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To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 2 Summary

To Kill a Mockingbird Chapter 2 Summary

To kill a mockingbird chapter two is set in Maycomb School.

Main Characters

Dill- he is also known as Charles Baker Harris and is the six-year-old nephew of Rachel Haverford, the next-door neighbor of the finches’.

Scout- she is originally known as jean Louise finch but uses the nickname scout. Scout is the daughter of Atticus finch and is nearly six years old when the story begins. She is a tomboy, eager, inquisitive and observant.

Jem- Jeremy Atticus finch, also known as Jem is scout’s older brother who is 10 as the novel begins. He is wildly imaginative and as curious as a scout.

Atticus – Atticus finch is a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama. He is a widowed father to Jem and scout.

Calpurnia – she has been a cook at the finch house since Jem was born. She becomes a mother figure to Jem and scout after the death of their mother.

Plot Summary

Dill returns home to Mississippi in early September. Scout is miserable until she remembers that she starts school in a week. Jem agrees to take Scout to school and explains that she cannot bother him at all because things are different at school. Scout learns that Jem is right almost immediately. Her teacher, Miss Caroline, is from Winston County, a peculiar place. After reading the class a silly story about talking cats, Miss Caroline prints the alphabet on the board. Nearly every student can read it since many failed first grade last year, but Miss Caroline asks Scout to read it aloud. Scout then reads most of her reading book and part of the newspaper. Miss Caroline is upset that Scout can read and tells her to tell Atticus to not teach her anymore. Scout is not sure what she did wrong, she cannot remember not knowing how to read.

At recess, Jem finds Scout, and Scout explains her predicament. Jem assures her that Miss Caroline is introducing a new teaching method called the Dewey Decimal System, which Scout does not question. Back in class, Miss Caroline waves cards printed with “cat,” “rat,” and other words. Scout is bored, so she begins a letter to Dill. Miss Caroline scolds Scout for writing in cursive, which she is not supposed to learn until the third grade. Scout explains that Calpurnia taught her cursive on rainy days to keep Scout out of her hair.

Miss Caroline prepares the class for lunch by taking stock of who will go home to eat and who brought lunch. She notices that Walter Cunningham is not going home and does not have any lunch. Walter quietly agrees that he forgot his lunch but refuses Miss Caroline’s offer of a quarter to eat downtown, to be paid back later. Scout notices that despite his poverty, Walter is clean and tidy. Someone hisses for Scout to explain the situation, so Scout raises her hand and announces that Walter is a Cunningham. She believes her meaning is clear. Everyone knows that the Cunninghams have no money or extra food. At Miss Caroline’s prodding, Scout explains the Cunninghams will not accept anything if they cannot pay people back.

Atticus explained to Scout then that Mr. Cunningham was hit hard by the stock market crash but does not want a WPA job since it will mean nobody will be around to work his land. Not being able to explain this as well as Atticus, Scout tells Miss Caroline that she is shaming Walter since he cannot pay her back. Miss Caroline hauls Scout to the front of the room and asks her to hold out her hand. Scout is confused when Miss Caroline lightly taps Scout’s hand with a ruler. Children laugh when they realize Miss Caroline “whipped” Scout.


  1. Growth. Scout, Dill, and Jem grow up both physically and mentally. They begin the novel with a firm and uncomplicated idea of what’s good and what’s bad, but by the end of the novel, they’ve all lost their innocence and have come to a more complex understanding of how people and the world work.
  2. Prejudice. Prejudice is shown in this chapter by the many people living in Maycomb being racists and prejudiced against black people.

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