Talk:To Kill a Mockingbird

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Circular narrative[edit]

I couldn't find any mention in the article of the way the story has no clear beginning and end, but is sort of circular. I don't know if there's a term for that...I came here looking to find that technique to see if any other books had used it - where you could turn from the last page to the first page with no break. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't know if there's a name for that technique. I did, however, find a reference to its use on SparkNotes. Not sure if that's a reliable source or not. Also, I don't know if this is noteworthy enough to be included in this article, which is already extremely long. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Augurar (talkcontribs) 04:15, 11 July 2010 (UTC)


I would like to know why Moni3 has an apparent monopoly on the content of, and contributions to, this article. I recently made a few grammatical corrections to the article, and they were immediately reversed by Moni3 with the unqualified comment, "material flows better in previous version." The question is, "material flows better according to which standard--or whose." I clicked on the "View history" hyperlink and saw that the vast majority of the entries were contributions, or reversals of others' contributions, by Moni3. I have recently developed an interest in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Harper Lee, and I feel strongly that my contributions are as valid as anyone else's. I would like to know Wikipedia's position on the editing of this article. (talk) 02:14, 22 June 2010 (UTC)Jdlankin

I don't own the article, but I wrote it. It's a collaborative encyclopedia, and that sounds super until the reality is that as articles become featured editors continue to tweak constantly, move, shift, and rearrange, and without one or a few editors looking to make sure the article is cohesive, the quality degrades. I've made over 450 edits to the article since 2007.
So tell me what was offensive or unclear about the writing that compelled you to change it. --Moni3 (talk) 02:30, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't understand how you can claim to have written the article when it was originally written three years before you started contributing to it. Under your premise, why should someone else not be able to make substantial changes and then claim that he or she wrote it? The operative word in your response is "collaborative." Wikipedia is a collaborative encyclopedia, and that means that many people contribute to it. Are you a Wikipedia staff editor? Otherwise, if you want to maintain complete control over an article, may I suggest you publish it in a non-interactive medium such as in print or on your own Web site?

As to my changes, in my opinion, there are too many fragments, e.g. "Born in 1926,". There are more fragments in the first paragraph of the article than in the first page of TKaM. You also haven't answered my question, "Material flows better to which standard--or whose?" (talk) 22:54, 16 July 2010 (UTC)Jdlankin

It's true the article was created long before I became a member of Wikipedia. In August 2007 I suggested on the talk page (here in the archives) that the article should be restructured and improved. This is what it looked like around the time I began rewriting it. You can read through the archives to see the various discussions about how to improve the article and it went through many edits from various Wikipedians to be the best it can be. The article, therefore, is the result of the efforts of several editors making suggestions and copy editing. Material flows better to meet the standard of writing for featured articles. Whose standard is, as you appropriately pointed out, a collaboration of several editors, including me. The issue of fragmenting, as you call it, was not my input, but another editor's who assisted in copy editing the article. You can see that here. I thought it flowed better by drawing the reader in to continue through the article. It has not yet seemed to earn criticism from the time it was added over two years ago. I obviously still think it flows well.
Was this the edit you made as Jdlankin?
I am not a staff member and I am not paid for editing Wikipedia. I don't have complete control over the article. I don't overturn every edit to the article--sometimes other editors do, and other times the edits remain because slight changes are an improvement. There are some things in it however, such as the first edition points, that I don't understand why they're there and wish they would be removed. But other editors seemed to think it was a good idea to include them, and although I objected there they stay. --Moni3 (talk) 23:33, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Calpurnia Tate[edit]

It's astonishing that this article makes almost no mention of Calpurnia Tate, the Finches' housekeeper and a central moral force in the novel. The few references to her, as an illustration of "the entertaining methods used to drive the plot," and (outrageously) as "an updated version of the 'contented slave' motif," are almost worse than no mention at all. I can't offer anything but original research on the topic, but somebody with time and access to a good library can surely find some learned commentary on her role. I should think that particular attention should be paid to the way racial division affects Cal's relationship with the Finch family, and to the way in which her stern but loving upbringing of the Finch children (whose natural mother died when Scout was an infant and Jem a very small boy) both reinforces the Segregation code (e.g., she tells Scout that Jem is almost old enough to start being called "Mr. Jem") and transcends it. Jdcrutch (talk) 23:12, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi. I did what I could to get every source available on this book as I wrote the article. You'll note Claudia Johnson's comments that not a lot of scholarly analysis has been written about TKaM, but I did my absolute hardest to find it all. Calpurnia, unfortunately, is not a major focus of what has been written. There are some passages in this article I absolutely disagreed with, but neutrality and comprehensiveness demanded I include them. I'd be happy to discuss what the sources say about Calpurnia, but only what is cited by scholars can be included. --Moni3 (talk) 02:26, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

BBC documentary[edit]

In case my edit isn't accepted - there is a 1 hour BBC4 documentary with Andrew Smith called 'To Kill a Mockingbird Turns 50' available to view on the iPlayer for a week here [1]. I watched it last night - it has interviews with Harper Lee' sister (still practising law at 98!) and Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, among others. Thank you. (talk) 07:07, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Modern objections to the book (Challenges and Bans section)[edit]

The article states that starting at about the 1970s, people objected to the book on the grounds that "the treatment of racism in Maycomb was not condemned harshly enough". However, the block quote suggests that the objections were to the use of racist terms in the book. Could this be clarified somehow? Also, I feel that the Isaac Saney quote is kind of going off on a tangent, because it addresses the media reaction to challenges to the book, rather than addressing the challenges themselves. Augurar (talk) 04:25, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Right. The objections began in the 1970s that Lee, and by extension, Atticus, did not do more to condemn racism in Maycomb. By Lee's use of "nigger" as vernacular in the dialogue, that was evidence for some parents that it was promoting racism, or at least not exhibiting how unacceptable it is. --Moni3 (talk) 04:33, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
I think a sentence along the lines of what you just said in the article might be helpful to explain that further. When reading that section the first time, it was unclear to me. (It remains somewhat unclear to me still. Do people just object out of principle to any use of that word in any context, or do they think Lee should have altered the dialogue to be less realistic?) Augurar (talk) 20:52, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Isaac Saney was reacting to the pretty harsh media response to the Canadian cases in the 1990s. I think it's relevant and I don't quite understand what your objection is. Can you explain it more? --Moni3 (talk) 04:33, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
With regards to Isaac Saney, as you say, he's reacting to the media response. I don't see how that is relevant to the topic, because he's not criticizing the book itself or even rebutting a response to the criticism, but talking about another issue entirely (the media's objections to censorship in general). For me, this is about as useful as a quote saying, "On the other hand, some sources say that Isaac Saney is a doofus." Even though it might be a perfectly valid quote, it is irrelevant to the topic of the section, namely, challenges and bans of the book. He does imply that the book supports racism and/or fascism, but he doesn't elaborate on that claim in the quote, merely assumes it tacitly. Maybe you could choose a different quote from the same source that addresses the book itself, or at least discusses the arguments and not the arguers? Augurar (talk) 20:52, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

50th anniversary of publication[edit]

Today (11 July 2010) is the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. There have been a number of news articles about this event that may be worth reference in the article. Scott Simon's NPR interview with author James McBride may be especially worth reviewing regarding the continuing relevance of the book.
Simon, Scott (10 July 2010). "50 Years Later, 'Mockingbird' Remains Relevant". NPR Weekend Edition Saturday. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
--Dan Dassow (talk) 05:44, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

I added three paragraphs yesterday. Any more...and still, in danger of violating WP:Recentism. --Moni3 (talk) 12:31, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Quote in introduction[edit]

This quote needs to be amended in some way so that it won't confuse readers: "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."

