but instead she is angry and upset that Scout has beaten her to it.
  2. Entailment is when is a property doesn’t sell, the next in line of kin will get it.


Chapter three:

  1. Miss Caroline becomes frightened by something that’s ‘alive’ halfway through the chapter. We learn this to be the ‘cooties’ in Burris Ewell’s hair; a cootie is a nit or lice in somebody’s hair.
  2. It was looked down upon in Maycomb County if people were to go hunting out of season by the residents of the County.
  3. Scout was furious that Bob Ewell was hunting out of season and didn’t understand why people let it happen as it wasn’t fair on everyone else. She describes it fiercely, using language only a lawyer would use, so this shows she thinks it’s it big rule that shouldn’t be broken, treating it as if it was illegal. However, these are big rules and opinions for a little girl to have so Scout must’ve heard these opinions elsewhere, most-likely from Atticus, and followed along because she thinks so highly of her elders opinions.
  4. Bob Ewell is the only resident in Maycomb county who is allowed to hunt out of season because everyone feels bad for his kids and they don’t want to restrict their food income.


Setting notes

PLACE: The setting in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set in the state of Alabama in the Southern states of America. The town of Maycomb is fictitious, meaning it is created by Harper Lee, however it is based off the town of ****. It is a town of poor farmers, with dirt roads and very few cars. Everybody’s doors were kept open during the day unless there was an illness in the family.


TIME: Harper Lee has set the novel in the 1930’s, during the ‘Great Depression.’ There are references to Roosevelt in the novel, and a few of his quotes have been used. The story itself is set over three years.


SOCIETY:The community in Maycomb has been poor for many years, but there is still obvious socio-economic classes within the society. The Finch’s are quite high in the social classes, in the time era, whereas people like the Cunninghams and Ewells are sitting in the bottom few. The people of Maycomb are quite religious. All the school kids go home for lunch, they’re being treated like adults. The kids also have to play with their imagination(they make up games) which shows us that they have no modern source of entertainment. Occupations: lawyers, farmers, unemployed, teacher, blacksmith, housemaid, sheriff, minister, cotton farmers(landowners)

Chapter Summaries (plot)

Chapter one: Introduced to Scout, Jem, Atticus, Calpurnia  Dill and the Radleys. Get an Understanding of what Maycomb and its people are like. We learn a lot about the Radleys, especially Boo. Jem got dared to touch Boo’s house (“flick”).

Chapter two: scout starts school. Miss Caroline is disappointed that scout already knew how to read and told her to stop doing learning at home. Scout gets in trouble for telling miss Caroline about Walter Cunningham and why he didn’t have lunch. We learn how Atticus helped the Cunningham’s once.

Chapter three: scout beat up Walter Cunningham. Jen invites him around for dinner and scout is rude and Calpurnia tells her off. Miss Caroline freaks when she sees a cootie in little chucks hair. We learn about the Burris’s. Scout talks to Atticus about not wanting to go to school anymore.

Chapter four: scout finds gum in the tree hiding place, then coins. They roll scout in the tyre and she crashes into Radley’s place. They play the game of Boo Radley’s but Atticus catches them and they get in trouble. Someone inside the house was laughing.

Chapter five: dill and Jem exclude scout so scout meets miss Maudie. Scout gets another perspective on boo. They try Give boo a note but Atticus catches them.

Chapter six: Dills last day. The three sneak into the Radley’s backyard and try look through a broken shutter. They saw a shadow. They heard a gunshot as they were running away, Jem lost his pants cause they got stuck on the fence. Everyone saw Jem only in his boxers, but Dill covered it up saying he won them during strip poker. That night Jem went back alone to retrieve his pants.

Chapter seven: “Jem was moody and silent for a week” Jem tells Scout how his pants had been sewed up (badly) and folded back on the fence, ready for him as if they were expecting him. In the treehole hiding place they found grey twine, and two figurines carved in soap of a boy and girl (scout and jem), chewing gum, and medal for a local spelling comp, a pocket watch. The two decide they want to write a letter to whoever’s leaving everything, but when they go to leave it, they discover the holes been filled in the concrete by Mr radley because the tree was ‘dying’.

