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Hello there! For those or you writ­ing English B, we con­tinue our stud­ies in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mock­ing­bird, and to help all of you as you pre­pare to write the English A exam, we have sev­eral ex­er­cises to keep you on your toes with gram­mar, spell­ing and vo­cab­u­lary. Read on now, and en­joy your CXC English page.

ENGLISH B— Nar­ra­tive de­vices in

To Kill a Mock­ing­bird

Struc­ture Harper Lee’s won­der­ful novel has an in­ter­est­ing struc­ture: Part 1 in­tro­duces us to the peo­ple of May­comb, while Part 2 deals with the false ac­cu­sa­tion brought against Tom Robin­son by Mayella Ewell, the de­fence of Tom brought by At­ti­cus in court, and Tom’s at­tempt to es­cape his jailors—an ac­tion that re­sults in his death.

The two-part struc­ture is im­por­tant be­cause Part 1 high­lights the race prej­u­dice and class prej­u­dice that dom­i­nates May­comb so­ci­ety while Part 2 shows the tragic con­se­quences of that prej­u­dice.

Tom Robin­son’s story is framed by an­other story: the story of how the Finch chil­dren come to know Boo Radley. This ‘fram­ing de­vice’ is an­other clever struc­tural as­pect of the novel. At the start of the novel we see the chil­dren (en­cour­aged by Dill), try­ing to get Boo to come out of his house. They find his gifts in the tree-knot, and sus­pect that it was Boo who mended Jem’s pants and who put the blan­ket around Scout’s shoul­ders when Miss Maudie’s house burnt down. But it is not un­til the end of the novel, when Boo saves the chil­dren from the mur­der­ous at­tack by Bob Ewell, that they fi­nally un­der­stand that they had mis­un­der­stood Boo all along: he is a kind, thought­ful, harm­less, coura­geous man—not the mon­ster they had cre­ated in their imag­i­na­tions.

The two sto­ries have par­al­lel themes: May­comb so­ci­ety is so racist that Tom is as­sumed to be guilty sim­ply be­cause he is black. The truth re­vealed is that it is Bob Ewell—a white man—who is the real mon­ster. Sim­i­larly, the two chil­dren had as­sumed that Boo is a mon­ster be­cause he is ‘dif­fer­ent’, but the truth is that they them­selves had been be­hav­ing in a shame­ful way—like lit­tle mon­sters!

Point of view The Tom Robin­son story and the Boo Radley story have this in com­mon: a good, in­no­cent man is mis­rep­re­sented and treated un­justly by so­ci­ety. The in­jus­tice is done by or­di­nary cit­i­zens who sim­ply can’t see past their prej­u­dice. The chil­dren can’t see the real Boo—only the cat-eat­ing mon­ster they have imag­ined him to be; the cit­i­zens of May­comb can’t see the real Tom—only the dan­ger­ous black rapist they have imag­ined him to be. Just as the chil­dren have to change their point of view, so do the cit­i­zens of May­comb, if jus­tice is to be done.

You can see now why Harper Lee chooses to let Scout be the nar­ra­tor of this story. We hear all the events from Scout’s point of view. But the im­por­tant thing about Scout is that she grows up a bit, and her opin­ions change. Grad­u­ally (and with guid­ance from At­ti­cus), she sees peo­ple like Calpur­nia, Mrs Du­bose, Wal­ter Cun­ning­ham, and es­pe­cially Boo, in a new light: her point of view changes as she lets go of prej­u­dice, and comes to un­der­stand the truth about folk she had mis­judged.

Just as Scout’s point of view was clouded by mis­un­der­stand­ing and prej­u­dice, so is the point of view of May­comb so­ci­ety. The reader is left to won­der when an­other ‘At­ti­cus’ will show up to turn peo­ple away from their prej­u­dice and mis­un­der­stand­ing to em­brace the truth, and deal justly with their fel­lows—re­gard­less of race or class.