The protagonist of the novel is clearly not Atticus, it is Scout. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobtheseventh (talkcontribs) 01:15, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

It does not need to be amended. It is a quote from a legal scholar who considers Atticus the protagonist. A novel does not need to have a single protagonist or even a major one. Other sources consider Scout the protagonist. Others still Jem. --Moni3 (talk) 01:26, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Even if this is true, there should still be a statement to some effect clarifying the quote. Atticus Finch may be considered a protagonist by some scholars (though the majority would say that Scout is the protagonist by the more deliberate definition of the word). To those reading the article for clarification, seeing the statement to the effect "Atticus Finch is the protagonist" is a misleading and unclear statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobtheseventh (talkcontribs) 01:38, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

How is it unclear? How do you know the majority of scholars consider Scout the protagonist? The majority of written material on the novel has been completed by legal experts, not literary analysts. In featured articles, no original research is allowed. All opinions and assertions must be cited to a reliable source. I have not found a source that is authoritative enough to state that Scout is the primary antagonist, or Atticus, or Jem. I have found individual essays that discuss Scout, Atticus, and Jem and their roles in the book, but no overarching source that states unequivocally that Scout is the protagonist. You're requesting something be inserted that does not exist, and in my experience researching the article, it is unverifiable. --Moni3 (talk) 01:51, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

If you haven't found any authoritative source to declare a protagonist, how can Atticus be declared as such? According the research I did on the book in college, the greater majority of scholars saw Scout as the main character/protagonist. I can understand why legal scholars would see Atticus as the primary protagonist, but that is obviously because that is how they're studying - with a focus on Atticus. All I'm saying is that, at the very least, some clarification is needed to demonstrate that Atticus isn't necessarily the protagonist. If you look at the definition of protagonist on wikipedia and look at the plot of the book, you might see where I'm coming from. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobtheseventh (talkcontribs) 02:00, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Can you see where I'm coming from? If you made this edit it is unsupportable. It is clearly not incorrect because a legal scholar states that he thinks Atticus is the protagonist. No authority I came across--and they're all cited in the References section--says Scout is the only or primary protagonist. If you know of one that discusses all or a good cross section of analysis about the book that you came across when you studied the novel, let me know and I'll be happy to check it out. The quote in question, One critic explains the novel's impact by writing, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism. makes it clear that a single critic is voicing his opinion about the novel's importance and Atticus' role in it. I understand what the definition of a protagonist is. I cannot create information that does not exist, however. I cannot cite something that has not been written. If it has not been written it cannot be included. --Moni3 (talk) 02:10, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

I did make that edit - I've never edited anything on wikipedia before, so I was unsure how to go about it. It was phrased badly and done wrong. However, if you're basing a representation of the novel on legal critics, then it will always be a flawed representation. Unfortunately, I don't have access to a library or an online repository right now, so I can't find a reliable (non-spark notes) source at the moment. I would say that the presentation of that quote as the only definition of protagonist presents a problem of understanding for anyone that comes upon this article. I'll see what I can do about finding you some literary sources and I would suggest (once they are tracked down) separating the legalese from the literary-ese (so to speak). A legal analysis of a great book like To Kill a Mockingbird hurts this English major's heart. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobtheseventh (talkcontribs) 02:19, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

It is possible to amend the lead slightly: it's already a long article and with the prolific information that has been printed about it recently the article cannot bloat too much. However, The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers, as a model of integrity for lawyers, and the novel receives more attention from legal experts than literary critics. One such expert asserts, "In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism." That emphasizes the fact that a legal expert makes the assertion that Atticus is the protagonist. I'm afraid if you're looking to change out the quote with something that says Scout is the protagonist...I haven't found anything that says she is above all other characters.
This book is unique in many ways. It's often disregarded as serious literature and it has been relatively ignored by academics compared to other 20th century novels with lesser impact. It's undeniable that legal writings put a lot of weight on the sum of all information written about it. I had to find a balance between what little has been published about Mockingbird by literary academics and the whole lot of stuff by legal experts. I'm not sure I can agree that representations of the novel by legal experts are flawed. They simply are what they are. As it has been mostly unexamined by literary scholars, well, I guess the folks who have the most sense to examine it and write about it get more credit than they might for another book.
Don't worry about mistakes in edits. I ignore every edit I made for the first 6 months I was here. I'll deny them all, whistling casually. But since this is a featured article, the standards have to be very high for all material included. --Moni3 (talk) 02:39, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

I understand perfectly! Thanks for letting me put in my two cents. I'll see what I can do for ya in the literary circle.Bobtheseventh (talk) 02:56, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Adding my two cents: not much to be found in the literary scholarship, but a surprising number of articles in legal journals. The best bet might be to have a look at the fairly newly released Student's encyclopedia of American literary characters, Volume 1 to see how the editors define the characters in TKAM. Clearly Scout is the narrator, as this article indicates. Without sources supporting otherwise, it has to remain as is per WP:V. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 15:01, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Mrs. Radley is not an absent parent.[edit]

This article states that Mrs. Radley died before "Boo" Radley was confined to the house. This is not correct. She doesn't die until Chapter 8 of the book. Boo was confined to the house well before Jem & Scout were born, yet when she dies, Jem & Scout think that "Boo" killed her. (talk)Deborah N. —Preceding undated comment added 15:01, 18 July 2010 (UTC).

So it is. You're right and I'm embarrassed, but I fixed it. Thanks. --Moni3 (talk) 15:18, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Pending changes fail[edit]

I did not think this was ever a good idea for this article, esp. in light of the massive amounts of anon IP vandalism it got before it was partially protected. It's probably not a stellar move for me to remove pending changes and replace partial protection since I'm fairly deeply involved in the article, so I'm going to leave that up to someone I hope has some sense. Note my objective statement there...

School's back in session. IP edits similar to what has been made over the past few days will not abate for another 10 months. --Moni3 (talk) 04:20, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

This wasn't working. I stuck this page on my watchlist a month or so ago due to the BBC special, and nothing actually useful has come in from PC, and a whole lot of nonsense. My name may be in the history some due to removing said nonsense, but I'm not involved here at all. Reapplied semi-protection, PC was nothing but a time-sink here, and Moni3's reasoning why this would continue to be the case is valid. If there's one thing we've learned from this trial, the more visible the page, the less good PC actually does. Courcelles 04:31, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

3rd paragraph needs examples and citations[edit]

The paragraph in question:

As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been subject to campaigns for removal from public classrooms, often challenged for its use of racial epithets. Scholars also note the black characters in the novel are not fully explored, and some black readers receive it ambivalently, although it has an often profound effect for many white readers.

  • Which scholars have noted...? (2nd sentence)
  • Where and when were "campaigns for removal" active?
  • Who has challenged the book for its use of racial epithets?
  • Which scholars "note the black characters in the novel are not fully explored"?

Also, the last part of the last sentence is controversial, filled with weasel words ("some black readers... many white readers") and is written in a manner that is impossible to verify - it should be attributed to a "scholar" who has made this assertion rather than stated as fact. ("and some black readers receive it ambivalently, although it has an often profound effect for many white readers.") —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xarian (talkcontribs) 19:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

The lead is a summary of the issues presented in the article. Your examples in bullets are discussed and cited in the body of the text. There are cited sections for the themes of class, courage and compassion, and gender roles. The scholars are named and cited. The Social commentary section addresses the campaigns to get the novel removed from classrooms, the disparate receptions for white and black readers, treatment of black characters, and the novel's impact on race relations. Please read the entire article. --Moni3 (talk) 19:58, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Just because something is cited later doesn't mean it doesn't need to be cited when it is first mentioned as well. If the references are already given, and you know from which sources you get the material, then it should be easy to add the superscripts.
If the source is not readily available as early as possible, you run the risk of people removing it as unsourced, and, by policy, they are technically correct. — trlkly 12:43, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
No, they're not correct in removing anything from the lead that is not cited, but is cited in the body of the article. See WP:LEAD. These are not quotes or statistics Xarian is requesting be cited. They are broad concepts that are discussed by multiple scholars and citing them in the lead would be quite ridiculous and wholly unnecessary. The lead summarizes the concepts in the article. The body is where everything is cited. --Moni3 (talk) 13:00, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Because I always lose this link[edit]

Challenged in Eden Valley, MN (1977) and temporarily banned due to words "damn" and "whore lady" used in the novel. Challenged in the Vernon Verona Sherill, NY School District (1980) as a "filthy, trashy novel." Challenged at the Warren, IN Township schools (1981) because the book does "psychological damage to the positive integration process" and "represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature." After unsuccessfully banning Lee's novel, three black parents resigned from the township human relations advisory council. Challenged in the Waukegan, IL School District (1984) because the novel uses the word "nigger." Challenged in the Kansas City, MO junior high schools (1985); Challenged at the Park Hill, MO Junior High School (1985) because the novel "contains profanity and racial slurs."; Retained on a supplemental eighth grade reading list in the Casa Grande, AZ Elementary School District (1985), despite the protests by black parents and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who charged the book was unfit for junior high use. Challenged at the Santa Cruz, CA Schools (1995) because of its racial themes; Removed from the Southwood High School Library in Caddo Parish, LA (1995) because the book's language and content were objectionable. Challenged at the Moss Point, MS School District (1996) because the novel contains a racial epithet; Banned from the Lindale, TX advanced placement English reading list (1996) because the book "conflicted with the values of the community." Challenged by a Glynn County, GA (2001) School Board member because of profanity. The novel was retained; Returned to the freshman reading list at Muskogee, OK High School (2001) despite complaints over the years from black students and parents about racial slurs in the text. Challenged in the Normal, IL Community High School's sophomore literature class (2003) as being degrading to African Americans. Challenged at the Stanford Middle School in Durham, NC (2004) because the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel uses the word "nigger." Challenged at the Brentwood, TN Middle School (2006) because the book contains “profanity” and “contains adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape, and incest.” The complainants also contend that the book’s use of racial slurs promotes “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.” Retained in the English curriculum by the Cherry Hill, NJ Board of Education (2007). A resident had objected to the novel’s depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression. The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it. Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “nigger."

Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century American Library Association Banned Books week September 28, 2010. --Moni3 (talk) 02:19, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 4 November 2010[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} The social note should include the correlation of the novels plot and the passing of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.

The significance of a convection by jury trial and not a simple lynching is imperative. An implied plot line of this great novel reflects the class split of hard working law abiding white citizens and poor blacks. The cocaine epidemic at this time was forced on blacks as whites moved on to more social "herbals of the time". A court conviction in the case would have made it easier for the prominent whites of the South to resist social change and the civil rights Acts which follow.

This novel could be seen as the begining of "The War on Drugs".

Fron the Harrison Tax Act Wiki Article: The drafters, of the Harrison narcotice Tax Act, played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs.[11][12] Dr. Hamilton Wright, testified at a hearing for the Harrison Act. Wright alleged that drugs made blacks uncontrollable, gave them superhuman powers and caused them to rebel against white authority. Dr. Christopher Koch of the State Pharmacy Board of Pennsylvania testified that "Most of the attacks upon the white women of the South are the direct result of a cocaine-crazed Negro brain".[2]

Before the Act was passed, on February 8, 1914 The New York Times published an article entitled "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are New Southern Menace:Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower-Class Blacks" by Edward Huntington Williams which reported that Southern sheriffs had increased the caliber of their weapons from .32 to .38 to bring down Negroes under the effect of cocaine.[2][5][7] (talk) 20:39, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

The first step in this consideration is a source linking To Kill a Mockingbird to, and I'm sorry but I don't quite understand what addition you're asking for: cocaine use? A link between jury trials and lynchings? the Harrison Tax Act? It's not clear. In what you provided, however, TKaM is not linked to this issues. --Moni3 (talk) 20:51, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Not done for now: Please phrase edit requests in the form of "Please change X to Y." I'm not clear what exactly you want adjusted here. Once you've done this, feel free to relist it. elektrikSHOOS 04:18, 6 November 2010 (UTC)


After being carried home, Jem realizes the mysterious man who helped them is Boo Radley.

Should read: After Jem was carried home, Scout realizes the mysterious man who helped them is Boo Radley.

Source: To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, chapter 28, pages 301-302 and chapter 29, page 310, Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition published 2006. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Twoaces79 (talkcontribs) 16:53, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree, with slight adjustments. --Moni3 (talk) 17:00, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

english speaking world[edit]

a rather broad generalisation that as the english-speakign world is much bigger, i dint find an adequate cite to encompass the "widely-read" statement in the lead.(Lihaas (talk) 13:18, 30 December 2010 (UTC)).

I am going to remove this tag again and assume you are not a native English speaker who grew up in a country where English is the first language, such as the U.S., Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. If you were, you would know how mind-bogglingly ridiculous this tag is. Seriously. The worst clarification tag I have ever seen on Wikipedia.
  • A 2008 survey of secondary books read by students between grades 9–12 in the U.S. indicates the novel is the most widely read book in these grades.[86]
You should note, if you read the article, discussion about the book being banned in schools in Canada. The source written by R. A. Dave, "Harper Lee's Tragic Vision" was published in Indian Studies in American Fiction. This cited source and this one about the book are published in Scotland. Sources I could not use for the length of the article discuss its impact in South Africa.
In no way is this a dubious fact. Per the WP:CITE policies, facts should be cited only when they are controversial. This is not controversial in ANY WAY. --Moni3 (talk) 14:29, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
Then lets have a section talking about its international use. If the lead says so then it should summarise the article and you indicate it does have an international impact beyond readership. Then we can add more sourced there.(Lihaas (talk) 18:28, 30 December 2010 (UTC)).
Let's not. Source material about TKaM is focused in three areas: legal commentary, literary analysis, and teaching guides for grades 8-12 and their age equivalents in other countries. For a work of fiction, the article focuses appropriately on the literary elements while also explaining the impact the book has had in education and law. You're proposing to create an entire section for an article that is already quite lengthy (but appropriately so) to justify what? That you don't believe it is taught widely in English speaking countries? I can't even imagine why you would question this. Would the section be written to satisfy your curiosity? The article already has a Reception section and more information about its impact is included in the Social commentary section. Have you actually read the article or just the lead? --Moni3 (talk) 20:08, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
No. Facts have to be cited. If someone challenges your assertion, it is by definition controversial, and you need a citation. If you don't provide it, then the information can and should be removed. Even a Good article requires all statements to be cited, and this is a Featured article.
Also, asserting that someone who disagrees with you and challenges something you've written must not have read the article or will never be satisfied by a proper source is not civil, and is probably part of the reason that some people are claiming you are violating WP:OWN. To avoid this, please treat everyone like they have the right to their opinion, and discuss rather than assert what goes in the article.
trlkly 13:30, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the tips here, trlkly. You were wrong about the citations in the lead the first time, and you're wrong about this one. It's already discussed and cited in the body article.
As for the tips on civility, do this: write an article, preferably one that the entire English-speaking world has some input about, take it to FAC going through that process, see it appear on the main page, and repeatedly respond to various editors who had no input in the construction of the article and have clearly not accessed the sources, telling them that their suggestions are not favorable in any way. Do this for three years. Then write 19 other FAs and do it for all those articles, too. You call this uncivil. I think being uncivil is calling you an assface. I'm no longer responding to the editors I've never seen post here who provide poor suggestions with some air of authority, by gently attempting to direct them to the best writing practices on Wikipedia. I'm rather mystified by where this authority comes from. Ask questions. Why did you write the article this way? Why not this? Pose your suggestions with "Have you considered this?" instead of "Do this! It is the only way!" Helpful tips for everyone. ---Moni3 (talk) 18:05, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from, 8 January 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}

Please correct "form poor white trash" to "from poor white trash" in the green text box to the right side of sub-section 5.2 Class. (talk) 04:37, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Oops. That was my typo. Thanks for catching it. Done. --Moni3 (talk) 05:04, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Citation Error[edit]

Reference number 87 contains a 'dead link.' I believe the article cited was this one:

I understand this is a minor issue, but could somebody please fix it? (I would do it myself, but I am not yet eligible to edit protected articles.) It's important to keep references up-to-date in order to maintain Wikipedia's credibility, I think. --Elliothooper (talk) 06:29, 1 May 2011 (UTC)


This phrase: "some black readers receive it ambivalently, although it has an often profound effect on many white readers" seems to me to be rather awkward, vague, and weasel-wordy. I suggest just removing it. There are better ways to speak of its impact and reception. QuizzicalBee (talk) 19:48, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Please provide a suggestion to replace it that summarizes the points made in the Social commentary section. I don't see an issue with the way it's worded. --Moni3 (talk) 21:35, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I will make suggestions. Currently the sentence has weasel words like "some" and "many" with no sources to back it up.

I also reverted Moni3's reversions of my changes, since my changes corrected several factual errors and awkward phrases, and it was not cool of you to mass revert ALL the changes without addressing ANYTHING that I changed, just saying it wasn't useful. That is a violation of wikipedia editing policies. Exactly what problems did you have besides simply not finding those changes to be useful? I will explain the details of those changes and my rationale

1) Truman Capote was called a "soon to be famous writer". That's an awkward description for a young child, as it sounds like he became famous only shortly after befriending Harper Lee and "soon" is also very vague.

2) the word "uninterrupted" is used to describe how Harper Lee wrote. That is a word that implies writing without stopping. It's more felicitous to say that she could write full-time.

3) The entry was plain wrong when it says that the narrator is 6 year old child Scout. The narrator is an adult speaking about events taking place when she was ages 6 through 8, and so I changed it to reflect that.

4) It said "Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt for the summer." That implies one summer, when actually they are friends over the course of three summers that are described, so I changed "the summer" to "each summer"

5) I added Boo Radley's full name.

6) It says "This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus' and Tom's points of view." this is not a really accurate description of the events. Scout starts talking to Mr. Cunningham and asking about his legal issues and mentions his son Walter. I changed it reflect what actually was described in the book.

7) The fact that Mayella was beaten was enormously important to the plot yet was not mentioned, so I mentioned it.