Chapter eight: Mrs Radley died. Jem and Scout saw snow for the first time, made a snowman with the little snow they had. Miss Maudie’s house caught on fire and Boo Radley put a blanket around Scout when her and Jem were waiting outside his house; they didn’t notice because they were watching the fire. Jem told Atticus all about the tree etc.

Chapter nine: Cecil Jacobs told the school that Atticus was a niggerlover. We first hear about the case of Tom Robinson. Scout walked away from a fight and was called a coward (big for her to do). They had to have christmas with their family they didn’t like and Scout kept swearing (trying to get out of school). The two got air rifles for christmas. Scout gets in a fight with francis resulting in them having to leave (francis called atticus a nigger lover etc). Atticus says lots of stuff about his case and Scout that he wanted her to overhear.

Chapter ten: We learn a lot about Atticus. Killing a MockingBird is first mentioned/explained by Miss Maudie. Tim Johnstone the dog went crazy and the sheriff came and got atticus to shoot it and the kids were so shocked. We and they learn he used to be known for his accurate shooting and the two kids couldn’t believe it.

Significant Connections

“We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.” If we choose to live under illusions, it shows we feel we’ll never be fully satisfied with our lives; and since every single person who’s ever lived, has been caught up in some kind of dream, we know for a fact, there is no such thing as a perfect life. We can wish all we want to have the ultimate life but in reality that wish will never come true. The four texts ‘Almost Infamous’ by Peter Williams, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘Clueless’ by Amy Heckerling,  and ‘Plain Truth’ by Jodi Picoult prove to us that no matter the amount of effort, not everything will turn out as planned. In the short story ‘Almost Infamous’ Brent Sandri considered everything to be famous, but in the end, he became known for something he didn’t want. As for Jay Gatsby, he was the master of illusion, he had a strong belief nothing was worth it until he got wealthy and got the girl he wanted. In the film, ‘Clueless,’ Cher Horowitz was spoilt, expecting everything to go her way, but this isn’t the case when she gets lost within her own illusions. All these texts are quite similar to the beliefs of the Amish in the novel ‘Plain Truth; they can’t handle when things don’t happen like they’re supposed to. “The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self. “

In the short story “Almost Infamous” written by Peter Williams,  “Brent Sandri always wanted to be famous. Or at least well known. ” The main character was persistent in finding his direction in life that would lead him to fame.  His ideas reached out of his range of abilities, but he was so set on becoming famous he didn’t mind. He set his mind on becoming the best radio presenter in the world, well at least in his town. Brent was so caught under his illusion of being famous he began acting like one; even though he was only a small town radio presenter, “he even thought of changing his name.”  Brent  committed fully to his dream, trying so desperately to  reach fulfilment. Brent thought “… he was pretty good” because of the illusion he cast himself, but in reality he wasn’t anything special in the wide world. He was acting as if his job was going to be the start to his perfect world and began to think he was too smart for himself. One night he decided to get his smokes out of the car but he soon discovered he’d locked himself out of the studio. Brents dream of becoming a successful presenter came crashing down when he was fired. His dream took over his mind, and he became distracted by the reality of his job in front of him; he made a ‘rookie’ mistake because he was so focused on the big picture rather than the small tasks at hand. Instead of being well known for something with pride (which was his ultimate dream), he was known for his most embarrassing moment.  His illusion and obvious arrogance was the reason his mistake was unveiled and reality caught up to him. Brent Sandri was trying to reach absolute fulfilment, to live in a perfect world but instead, his dream became a failure.