Con­trast Harper Lee presents most of her thoughts by way of con­trast, as we have seen in pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles. At­ti­cus can be com­pared and con­trasted with other fa­thers in the novel; his gen­uine con­cern for his neigh­bours (Mrs. Du­bose, He­len Robin­son, Mr. Cun­ning­ham, etc.) can be con­trasted with the self-serv­ing ac­tiv­i­ties of the May­comb Mis­sion­ary Ladies; his courage to stand alone in de­fence of Tom Robin­son con­trasts with the mob men­tal­ity of the men who come to storm the jail and lynch the pris­oner. 1. 2.


4. 5. 6.

Ex­am­ples 1-4 are com­monly found; ex­am­ples 5 and 6 are not usu­ally found in con­ver­sa­tion—only in literary works.

In the sen­tences that fol­low, you will find nor­mal word or­der. Put the un­der­lined word(s) in each at the be­gin­ning of the sen­tence, and “in­vert” the word or­der as we have shown you above. Check the bot­tom of the page for the answers. 1. We had no sooner checked into the ho­tel than we re­ceived word that our de­par­ture time had been brought for­ward. The head­mas­ter not only fined the stu­dent $500, but he also made him stay af­ter school to clean up the mess he had made. The ded­i­cated nurse not only tends to the phys­i­cal needs of her pa­tients, but she also un­der­stands that they have psy­cho­log­i­cal needs too. The ath­letes will hardly have re­cov­ered from the first event when they will be re­quired to run in the sec­ond. His father has not only banned him from watch­ing tv for a week, but has also con­fis­cated his CD player. There were not only heaps of garbage spilled around the park, but lots of bro­ken bot­tles too. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. No sooner had we bought our tick­ets than the rain started to fall. Not only did they lose the bi­cy­cle, but they also broke sev­eral win­dows in the house. Not only will he pay too. Hardly were we set­tled in the seats when the show be­gan. Never had he come across such a beau­ti­ful sight. Sel­dom do I find such en­thu­si­asm in my classes. a fine, but he will have to do com­mu­nity ser­vice


Look at these sen­tences and see if you can spot the mis­takes:

Mar­cia de­cided to spend the hol­i­days with her aunt even­though she had not en­joyed her stay the pre­vi­ous year. The con­trac­tor told my father that alot of work would have to be done on the old build­ing that we in­her­ited from my grandma. I wouldn’t vote for Latoya Collins; in­fact, I think she would be a dis­as­ter as mayor of our cap­i­tal city.

Check the bot­tom of the page for the answers.


Here are 15 words to chal­lenge your skill. Ask some­one to test you on the spell­ing, and be sure to learn any prob­lem words.

In­ge­nious, in­stall, in­stal­ment, in­tact, in­ter­est­ing, ir­rel­e­vant, ir­re­sistible, jack­knife, jan­i­tor, jeal­ousy, jew­elry, judgment, kerosene, prej­u­dice, knead (bread).


Do you know when NOT to use a ques­tion mark for a ques­tion? The an­swer to that ques­tion is: Never use a ques­tion mark if you are us­ing re­ported speech.

Ex­am­ple 1 “Can you tell me if the Post Of­fice is open?” the stranger asked. (Di­rect speech) The stranger wants to know if the Post Of­fice is open. (No ques­tion mark and no quo­ta­tion marks in re­ported speech.)

Ex­am­ple 2 “When does the doc­tor ar­rive?” queried the pa­tient. The pa­tient asked when the doc­tor ar­rives. (No ques­tion mark and no quo­ta­tion marks in re­ported speech.)


Now put these sen­tences into re­ported speech, re­mem­ber­ing the rule you have just re­vised.

“Does the bank open on Satur­days?” the cus­tomer asked. “Where have all the flow­ers gone?” asked the folk singer.

ANSWERS Your Turn Now The cus­tomer asked if the bank opens on Satur­days. The folk singer asked where all the flow­ers had gone.

Caught in the Slips The slips are even­though, alot, and in­fact. Please re­mem­ber that it is two words in each case: even though, a lot, and in fact.

In­ver­sion 1 No sooner had we checked into the ho­tel than… 2 Not only did the head­mas­ter fine the stu­dent $500, but… 3 Not only does the ded­i­cated nurse tend to the phys­i­cal needs of her pa­tients, but… 4 Hardly will the ath­letes have re­cov­ered... 5 Not only has his father banned him… 6 Not only were there heaps of garbage…

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