8) It is factually incorrect to say that Dolphus Raymond was married, when it specifically states that he wasn't married to the woman with whom he lived and had children with. Interracial marriage was illegal in Alabama at that time so I corrected this factual error. QuizzicalBee (talk) 00:53, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

This is a featured article, as can be seen at the top of this page. An extraordinary amount of work has gone into writing and honing this article, starting in 2007, which can be seen on the talk page, and it has furthermore gone through two FACs. As such, there is a certain level of consensus from several editors knowledgeable not only in Wikipedia, but literature and excellent articles, who have had a hand in shaping the way the article reads. It would be very helpful if you could bring your issues to the talk page before making changes to an FA, or at the least, follow WP:BRD, so that you can gain a perspective on why the issues in the article read the way they do. Reverting me--now I have to explain why I reverted when this could have been avoided if you merely asked why things are the way they are. After writing the article in a long process, it's tedious to have to do this frequently when editors are not aware of how any why the article was constructed.
  • "Some" and "many" is a non-issue, particularly for a lead that summarizes cited material from specific sources. These are not weasel words in this context. The lead is a summary and as such, can summarize, which is what "some" and "many" does.
  • "Soon-to-be-famous" and "uninterrupted" are issues of style, and frankly, there's no reason to change them. And "famous" and "highly respected" are interchangeable in an encyclopedia article where brevity is the same priority as accuracy and excellent writing. Drop words. As for "uninterrupted"...this word is completely fine and you are doing an excellent job grasping for straws with this one.
  • There is no reason to include Boo Radley's full name in the plot summary. There is no reason for the reader to know his full name. The plot summary should only explain the bare essentials of the novel, and highlight any issues that scholars and critics write about extensively.
  • The entry is not "plain wrong" (in bold, no less). Including tangential details that are covered in other sections, such as "who is ages six through eight during the events recounted in the novel" is ungainly and does not tell the reader anything about the plot. The plot summary must get across that the Scout is six when the novel begins. She is a child and most of the story is told through a child's eyes. That she is six, seven, then one needs to know this kind of detail in an encyclopedic plot summary. She is a child, six years old when the story begins. I sincerely hope you read the rest of the article, particularly the first paragraph of the Style section that discusses the divergent child/adult narration that Lee employed. The previous version read it as "The narrator, six-year-old Scout Finch...", getting that point across with brevity. If it takes as much wording to say that the narration is done both by Scout as an adult and as a child, that throws a wrench into very fine wording, making it stumble. I've changed this to get right to the point.
  • "This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus' and Tom's points of view" this change is very problematic. Atticus later states just as much as this sentence says ("Hmp. maybe we need a police force of children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute. That was enough." -- chapter 16, p. 179 in my copy) "making them conscious of the humanity of all involved" is such a general description that it does not describe anything, and it introduces analysis into the plot summary where it doesn't belong.
  • Similarly, there should be no implications included in the plot summary, only characters and action that takes place in the book. Implications of Mayella's abuse should be cited by a source, and this is done in the Gender section. A source should state how "enormously important" her alleged abuse is, and the plot summary is not the place to do this. Furthermore, we don't get to decide what is enormously important. Only the sources do this.
  • Similarly, "Interspersed with these descriptions of children's daily life, and recounted with a child's simplistic understanding, Scout explains" is interpretation of the events and is fully explained in the Style section, cited to reliable sources. It does not belong in the plot.
I've reverted the issues I've discussed above. I would appreciate a discussion instead of reverting if you still find problems with this. --Moni3 (talk) 21:15, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

My two cents: -"some black readers receive it ambivalently, although it has an often profound effect on many white readers" is just crappy wording. The same effect can be obtained with just one ambivalent modifier rather than two ("often" and "many"), to whit: "...although it often has a profound effect on white readers". -"Soon-to-be-famous" and "uninterrupted" are NOT issues of style but factually incorrect usages of those words. To claim that this is a valid stylistic choice should make any English teacher cringe. To defend them by saying that brevity supports their inclusion is a red herring, as accurate words take up no more space than inaccurate words. In general, based on the comments on this page and Moni3's condescending attitude to others, it seems like Moni3 has assumed an ownership of this article beyond what I've ever seen on Wikipedia before... (talk) 13:51, 19 July 2012 (UTC)RCC

No comment on the substance of your post at present, but since you mentioned incorrect usages . . . when you say "to whit", do you mean "to wit" or do you mean "To-whit! To-who!"? Rivertorch (talk) 22:38, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Nomination for deletion of Template:EditionPoints[edit]

Ambox warning pn.svgTemplate:EditionPoints has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for discussion page. Frietjes (talk) 21:07, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 23 March 2012[edit]

Please add the following text at the end of the "Biographical background and publication" section:

Harper Lee was awarded the 2005 inaugural ATTY Award by the Spector Gadon & Rosen, PC Foundation, for positive depictions of an attorney in a novel, film, play, or TV show. That award was inspired by the American Film Institute survey that attorney Atticus Finch, the central character in Harper Lee's heralded classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was considered the greatest hero in American cinematic history. Author Harper Lee accepted the 2005 inaugural ATTY Award “with deep gratitude.” “Since Atticus Finch is an attorney, we felt that his selection as the greatest hero of cinematic history was a significant moment in American cultural history for our profession,” said Paul R. Rosen, president of the Foundation, “and we seized on it as the building block of a tradition. Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel which became the Academy-Award-winning film, was the perfect choice for the inaugural award.” (talk) 12:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with a much shorter version of this info in this article, but this is too much about Atticus for this article. The Atticus Finch article may be a consideration. --Moni3 (talk) 15:37, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It would have to be considerably reduced in my opinion, before it could even be considered for inclusion. This does not belong to the article. I doubt that it has too much value elsewhere. Gareth Griffith-Jones (talk) 16:33, 23 March 2012 (UTC), on second look now that I can see the link (apologies--I responded with my phone previously), the sourcing website goes to a law firm, which I understand created the award. However, I want to avoid any potential conflicts of interest here, so I don't want to include this source to verify this fact because it may appear to be promotional material for this law firm. It's also self-published, which is deprecated at Wikipedia. We would need a verifiable source with 3rd party editorial oversight, like a newspaper or journal. --Moni3 (talk) 20:01, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Book Drum profile[edit]

I was disappointed to see that the External Link to the Book Drum profile of TKAM was swiftly deleted by Moni3 on the grounds that it was "unclear what this link adds to knowledge about the book". If that is true, why are so many US teachers using Book Drum's profile to inspire and inform students studying the book? The profile offers a page-by-page companion of pictures, maps and videos that illustrate the book far beyond anything that a single page on Wikipedia can do. You could of course look up catawba worms on Wikipedia, as well as "Oliver Optic,Victor Appleton and Edgar Rice Burroughs" and Nehi Cola. You could probably find a picture of a chiffarobe too. But most readers aren't going to bother. The beauty of Book Drum is that someone else has brought all these things together for the sole purpose of illustrating To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a fantastic educational tool, which definitely deserves a mention on this page. And if you think the Book Drum profile could be better, or needs correcting, you can add to it just like Wikipedia. So, Moni3, I invite you to take a closer look at the Book Drum profile and add it back in! Mat Teja (talk) 21:15, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Sounds rather like a sales promotion to me. Certainly can add nothing of value to this article. Gareth Griffith-Jones (talk) 21:21, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Mat Teja, what does the profile--the link you included--add to a reader's knowledge of the book? External links should provide something to readers that the article cannot or does not. See the criteria at WP:ELNO.
Furthermore, it appears as if the Book Drum site is user-generated, like Wikipedia. User-generated sources and external links are not allowed unless the site owner/writer is an authority in the subject. On first clicks it appears as if the review/summary at Book Drum was written by an 18-year-old. Is this the case?
If I'm mistaken, please clarify. --Moni3 (talk) 11:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, I didn't know about the bar on user-generated sites (which Book Drum is). I find that a bizarrely hypocritical rule given Wikipedia's very nature, but fine - if that's set in stone then I won't argue further.
As to the 18-year old, she created the original profile, but as you can see from the bookmark credits others have since added considerably to it, included a professional researcher.
What more does it add? So much more, as I tried to explain above. It's not just a summary - there are pages and pages of information about the book and its subjects here. Look at or for examples of how the names, plants, foods, songs and objects of TKAM are explained and illustrated for a modern audience.
I'll leave it at that. Thanks for engaging, Moni3. Mat Teja (talk) 18:26, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree it sounds rather silly to have a user-generated site like Wikipedia disallow other user-generated sites. However, it makes more sense to see it in the way that Wikipedia should be a collection of summarized published knowledge. The heart of Wikipedia's five pillars is verifiability. It's difficult to verify how accurate information is when folks add whatever they like (although this is still a rampant problem here). Using a user-generated site like or YouTube as a source just removes that by one degree.
At any rate, let me know if you have any more questions. --Moni3 (talk) 20:59, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
No, that's good, thanks. I appreciate your taking the time. Incidentally, I see you wrote the page on Tipping the Velvet. You really should check out the awesome Book Drum profile ( which Sarah Waters herself praised ( Does that count towards verifiability?? Keep up the good work Mat Teja (talk) 10:03, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Two cents here, external links in the article should "add to the knowledge of the subject", but adding a link at the bottom is also helpful for those who use the web to explore a topic. Who are we to judge an external link's pedigree as "knowledge". If the external site has a major interest in the subject, I don't believe anyone should delete it without cause to believe the site is malicious or dishonest. Let's go with a lighter finger on the trigger maybe? The point of Wiki is to widen our knowledge base, and bring it more to the control of people. A University press or mainstream newspaper is not the only source of knowledge. tx for your consideration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Billyshiverstick (talkcontribs) 00:11, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Not propaganda[edit]

And that's a surprise. That's what makes it lovable. At least not the kind of propaganda you'd expect. -- (talk) 09:31, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

mistake in article regarding architectural descriptions[edit]

Please delete the phrase "to describe the architecture of Maycomb's courthouse and".

