This week we finally get to the “law” part of the novel. There’s a ton to talk about. Here are some questions to get us going.
- Chapters 17 and 18 are full of rich descriptive detail about the courthouse as well as the layout of the courtroom and the personalities involved in this trial. You know how to do a close reading of a trial scene by now – so go for it.
- If you’re a would-be lawyer, and/or have background in thinking about legal strategy, and/or watch a lot of procedurals, this question might be especially fun for you: what might Atticus have done differently in court? Are there other possible defense strategies you could imagine him deploying?
- The injustice carried out by the legal system in this novel is heinous, and it’s an injustice that of course reflects a long history of white supremacist violence and anxieties about Black sexuality. So… how does that square with the tone of the narrative as a whole, which is not bleak? How does Lee make any of this OK by the end? What narrative choices have to be made in order for the final pages of the novel to be, dare I say, happy?