Study Guide

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

  • Scout convinces Jem to back off on the Radley game, and then Dill asks Scout to marry him. (Hey, it is the South.)
  • Despite this moment of passion, the boys spend most of their time together and neglect Scout.
  • So, Scout spends her time hanging out with Miss Maudie Atkinson, a usually stand-off-ish old lady.
  • Bonus: Miss Maudie makes the best cakes in the neighborhood, and best of all, shares them with the three kids.
  • Flashback: Scout's Uncle Jack has a history of flirting with Miss Maudie, though in a joking way.
  • Miss Maudie tells Scout more about the Radleys, including that old Mr. Radley (Boo's father) was a "foot-washing Baptist" (5.27), which is apparently much more hardcore than just regular Baptists.
  • In fact, some of Mr. Radley's fellow foot-washers have told Miss Maudie that she and her flowers are going to burn in hell, because any time spent not reading the Bible is time spent in sin, especially if it involves creating something pleasing to the senses. (No word on whether criticizing one's neighbors counts as a sin with them.)
  • Miss Maudie says that the Radleys are "so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one" (5.44).
  • Is Boo crazy? Well, if he wasn't when this whole thing started, he probably is now.
  • Scout finally breaks into Jem and Dill's Get Rid Of Slimy girls Club, and finds out what they've been planning to do: use a fishing pole to put a note to Boo through one of the upper windows of the Radley Place.
  • When they put the plan into action, Jem has some difficulty maneuvering the fishing pole, which is too short to reach the window.
  • And then Atticus shows up. And he doesn't look pleased.
  • Atticus tells the kids to stop bothering Boo, who has a perfect right to stay in his house if he wants to.
  • Atticus also tells them to stop playing their stupid game, and Jem says they weren't making fun of Boo, inadvertently revealing to Atticus that they were in fact playing at being the Radleys.
  • Jem eventually realizes he's been fooled by the oldest lawyer's trick in the book. Oops.

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