This appears to be a mistake. In Chapter 16 Lee writes that "the Maycomb County courthouse was early Victorian [...] when seen from the north. From the other side, however, Greek revival columns clashed with a big nineteenth-century clock tower [...]".

In the middle of Chapter 15 Lee does describe the Maycomb jail as "a miniature Gothic joke" but this hardly seems to bolster an argument for which genre the book belongs to. (talk) 17:46, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't agree with deleting this phrase. Clearly Harper Lee called the courthouse Gothic as you pointed out. --Moni3 (talk) 20:55, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Not done: There doesn't seem to be consensus for this change. ~Adjwilley (talk) 23:46, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
No, Moni3, clearly Harper Lee did not call the courthouse Gothic, as pointed out above. Did you misread the request? (talk) 00:26, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Not done: as above Mdann52 (talk) 10:04, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
So this error is going to remain because nobody else but me can be bothered to look at the book, even after I've specifically pointed it out and included the direct quotations? (talk) 02:25, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Not done for now: Please keep in mind that we're all volunteers here, and there's no particular rush. I don't have a copy of the book handy but am happy to take a look when I do. Just to be clear: are you drawing a distinction between the jail and the courthouse? Are they separate buildings? (It's been years since I picked up the book, and I'm afraid that images from the film have overridden anything of what I might remember from the text.) Rivertorch (talk) 05:46, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the jail and the courthouse are separate buildings. The jail is described as "a miniature Gothic joke" but the term is not used in connection with the courthouse. (I suppose you'll need a searchable copy of the book to verify that. I did.) (talk) 22:51, 13 December 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2620:0:1000:2E00:BAAC:6FFF:FE94:B4B (talk)

If I can add a word - none of us should write anything into an article that we don't believe is vital, and true. If an informed editor feels the reference to the Gothic Courthouse or whatever is both innaccurate and uneccessary, I think it should be removed until proven correct, not put on the back burner until proven wrong. The article is too long, and has far better fish to fry than the architectural classification of buildings in the novel...Billyshiverstick (talk) 01:53, 18 July 2012 (UTC) cheers

text box colour - Wiki process - article ownership[edit]

Hi - small point, but the text box colour is too deep or intense to be easily legible. If you reduce the colour by 40-50%, it will still draw the eye, but support the text better. It is beyond me to affect the change as a demonstration, so I'll leave it to you.

I noticed some discussion which brought up the subject of major editors who "wrote" the article, exercising what I would say looks like "ownership syndrome" to me, which is discouraged by Wikipedia standards.

I feel this article is generally very well conceived and written, but there are some weak sentences and repeats etc., as in everything, and I would encourage you to step back and let people modify the work. It won't reflect your style as much, but it will be better. The phrase "time to let go" comes to mind. The article is pretty academic, and the general editors will friendly it down a bit, without harming the ideas and content.

My two cents, - you've done a great job, befitting a great book, now let the Wiki process take over. Billyshiverstick (talk) 00:05, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Small corrections[edit]

I made a number of small corrections to wording and punctuation such as changing "her father beat her badly" to "her father beat her." It crossed my mind when I read the first sentence that "he beat her badly" could mean he did a bad job of beating her. In any case, "beating" in this sense implies extensive injury. I got the message when I made the changes that this article is semi-protected. I don't have explicit permission to add changes but I am hoping that these will be accepted.Risssa (talk) 22:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)


The plot is wrong, the town drunk never testified — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:42, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Top Mystery Novel in 1995 list[edit]

The genre section does not mention that the Mystery Writers of America listed this book at #60 on their list of Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time published in 1995. Is this worth adding to the entry?

I am not in the group, and do not know why this wonderful novel was voted to position #60 on that list. Do others know why?

The list can be found in The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time#The U.S. list, at the Westport Connecticut library site[1], and listed on the blog Past Offences[2]

It is also in the printed editions of references listed in the references of The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.

  1. ^ "Top 100 Mysteries". 
  2. ^ "The CWA Top 100 | Past Offences". Retrieved 2012-09-25. 

Prairieplant (talk) 19:24, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

copyright and royalty fraud[edit] --Espoo (talk) 15:39, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I saw that this morning! Do you think it may come to nothing and we should wait per WP:RECENT or go ahead and give it a brief mention? If the latter, I suppose it needs to be handled rather carefully since there are BLP concerns. Rivertorch (talk) 17:44, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
It got significant play in the NYTimes as well. It's likely to prove durable. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 19:00, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request[edit]

"David Kipen of the National Endowment of the Arts, who supervised The Big Read, states..." This links to a page on a BBC survey called The Big Read. The program Kipen supervised should link to (talk) 15:51, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. Linking to the BBC's Big Read was certainly an error. We don't normally link to external organizations inline, and as this is a Featured Article I'm unwilling to break that rule, but I have corrected it to link to One City One Book#USA, which mentions the NEA's Big Read. --Stfg (talk) 16:46, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Who, exactly, is the protagonist?[edit]

In the second paragraph, the quote by the critic describes Atticus as the protagonist. However, in the wiki article on the TKAM characters, it says that Scout is the protagonist, which is also my thinking. What's the deal? Is there some disagreement on the subject? (talk) 18:16, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Never mind, I see that this topic has already been discussed back in 2010. (talk) 17:22, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Numerous recent edits to this featured article[edit]

I am very concerned about the many recent edits to this featured article written by one of our best editors.

Featured articles are considered to be the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia's editors. They are used by editors as examples for writing other articles. Before being listed here, articles are reviewed as featured article candidates for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style according to our featured article criteria.

I did revert some but not all of the edits. I had hoped to leave a few changes but they seem to be going on and on and I've had about enough. Unless the editor that makes changes in style has a few featured articles under his/her belt as well, I believe they should consider that "improving" this article left and right is not a good idea. Gandydancer (talk) 00:26, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

