What do we make of TKAM as our national favorite book? Let’s take a look at Atticus and guns. Harper Lee expertly sets up the critical “mad dog” scene, which occurs later in the novel, in Chapter 10 when he gives Scout and Jem air rifles for Christmas. He won’t teach them to shoot, though. He hands that chore off to Uncle Jack. At this point, Jem and Scout think Atticus is a wimp. Shoot, Atticus won’t even play football in the fathers’ church game, Jem and Scout gripe.
Lee also uses this opportunity for Atticus to lean on the title: He tells Jem and Scout: “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
Later, (spoiler alert), Atticus saves the town when he drops a rabid dog with one shot, astonishing Jem and Scout, foreshadowing the trial.
Hankering to watch the mad dog scene just one more time? Click here.