“The Great Gatsby” written by F. Scott Fitzgerald gives us an  insight to the illusions of a struggling man and his dream. Throughout a hectic 1920’s summer in Manhattan, we see the persistence of a man named Jay Gatsby travelling from poverty to wealth just to reconnect with his lost love from 5 years ago. He was deeply unsatisfied with his life “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception, he was faithful to the end.”  He started when he was young and continued on for many years, adding on continuously until it was too late to go back. He had to follow through with his original plan, it was too late to turn back or everybody would think selfish and greedy man. The Great Gatsby is quite similar to the short story “Almost Infamous” by Peter Williams because of the passion and dedication both characters had for their dream of wealth and living in absolute fulfilment. Gatsby set his dreams high just like Brent Sandri. They were almost out of reach; “…the colossal vitality of illusion,” was his weak point, he’d put so much pressure on everyone around him to fit in perfectly to his imagined world. He’d created a greater vision of Daisy than what even she thought she was; Gatsby’s lover felt his pressure, she knew she could never live up to his expectations.  He would try everything to keep Daisy within his grasp; Gatsby and Brent both pushed to find a way their dream would work out, with a happy ending. This never happened for them because of their illusion of having the ultimate life; however, they saw sight of their perfect worlds, just before the walls came crashing down. They came down hard on Gatsby, crushing his persona and  releasing the reality.  Gatsby and Brent let their desires run their lives, typically, this would be fine but especially for Gatsby, he made his dreams unachievable. They became naive to the fact that anything could go wrong that would completely destroy their dreams. Gatsby fell into his own trap;  mentally, he was his real murderer.

The film “Clueless” directed by Amy Heckerling tells the story of a rich and meddlesome girl named Cher Horowitz who claims she has a normal life. She believes she is envied by all around her, even though she wished the size of her bank account scared people away rather than luring them in. She believed in her illusion that everything she did would turn out right for everyone, including herself. But nothing did; she upset her friends, got taken over in the school’s pecking order and even lost the boy that stood outside her illusion. Once her heart was broken, her world and illusion started to shattered with it. Just like Gatsby in “The Great Gatsby,” she couldn’t see the problems occurring in her life. Both characters thought they were living perfectly normal lifestyles, but it was the illusion tricking them, their reality was a very distant thought; it was almost hidden. They were oblivious to the fact that they were taking advantage of the people around them to get to where they saw they needed to be, their perfect world. For example, Cher only sets up two of her teachers to make them happy just so she’d get good grades; while Gatsby uses Nick to get close to Daisy, only causing him to have a mental breakdown in the end. They were both too caught up in their own illusions to worry, or even realise how everyone else’s lives were playing out.  When Cher reflected on her past ways of living, she began to realise it was the reason she had ended up where she was. Cher even admitted to herself: “I can’t believe I failed. I failed something I couldn’t talk myself out of?” She was so overwhelmed that money and a dad who’s a lawyer can’t create a perfect environment for her; she “was just totally clueless.” Which is a similar thought that rsn through Gatsby’s mind, because he was perplexed that all his money couldn’t win him anything. To Cher, when this illusion was revealed, “it was some kind of alternate universe” to her which is just like when Gatsby ” looked up at an unfamiliar sky” as everything started to make sense to him.  They were both so caught up in their illusion that they ended up losing everything they wanted and had worked so hard to achieve.

In my last text “The Plain Truth” by Jodi Picoult, an amish girl (Katie Fisher) becomes caught in the middle of a murder trial for her own baby. Although, her innocent background makes it extremely hard to believe she was capable of such an act, the amish are also a strongly entrenched community who despise the divergent. Katie was accused of lying and began being questioned about her ways; ” if (she) didn’t remember something happening, was it because it never happened? Or because (she) wished it hadn’t?” Their culture is so dissimilar to ours, because if someone stands out in our world its respected, whereas in an amish community attempting to stand out will get you shunned. It is their biggest fear, to lose a sense of their society because all they’ve ever know is to be part of a community; they couldn’t bear to have to stand alone. So when Sarah Fisher discovered her daughter’s hidden pregnancy, she freaked out because she couldn’t bear to lose her second child for being kicked out of the community. Even though all evidence pointed to Katie as the murderer, it was in fact Sarah who murdered the baby because she couldn’t handle how things didn’t happen like they were meant to. This is a similar situation Cher was in. Both characters had to do everything they could to get themselves out of the situation but unluckily for Cher and Sarah, their unwise actions backfired, and they waved their perfect life goodbye. It is good to compare these books because Cher in “Clueless” shows us a community that applauds standing out to get what you want and to find your way; whereas Sarah in “Plain Truth” shows us the importance and lengths people go to in order to not stand out within the Amish community.