On 16 March 2014 I made a number of edits to the attached article; then on 17 March 2014 I made two more.
When I did so, I acted entirely in good faith and with the highest of intentions.  Specifically, I sought merely to correct inaccuracies in the facts and errors in grammar and composition, not merely matters of personal preference.  [There was truly a large number of such errors and inaccuracies.]
Further, I did so not as a newbie or as an untrained or uneducated person but rather as one with a handful of credentials and qualifications, including extensive practical experience.  First, I've taken part at the Wikipedia since 03 September 2008; I've written several articles and made positive and constructive improvements to many others.  Further, I've worked in writing, rewriting, ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading since 1953, and I've taught grammar, composition, and communication at the college level since 1977.  During those years I've earned degrees at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate levels.  You can feel sure that I know my stuff.
If anyone wishes to check some of my work, please go to my website, entitled Bluehounds and Redhounds.
On 13 April 2014 another user, Gandydancer, reverted most of my work in two steps, here and here.  Gandydancer did not discuss any specific point among his reversions; instead in an edit summary he categorically described my work as "very poorly written".
This afternoon, 17 April 2014, I started reinserting my corrections, carefully doing so step-by-step and writing informative explanations in the edit summaries.  [Unfortunately, the space limit on the edit summaries caused me to make many short edits rather than longer inclusive ones.]
Several hours ago, still on 17 April 2014, while I continued working, that same other user, Gandydancer, made a few more reversions in two more steps, here and here, again without discussing any specific point but by implying that my work is "needlessly tortured and scrambled".
What matters here is not what I think, not what Gandydancer or any other user thinks, not what the major contributor wrote in the plot summary in the first place, not who wrote it, not the background of that writer, and not whether the subject article is a featured article.
What matters here is whether the facts in the summary are correct, and whether the text in the summary is correct.  That includes the questions of whether the text complies with the accepted principles of grammar and composition, and whether it presents the material in a clear and understandable way.
If Gandydancer or any other user wishes to challenge any specific point in my work, please do so, but please do so point-by-point, and please do so by presenting clearly articulated explanations based on accepted professional standards rather than personal beliefs or feelings, not by hurling general insults, as did Gandydancer.  I invite your scrutiny – as long as you express yourself in a cordial and civilized manner.
If anyone shows by a persuasive argument that I've wandered from a correct path at any point, I'll gladly and cheerfully recant.
Meanwhile, best wishes to all, as always,
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 03:22, 18 April 2014 (UTC).
Please take a look at your March 16 edit summary in which you called your edits Agreement in case (objective case) between pronouns and antecedents; parallelism between two relative clauses; correct use of commas; correct form for singular possessive noun; tense sequence; other smoothing and polishing. Since you (correctly) pointed out that my edit note was not very clear, please note that your March 16 edits were clearly far more than smoothing and polishing. As for my snarkiness, I do apologize for that. I learned long ago to never edit when I am feeling angry, but I went right ahead and did just that, even though I know better. To me, it just seemed so arrogant that anyone would make so many changes in a featured article. Looking at your edit summaries reads to me like something that I might have seen on one of my high school English papers, not something I'd expect to find here for a feature class article written by a professional-level writer. I'll get back to this tomorrow as it's getting late here. I really do dread going through all of your changes edit by edit, but I'll do what ever needs to be done to restore the article to its previous wording where that is appropriate Gandydancer (talk) 04:51, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
This morning I see that you've already begun making unilateral reversions of my corrections to the article.
Further, your edit summaries fail to specify exactly why you object to my corrections; instead you use general expressions without explanations, using the expressions, for example, "unnecessary", "different", "did not improve", "best", "unneeded", and "not an improvement".
When you make such pronouncements without defending them, supporting them, and explaining them, your descriptions are merely expressions of your personal preference.  That reduces your part of this discussion to a matter of your saying just "yes, it is" or "no, it's not".
As I suggested last night, if you wish to challenge or contest any of my corrections, please do so by presenting clearly articulated explanations based on accepted professional standards rather than personal beliefs or feelings.
In my edit summaries of yesterday and last night, I briefly but carefully explained exactly why each of my corrections follows the established principles of grammar and composition, and why each one is a positive, helpful, and constructive improvement.
Again:  If you find any of my edits to be incorrect, inappropriate, destructive, or counterproductive, please give a clearly articulated explanation for your position on each point, just as I did in my edit summaries – not merely by saying in effect "no, it's not".
Another facet gives me concern:  During the 33 days since 16 March 2014, when I introduced my corrections, you still are the only person who has objected to my improvements.
That raises this:  If my corrections are bad or wrong or inappropriate, then why has nobody else stood up and spoken up?  Where are the other watchers?  Why has nobody else objected to my work?  If the article or at least the plot summary were previously as wonderful and untouchable as you seem to feel, then why has nobody else yet jumped up and started hollering about my work?
I respectfully recommend and request that you forbear from making any further immediate reversion.  Please wait – wait for the dust to settle – wait for several other interested users to offer their views – wait for a few others to share their wisdom and relevant experience with us – then let's proceed in a careful and measured way in compliance with accepted principles, not personal feelings.
As I mentioned last night, regardless of the identity of the writer of the original plot summary or the nature of the reputation or other accomplishments of that one, what matters here is whether the summary truthfully and accurately recites the events, and whether it presents that material in a correct, precise, and readable way, following the principles of grammar and composition.
Unfortunately, the previous form of the summary contains a large number of errors – both errors in the facts and errors in grammar and composition, despite its authorship and despite the reputation of that writer.
Should we allow those errors to continue to stand, merely because you or anyone else likes or respects the first writer, or should we correct those errors?
One might wonder how the article acquired the label of a "featured article" despite the surprisingly large number of errors, even in basic high-school grammar.
Many of the errors in the plot summary closely resemble the mistakes which I often see in the work of my college students.  [Several years ago I retired from full-time work, but I continue to serve part-time as an adjunct professor.]
Will one or more well qualified people please offer advice, comments, or suggestions – about the principles involved, not merely personal beliefs or feelings?
As always, best wishes to all,
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 16:39, 18 April 2014 (UTC).
Thank you for your response. I will reply as soon as I can find the time. Gandydancer (talk) 14:13, 19 April 2014 (UTC)
If any other user feels any interest in this matter, one might wish to see another relevant discussion on the talk page of Binksternet.
Best wishes to all,
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 18:38, 19 April 2014 (UTC).

Although DocRushing says "I sought merely to correct inaccuracies in the facts and errors in grammar and composition, not merely matters of personal preference", that is not at all what I found his edits to be. In fact, I found them to be primarily personal preference edits. I'll copy the March edits with the corrections in bold below:

Because Atticus does not want them (want them not) to be present at Tom Robinson's trial, Scout, Jem and Dill watch in secret ("in secret" deleted) from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers—Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk—are lying (have continued to lie). It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making (made) sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her and beat her. Despite significant (much credible) evidence of Tom's innocence, the jury convicts him. Jem's faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus' (Atticus's), when a hapless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.

The children feed each other's (one another's) imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. Following (After) two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving (leaves) them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection (fondness) to the children, but, to their disappointment, he never appears in person.

I reverted these two "corrections" for several reasons. In the first place, this section was written by an editor that has written numerous GA articles and this is a featured article that has remained quite stable since the author left WP in 2012. Also, although DocRushing states "there was truly a large number of such errors and inaccuracies", besides the knowledgeable editors that vet WP articles for FA and GA, thousands and thousands of Wikipedia readers have not found reason to make such a long list of changes either.

Looking at the changes, the "want them not" wording does not make any sense at all to me. "Secret" was deleted when in fact Atticus and his sister were not aware that the children were watching from the balcony and the housekeeper brought a note from Atticus's sister to court in which she says the children can't be found. The change of "are lying" to "have continued to lie", is IMO, a needless change which does not improve flow but rather quite the opposite. You changed "significant" to "much credible". I suppose that either one will do, but why the change? I prefer Moni's wording and I'm sure that there are some that would prefer your wording. Considering that Moni apparently preferred "significant", per WP guidelines a featured article should not see changes without good reason and there is none in this instance. You changed all of the "Atticus'" to "Atticus's", however that is your preference, not Moni's preference. Furthermore, the changes would have had to be made throughout the article to keep it consistent. I prefer your change of "each other's" to "one another's". I believe that you later explained your reason; if it really does go against some sort of carved-in-stone rule, fine--if not, it should be left alone. You changed "'Following" two summers" to "After" two summers. Once again, there is no good reason--it is just your preference You changed "is leaving" to "leaves"--I much prefer "is leaving" which I believe is equally correct. And finally, your change of "affection" to "fondness" is just one more example of what I see as an arrogant, authoritative position that you used in making your mostly unneeded March edits of this article.

Real life leaves little time for WP right now. I will post this for now and finish with a second response that will hopefully cover the rest of DocRushing's requests. Thank you for your patience. Gandydancer (talk) 00:53, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

To continue: DrRushing has asked: "If you find any of my edits to be incorrect, inappropriate, destructive, or counterproductive, please give a clearly articulated explanation for your position on each point, just as I did in my edit summaries – not merely by saying in effect "no, it's not"."

Looking at my April 18 edits, I deleted the copy, "in the southwest corner of Alabama, roughly between Mobile and Montgomery". To note that the town is the county seat is ample to give a reader a picture of the village, one need not know whether or not it is between Mobile and Montgomery since, unless one lives in Alabama, the reader most likely has no idea where Mobile and Montgomery are located. I sure don't, and even if they were linked I would not have any interest in that information. Considering that this is a plot summary of an entire book condensed to just a few short paragraphs, does one really need to know the exact location? Also, I note that this editor changed the word "Following" to "After" with the edit summary, In this context "after" and "following" are synonymous, but "after" contains fewer letters and fewer syllables, and brevity matters.

I reverted to Moni's wording, "The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo, and, for many years few have seen him.", as I do not believe that "The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo, and few have seen him in many years" is an improvement but merely a shuffle of words to please one editor over another.

I also returned (in bold) "Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability. This wording was deleted by an earlier editor, not DrRushing. It had stood out to me when I read the plot section (in an earlier version before it was removed) because it illustrated the fact that Atticus would not only be going through the motions of defending the black man, he would be doing it to the best of his ability, just as he would for anyone, black or white.

In this sentence, "Jem's arm is broken in the struggle, but amid the confusion someone comes to the children's rescue.", DrRushing added "left" arm. This edit summary suggested that Moni's wording implied that Jem had only one arm. This is silly because nobody is going to think that Jem has only one arm.

