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In the Style of Harper Lee, Write a Section of “To Kill A Mockingbird”

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1393
  • Category: Novel

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Maycomb was the tired old town it always was, and as expected, the year passed on like any typical Maycomb one – without incident. School was nearing its end, and Jem and I were finally looking forward to getting acquainted with Dill once more. We had games to play, stories to tell and a full summer ahead of us. Annoying as it was, we genuinely missed Dill’s rants about how he would go to a trip to Africa with his father and how he would one day become a professional pilot, just like his father of course.

During the weeks that Dill hadn’t been around, Jem and I had been forced to think of new ways to entertain ourselves; the pretend plays and spending tiresome days in the tree house had taken its toll on us, and we were desperate for some amusement in any other way. We even consulted Atticus, his best advice being to ‘read a book’. We blatantly disregarded this, and I despised my father’s age even more. Atticus was old. Even having considered Miss Maudie’s views on him, and after that ‘One Shot’ incident, I still thought his attitude was tedious. Jem was still unable to play football with him, Atticus excusing himself with his usual statement – ‘I’m too old for that, son.’

Summer came, and with it brought Dill, who appeared to have grown ten inches since we last met. He greeted us from where we first met him, him up in the tree house down Miss Rachel’s garden.

‘Hey down there!’

‘Hey Dill, what you up to?’ shouted Jem, wearing an untailored smile on his face.

‘Nothin’ much… I got new shoes!’

‘Yeah, we noticed. Those damn clown shoes make you look plain stupid Dill!’

‘My daddy says they make me look like a man!’

Without us having noticed, Calpurnia’s head popped out of our window.

‘Mr. Jeremy Finch, how dare you talk to Mr. Charles Harris like that! Now if he wants to dress up like that, you just go ahead and let him.’

‘Dill!’ I shouted in an attempt to prevent Jem smart mouthing Calpurnia back.

‘Scout’ he replied gently, pulling a red rose from the pack of his shorts. He descended, and placed the rose into the palm of my hand.

‘Heya Dill, fancy you were comin’ this time. Seen any picture shows lately?’ Jem seemed to have decided on rebuilding the conversation with a change of attitude.

‘You bet’ya. Just last week my daddy sent me down to watch ‘Frankenstein’. No other youngins ‘cept me. Not many folks got the gut to watch scary shows’, responded Dill with a sense of egotistical pleasure.

‘More like you ran out cryin’!’

‘Hush, Scout. Let Dill describe the show.’

And as if last summer had repeated itself, Jem focused on Dill’s description of the man who was not wanted – a very sad and recollecting story. To escape the embarrassment of crying and being called a girl, I made my way to Calpurnia, who had a fresh glass of Lemonade ready for my satisfaction.

Jem seemed to develop a new set of characteristics since he turned twelve. He thought that he suddenly became a man, similar to Dill’s fantasy – he was often moody at times, his appetite tripled, and he treated me with less importance. Calpurnia even appeared to blend in with his new frame of mind. We were surprised one morning to see a cartoon in the Montgomery Advertiser above the caption, ‘Maycomb’s Finch’. It showed Atticus barefooted and in short pants, chained to a desk: he was diligently writing on a slate while some frivolous-looking girls yelled, ‘Yoo-hoo!’ at him.

‘That’s a compliment,’ explained Jem. ‘He spends his time doin’ things that wouldn’t get done if nobody did ’em.’


In addition to Jem’s newly developed characteristics, he had acquired a maddening air of wisdom.

‘Oh, Scout, it’s like reorganizing the tax system of the counties and things. That kind of thing’s pretty dry to most men.

‘How do you know?’

‘Oh, go on and leave me alone. I’m readin’ the paper.’

Jem got his wish. I departed for the kitchen.

Life outside Maycomb was unknown to me; our modest county was all I ever knew. Every day we would inevitably pass Mrs. Dubose’s front porch en route to town – she was inescapable, as well as her usual cruel remarks. ‘Hey there Mrs. Dubose, how are things?’ I would try to say in a formal tone.

‘Don’t you hey me, you ugly little girl! You say good afternoon Mrs. Dubose! That nigger lover you call a father ever teach you anything?’ She was ruthless, although when Atticus was around at those times he seemed to merely satisfy her conversational needs. He would attempt to compliment her, following her approved silence or a distinct ‘Hrmph!’

‘Good evening, Mrs. Dubose, you look like a picture this evening.’

I never heard Atticus say like a picture of what. He hoped with all his heart she’d have a good day tomorrow. He would return his hat to his head, swing me to his shoulders in her very presence, and we would go home in the twilight. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.

Dill’s wide eyed stories of Meridien seemed to impress Jem. Every other day he would listen in awe while Dill would attempt to recapture some fruitful incidents of his life. I was irritated when Jem said I was ‘too young to understand’ when I questioned the reality of Dill’s stories. Boo Radley wasn’t taken out from Dill and Jem’s regular agenda either – they showed equal interest to him as they did the previous year. I quite frankly grew tired of visiting the Radley house, and just did not get the usual excitement I formerly did when a mysterious object emerged from nowhere; I meekly sighed at the prospect of Dill’s excitement and Jem’s somewhat serious interest to find out what just happened. I lightheartedly joined them in their so called ‘adventures’ nonetheless. My daily incidents also seemed to involve an argument with Miss Rachel, as well as a journey back home passing the Cunningham allotments as we intruded on the fifth grade pupils, much to their dismay.

‘I know what we are going to play’, Jem announced, after Calpurnia gave us some fresh lemonade.

‘What?’ asked Dill.

‘Boo Radley.’

Jem’s head at times was transparent: he had thought that up a while ago to make me understand he wasn’t afraid of Radley’s in any shape or form, to contrast his own fearless heroism with my cowardice.

‘Boo Radley? Again?’ asked Dill.

Jem said, ‘Scout, you can be Mrs. Radley -‘

‘I declare if I will. I don’t think -‘

”s matter?’ said Dill. ‘Still scared?’

‘He can get out at night when we’re all asleep…’ I said.

Jem hissed. ‘Scout, how’s he gonna know what we’re doin’? Besides, I don’t think he’s still there. He died years ago and they stuffed him up the chimney.’

Dill said, ‘Jem, you and me can play and Scout can watch if she’s still scared.’

I was fairly sure Boo Radley was inside that house, but I couldn’t prove it, and felt it best to keep my mouth shut or I would be accused of believing in Hot Steams, phenomena I was immune to in the daytime.

Jem parceled out our roles once again: I was Mrs. Radley, and all I had to do was come out and sweep the porch. Dill was old Mr. Radley: he walked up and down the sidewalk and he went under the front steps and shrieked and howled from time to time.

As the summer progressed, so did our game. We polished and perfected it, added dialogue and plot until we had manufactured a small play upon which we rang changes every day. It was times like these that I thought Maycomb, with all its lackluster traits, had given us something productive to do.

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