"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, Chapters 16–19

In this classic coming-of-age story, Scout Finch recounts her childhood in Maycomb, Alabama. When Scout's father is appointed to defend a black man in a high-profile trial, racial tensions in the small town come to a head.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–6, Chapters 7–11, Chapters 12–15, Chapters 16–19, Chapters 20–25, Chapters 26–31

Here is a link to our lists for Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. despise
    look down on with disdain or disgust
    "He despises Negroes, won't have one near him."
  2. quote
    repeat a passage from
    I guess that the foot-washers thought that the Devil was quoting Scripture for his own purposes, as the driver speeded his mules.
  3. formidable
    extremely impressive in strength or excellence
    Why they objected to Miss Maudie's yard was a mystery, heightened in my mind because for someone who spent all the daylight hours outdoors, Miss Maudie's command of Scripture was formidable.
  4. elucidate
    make clear and comprehensible
    We asked Miss Maudie to elucidate: she said Miss Stephanie seemed to know so much about the case she might as well be called on to testify.
  5. affluent
    having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value
    The more affluent chased their food with drugstore Coca-Cola in bulb-shaped soda glasses.
  6. convene
    meet formally
    He was from Abbottsville; we saw him only when court convened, and that rarely, for court was of no special interest to Jem and me.
  7. scrutiny
    the act of examining something closely, as for mistakes
    The jury, thinking themselves under close scrutiny, paid attention; so did the witnesses, thinking likewise.
    ". . . in your own words, Mr. Tate," Mr. Gilmer was saying.
  8. turbulent
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
    With his infinite capacity for calming turbulent seas, he could make a rape case as dry as a sermon.
  9. devoid
    completely wanting or lacking
    Here Judge Taylor glanced sharply at the witness and must have decided his speculations devoid of evil intent, for he subsided sleepily.
  10. distracted
    having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
    I was too distracted about Mayella to run after him.
  11. descent
    a movement downward
    The witness made a hasty descent from the stand and ran smack into Atticus, who had risen to question him.
  12. ambidextrous
    equally skillful with each hand
    "About your writing with your left hand, are you ambidextrous, Mr. Ewell?"
  13. contorted
    twisted, especially as in pain or struggle
    Mayella's face contorted, and I was afraid that she would cry again.
  14. courteous
    characterized by politeness and gracious good manners
    "We've done business in this court for years and years, and Mr. Finch is always courteous to everybody.
  15. contrary
    exact opposition
    "Atticus, let's get on with these proceedings, and let the record show that the witness has not been sassed, her views to the contrary."
  16. hostility
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    Mayella's hostility, which had subsided to grudging neutrality, flared again.
  17. involuntary
    not subject to the control of the will
    He did not see her involuntary jump, but it seemed to me that he knew she had moved.
  18. detached
    showing lack of emotional involvement
    Atticus's voice had lost its comfortableness; he was speaking in his arid, detached professional voice.
  19. recollect
    recall knowledge from memory
    "No, I don't recollect if he hit me.
  20. smother
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    Even the babies were still, and I suddenly wondered if they had been smothered at their mothers' breasts.
  21. exodus
    a journey by a group to escape from a hostile environment
    As a rule, a recess meant a general exodus, but today people weren't moving.
  22. volition
    the act of making a choice
    He seemed to be a respectable Negro, and a respectable Negro would never go up into somebody's yard of his own volition.
  23. expunge
    remove by erasing or crossing out or as if by drawing a line
    Judge Taylor told the reporter to expunge anything he happened to have written down after Mr. Finch if you were a nigger like me you'd be seared too, and told the jury to disregard the interruption.
  24. conscience
    motivation deriving from ethical or moral principles
    "If you had a clear conscience, why were you scared?"
  25. grope
    feel about uncertainly or blindly
    "He's not an example, Dill, he's… I was trying to grope in my memory for a sharp phrase of Miss Maudie Atkinson's.
Created on February 14, 2013 (updated July 16, 2018)

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