In this sentence, "Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife", DrRushing changed the word "story" to "interpretation". "Story" is the better term because the sheriff knew full well that Ewell did not fall on his knife--it was a "story" that he made up to avoid killing a mockingbird. This is important because it goes right to the heart of the book. IMO, anyone that misses this, misses the most basic meaning of the book.

In this sentence, "Boo asks Scout to walk him home, so she does; after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again.", so she does was added with an edit summary: "So she does" fills a blank; Boo asks Scout to walk him, SO SHE DOES. A comma and "she" increases clarity and avoids a potential ambiguity. The proper tense sequence requires here the present perfect (rather than past) tense. Sorry, there is no blank or ambiguity that needed fixing. Furthermore, "so she does" sounds quite odd. Like so many of DrRushing's edits, this is just one more example of what he likes or does not like. While he expresses shock at how bad the article was before he came along, he refuses to accept the possibility that his edits, for the most part, are an attempt to change Moni's style to his own. Incidently, I spoke earlier of the edit regarding the use of "each other" and "one another". I looked it up and found the following:

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.) says the distinction between the two “is often ignored without causing confusion and should be regarded more as a stylistic preference than a norm of Standard English.”

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, says “each other” means “each of two or more in reciprocal action or relation.” And “one another,” the dictionary says, means “each other.”

In short, this is an issue of style rather than correctness. There’s no harm in following that “traditional” rule if you like, but there’s no harm in ignoring it either. [2]

I'm sure I left a few things out. As time permits (today) I will again read DrRushing's post and answer any further questions that he has. Gandydancer (talk) 15:37, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

I have found time to again go through the requests and I seem to have covered them all other than the question "If the article or at least the plot summary were previously as wonderful and untouchable as you seem to feel, then why has nobody else yet jumped up and started hollering about my work?". Well, obviously I don't agree that I've been jumping up and hollering, nor do I believe that the previous wording was so perfect that it was untouchable. As to why some other editor has not objected, it is not at all surprising. Many times I have later come to realize that an article on my watch list has had gross "improvements" that I somehow missed at the time they were made. Gandydancer (talk) 22:46, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Within a reasonable time I'll make a full response, including complete answers and explanations for your questions and concerns.
However, this week I must wind up one term at school and prepare for a new term next week.
Further, I must look after several personal matters, including the terminal illness of one of my sons.
Still, though, I'll write again after several more days.
Thanks for your patience.
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 00:59, 24 April 2014 (UTC).
Sure, please take your time. I will make no further edits till you have found the time to continue with the discussion. However, considering that you felt it important to pull my request for help from another editor to the notice of this talk page and will not be able to post for some time, I would like to discuss my post at Bink's talk page. At his talk page you changed my heading from "Help please", the very same way I head all of my (frequent) help requested posts, to "Help, please!!!". And to my amazement, you saw nothing at all wrong with your edit and treated it as merely a matter of personal choice. This action on your part suggests to me that you are completely unaware of, or just choose to ignore, Wikipedia's clearly established talk page guidelines that state that no editor should edit the words of another editor. This is so basic that it does suggest to me that you may not also be familiar with Wikipedia's guidelines that state that extra caution should be used when changing the copy of a GA and even more so an FA, or just choose to ignore them.
Although you state that "Gandydancer has chosen to react in such an emotional and immature way", I believe that I am editing in a manner that Wikipedia guidelines have carefully written to attempt to both improve Wikipedia and insure that articles of good and excellent quality are not hacked to death by well meaning editors that, for instance, question how this article was promoted to an FA article "despite the surprisingly large number of errors, even in basic high-school grammar". I'm far from a grammar expert, but I do find it very hard to believe that of the thousands and thousands of people that have read this article you are the only one to find around 50 (not an exact count) errors in just one section, the plot section. Gandydancer (talk) 18:51, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
This afternoon (Saturday), after a full and busy week, I began my next comments about my changes to the article.
I've made much progress.
Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll continue.
Soon I'll finish them and post them.
Thanks again for your patience.
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 02:29, 4 May 2014 (UTC).
After another busy work at school I've finished writing my response to your complaints about my work and objections to it.
Next I'll add some links to my answer and otherwise wikify it.
Very soon I'll publish it.
Thanks again for your patience.
I see that you've contacted yet another user, Eric Corbett, again seeking help or support in your campaign against me and my changes to the article.
Since then Eric has read the article and has made a number of his own changes to it; however, most of his edits lie in the sections other than the plot summary, where I did my work.
He made just a small handful of edits to the plot summary, including only three reversions of the changes which I had made to it.
Eric also restored the essence (“one of Jem’s arms”) of one my edits (“Jem’s left arm”), of which you've made much fun, and for which you've made fun of me.
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 20:41, 10 May 2014 (UTC).
I just want to make it clear that I've got no dog in this race, and I'm certainly not part of any campaign for or against anyone. Eric Corbett 22:51, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Eric:  Roger.  I understand.  Thanks.  Doc – DocRushing (talk) 23:27, 10 May 2014 (UTC).

A response to Gandydancer's complaints and objections[edit]

Gandydancer and others:

After two busy weeks of a new term at school, I feel pleased to return to this discussion about my recent edits to the subject novel.

Bink has pointed out to me that Gandydancer is a woman rather than a man.

Of course, I regret my mistake, and I hope that neither Dancer nor anyone else has felt offended by that; if so, I’m sorry.

While literal gandy dancers still existed and still did the work of gandy dancing, those people uniformly were muscular men (because of the harsh physical demands of the nature of the work and the surroundings) – as seen in an image of a railway work site on Gandydancer’s user page – so, yes, I naïvely assumed that that user also is a man.  Everyone is imperfect, and I make at least my fair share of mistakes.

By the way, Binksternet tells us on his user page that Bink is one of his nicknames in real life, so I take the liberty – appropriately, I think – to refer to him that way.

While I compose this response, I shall strictly keep it on an objective and unemotional plane and express it in a polite and respectful way, and I shall carefully avoid making negative personal comments or implications about anyone involved.  [However, I shall relate some of the behavior of four other users (without commenting on any of the people themselves).]

Now let’s turn to the matter at hand:

Early this year I became interested again in TKaM, after first reading the book and watching the derivative movie (both in 1971).

While reading the book again I read also the articles at the Wikipedia about both the book and the flick.  I concentrated on the page about the book, and I saw a number of points in the plot summary in need of improvement – several inaccuracies in the statements of fact, several errors in grammar, several mistakes in terminology, several word choices in need of tweaking, and several instances in need of increase in clarity and precision – despite the prior authorship of the article and despite the label (FA) attached to it.

As a person who has long worked as a writer, rewriter, ghostwriter, editor, and proofreader in real life (since 1953), as a professor who has taught grammar, composition, and communication at the college level (since 1977), as a user who has taken part at the Wikipedia (since 2008), and as one who created, owns, and continues to maintain and expand his own website, entitled Bluehounds and Redhounds (since 2010), I felt (and still feel) well qualified, by both formal training and practical experience, to make the requisite edits.

On 14 February 2014 I made a few changes to the first two paragraphs of the plot summary; on 16 and 17 March 2014 I returned to the article and made a larger number of edits.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I acted entirely in good faith and with the highest of intentions.

Then, on 13 April 2014, Gandydancer started reverting much or most of my work.  At first she did not discuss any specific point among her reversions; instead in an edit summary she categorically described my work as “very poorly written”; later she described it as “needlessly tortured and scrambled”.

On 17 and 18 April 2014, wanting to restore my improvements without directly challenging Dancer or engaging her in a contest, I made a series of small edits, using descriptive and explanatory edit summaries, trying to make it easy for her to follow, recognize, and understand the reasons for my changes.  Whenever I ran out of space for an edit summary, then I posted that item and started the next one.  That’s why I made a large number of small edits (rather than a small number of large edits).

Unfortunately, even then Dancer did not see the picture about the correctness of my changes; instead she continued carping and grumbling.

It’s helpful to pause here and to consider a significant circumstance:  On 18 April 2014, while seeking support or agreement from Binksternet, Gandydancer admitted, “I don’t write very well myself”, and, commenting on one particular point, she further said, “[T]his is just a guess, but I would guess” something about composition.  On 24 April 2014 she described herself as “far from a grammar expert”.  Further, Dancer truly reveals in her postings on talk pages that she really does not write well, for she fairly often makes mistakes in both spelling and grammar.

However, that’s OK; it’s OK for Dancer or anyone else to do something less than well; it’s not a sin or other mistake to do so; that’s OK.