These four texts prove to us that there is no such thing as a perfect life. No matter how hard we try, no matter what lengths we go to make things work in our favour, we will never be fully satisfied with our lives. All four characters: Brent Sandri from “Almost infamous,”  Jay Gatsby from “The Great Gatsby,” Cher Horowitz from “Clueless,” and Sarah Fisher from “The Plain Truth,” make the decision to live their lives under an illusion. But illusions will never come positively, they always follow with some kind of consequence. It turns out to be a lot of work for nothing when everything starts drifting away out of your reach, all because people boost their ego to become obsessed by the idea of having a perfect world. “The ego is only an illusion, but a very influential one. Letting the ego-illusion become your identity can prevent you from knowing your true self.”


Close Reading Tasks

the rivers pawn.

find a quote that foreshadows (hints) that this rafting trip is not going to go perfectly. Explain your answer.

I think that there are a few statements from the narrator hinting the trip wasn’t going to go well. When they say they’re nervous and how “the sight of the wild water made (their) stomach toss,” we understand the person is not confident and believes they’re not capable of the rafting experience. The word choices like “Rapids smashing violently against the rocks,” shows us how the narrator is nervous. The reason these words make me sense the trip won’t go well is if the person shows discomfort they will be on high alert and overthinking every situation (like the rain); in this short story, the rain was a distraction to the person so when they fell out of the boat they panicked and were unsure what to do.

identify at least five different emotions that the writer feels during the experience and explain how those emotions are conveyed.


Is your perception of reality an illusion? speech

TOPIC: is your perception of reality an illusion?

PURPOSE: to create thoughts/feelings in my audience

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” well at least that’s what T.S. Eliot tried to convince us. However, because this statement contradicts the perception of reality in our minds, we try to protect ourselves and our misconceptions while denying the accusations, believing he is the person creating an illusion rather than our own minds. So is our perception of reality, in fact, an illusion?People feel as if they need these illusions in their life to run away from the reality that they have been trying to ignore and put behind them. Our generation is constantly trying to hide the raw truth behind a curtain of illusion and deceit. They feel that by putting up a wall, they can block out any kind of reality from putting pressure on their lives. By having the option to distort reality, people feel as if they have control of events around them even though it’s only twisting the truth. It’s like when Donald Trump said he wanted to build a wall between America and Mexico, all he was doing was hiding a problem behind a wall. He wasn’t confronting the issue, he just wanted it to not affect him. With a wall in place, the problem would still be occurring but he was so tangled up in his illusion that he won’yt care what happens outside his bubble.But this can actually give confidence and comfort to a person if they can’t handle the many stresses of the real world. It gives a form of a shelter where people can create a preferred outcome where they can pretend everything is alright. I don’t know why people think that if they separate themselves from all the messed up episodes, our world becomes a safe and happy place. In New Zealand, 83% of people claim they are satisfied with their lives, rating a 7 or above on a scale of 1 to 10. However, we will never know if people are truely happy due to the illusions they put in place over reality, as it has become an unconscious decision people can no longer control.  Possibly people who are unsatisfied with their life or are constantly competing with mental illness may be the only ones who can see through their illusion; their perception of reality could be clear. Maybe they struggle to form an illusion, resulting in them seeing all the imperfections in everything that everyone else decides to stay oblivious to.To many people, they form illusions to cause a diversion, they have to distort reality to be able to only see what they want. And people put in so much effort to stick to their illusions even though it contradicts reality. Peoples perceptions of reality blind them of the truth, we have all just learned to build an alternate world around us that we can tolerate.Because Charles Swindoll once said that life is 10% what happens to you and the other 90%, is how you decide to react. So why do we react and put up this illusion of a perfect world when “we cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way? We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude.”


  1. T.S. Eliot: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,”
  2. people feel like they need illusions in their life to run away from reality
  3. illusion gives confidence
  4. satisfaction vs mental illness
  5. used as a diversion and is a delusion to the unwanted and the rejected truth
  6. your perception is the illusion
  7. we stick to the illusions although it contradicts reality 
  8. acknowledging reality: we have never been able to accept reality for what it is we have just learned to build an alternate world around us that we can tolerate.