Still, though, Dancer is not in a good position to sit in judgment on anyone else’s work in an area where she herself has not mastered the skills involved, and she’s not in a good position to recognize whether certain points of grammar and composition are right, helpful, constructive, or productive; more specifically, it’s not OK for her to label anyone else’s work as “very poorly written”, and it’s not OK for her to hassle or criticize anyone else who knows his stuff and does his work well.  It’s also not OK for Dancer to try to win a contest or argument by throwing verbal spitballs – that is, by calling the other person a “perfectionist” who engages in “arrogant” behavior (instead of discussing the subject matter at hand).

It’s helpful also to note that Dancer, while chatting on Bink’s talk page, conceded that my changes “may … be technically correct”, and that she had begun to “fight a losing battle”; she’s also said that my work had “struck a nerve” with her, that she’s “had about enough”, and that she had begun “to get angry”, thereby emphasizing that her gripes are emotional ones about the fact of change rather than unemotional ones about the correctness and precision of the changes themselves.

Further, it’s useful to recognize that Dancer began her objections to my work – not by claiming that my edits were incorrect – but rather by complaining about what she called my “arrogance” for having dared to change – to make many changes – to a featured article – one by Moni, she said, as though her work were untouchable.  For example, on 18 April 2014, when she contacted me directly on my talk page, she did not challenge the accuracy or correctness of my changes; instead she asked me whether I “should be making so many changes to a featured article”.

In response to Dancer’s attempt to enlist Bink on her side, Bink advised her to “step away”.  He told her that my changes are “largely for the better”.  He changed the spaced en dashes to unspaced em dashes, but he stated that he “otherwise [does not] have any adverse reaction to the grammar improvements”.  He specifically wrote that he does not “see any harm done by [my] grammar improvements. He further commented that the article previously was “not [of] such high quality as the FA label would suggest”.

Bink expressly advised Dancer to “step away”, but she failed and refused to accept his advice.  On 24 April 2014, after compiling and publishing a partial list of some of her objections to my edits, Dancer again contacted Bink, chided him somewhat, and expressed her surprise and displeasure about what he had written about my work.

On the 24th, in response to Dancer’s list, I assured her that I would make a full response as soon as my circumstances and other responsibilities allow.

To the credit of Dancer, she promptly acknowledged my note, and she said that she would not make any further edit until I take my next turn (which is, of course, this time). I truly appreciate her patience.

In a note on the 18th, after Dancer protested again that “it just seemed so arrogant that anyone would make so many changes in a featured article”, she made a revealing observation:  She said that my edit summaries resemble what she “might have seen on one of [her] high-school English papers”.

She’s undoubtedly right, and there’s a reason for that.  My edit summaries, explaining my improvements in the accuracy of the facts, in the errors in grammar, and in the clarity and precision – my edit summaries do indeed resemble the explanations which I might have placed on the term papers or exam papers of my students at the college level.  [Among my present course assignments are both freshman composition and remedial English.]

On 10 May 2014 Dancer contacted another user, Eric Corbett, seeking to enlist his help, support, or agreement in her campaign against me and my changes to the article.  She complained to him, as she had previously complained to Bink, merely that I had dared to change Moni’s untouchable plot summary, not that my edits are incorrect.

Since then Eric has read the article and has made a number of his own changes to it; however, most of his edits lie in the sections other than the plot summary, where I did my work.

He made just a small handful of edits to the plot summary, including only three reversions of the changes which I had made to it.

Eric also restored the essence (“one of Jem’s arms”) of one my edits (“Jem’s left arm”), of which Dancer has made much fun, and for which she has made fun of me.

Dancer has accused me of making changes to suit my “personal preferences”.

Well, she’s partly right; yes, I do indeed have and use certain preferences, albeit not personal ones.  When I write a piece, rewrite one, ghostwrite one, or edit one, I prefer to strive for a high level of readable, understandable, polished prose, making accurate statements, using correct terminology and precise words and phrases, and following generally and historically accepted principles of grammar and composition.

That means in part that my written work, which is mostly expository nonfiction, is typically on a higher plane than everyday colloquial spoken language, which most often is careless, unguarded, and spontaneous.

Now let’s turn to the specific details of the individual changes, starting at the top:

  • “The story takes place during three years (1933-35) of the Great Depression”.  Previously the text referred to “the main story”, and it failed to specify which particular three years.  The adjective “main” was superfluous, because the entire novel takes place during that time, so I deleted it.  Further, I supplied the specific years, 1933-35, which no previous user had inserted.  Details make differences.
  • After “Maycomb, Alabama,” I added “the seat of Maycomb County”.  That helps to set the scene, implying the reason for which Sheriff Tate, the chief law-enforcement officer of the county (not the town), lives and works in Maycomb, along with the reason for which the courthouse stands in Maycomb, and for which Judge Taylor conducts the business of his court in Maycomb.  Also I added a couple of details about the location of Maycomb, “in the southwest corner of Alabama, roughly between Mobile and Montgomery”.  Dancer has objected to that geographic information, saying that she does not know where Mobile and Montgomery are, and that she feels no interest in such details.  Well, it’s OK for her not to care about details, but many other readers do care about details, because those facts add to the picture, and they allow readers to form a better understanding of the setting, near Mississippi and near Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  Those details even allow readers to understand that, when Atticus, a member of the state legislature, drives to and from Montgomery, the state capital, he drives about 100 miles each way.  [By the way, in a humorous or whimsical touch, the fictional Maycomb is the seat of Maycomb County, just as Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee’s own hometown, is the seat of Monroe County.]
  • “Her older brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer”:  Previously the text omitted the commas before and after “Jem” and the one before “Atticus”.  Here “Jem” and “Atticus” are nonrestrictive appositives, not restrictive ones, so they need commas to set off each of them.  I inserted the required punctuation, following one of the basic principles of high-school grammar.
  • “To stay with an aunt each summer”:  Rachel may or may not be Dill’s only aunt; likely she’s not the only one.  However, “his aunt” implies that Rachel is Dill’s only aunt.  On the other hand, to avoid the assumption that she is the only one, I changed “his aunt” to “an aunt” (that is, one aunt among likely or possibly others).
  • “The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, a neighbor, the reclusive “Boo” Radley”:  Previously the text referred to Boo as “their” neighbor, which implies that he is their only neighbor.  The novel makes clear that Boo is not even remotely their only neighbor, and that he is “a” neighbor among others.  The careless speech of careless speakers is not precise enough for an article in an encyclopedia.
  • “The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo, and few have seen him in many years”:  Previously the text lacked a required comma, and it contained a nonparallelism.  I supplied the required comma to separate two independent clauses from each other, and I made those two clauses parallel in structure to each other.  Fixing that problem includes moving the adverbial prepositional phrase to the end of the second clause.  While doing so I changed “for many years” to “in many years” because, as Web11 confirms, the preposition in is a more precise function word to indicate an inclusion of a concept within specified limits, including time limits, whereas for lacks such a connotation.  [By the way, Web11 is an abbreviation for the 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, which serves as the standard reference dictionary throughout the entire publishing industry in the USA.]
  • “The children feed one another’s imagination”:  Three children, not two – Scout, Jem, and Dill – are involved here, so I changed “each other” to “one another”.  Dancer has objected to that, quoting and relying on entries in the American Heritage Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary.  It’s helpful to recognize that dictionaries are descriptive rather than prescriptive; that is, they describe how the members of the general population do speak and write, but they do not prescribe how we should speak and write.  Our dictionaries report how we actually do speak and write in our everyday activities, right or wrong, while our grammar books tell us how we can speak and write better and well and correctly by following the accepted and time-honored principles of grammar and composition.  The dictionaries report that many people no longer recognize many of the details in our native language – through the dumbing down of the educational process and the resultant dumbing down of a part of our population.  Many careless speakers and writers no longer understand the difference between “who” and “whom”, between “can” and “may”, between “will” and “shall”, between “its” and it’s”, between “your” and “you’re”, between “who’s” and “whose”, between “take” and “bring”, between “than” and “then”, between “advice” and “advise”, between “accept” and “except”, between “forward” and “foreword”, between “principal” and “principle”, among “their”, “there”, and “they’re”, among “cite”, “site”, and “sight”, between “between” and “among” – and between “each other” and “one another”.  Many years ago people understood – certainly educated speakers and writers understood – the difference between “each other” and “one another”.  Even while I was in grade school and high school, our textbooks and teachers told us, and we students learned, remembered, and accepted without question that “each other” refers to two items, and that “one another” refers to three or more items.  So what if many people no longer honor that difference?  We at the Wikipedia, along with all other writers, can make a choice between an unquestionably correct form and a relatively recently legitimated bastard application previously regarded as wrongly used.  Since we can easily choose the undeniably historically correct form, why should we not retain the right form?  Let’s do it the right way.
  • “After two summers of friendship”:  According to Web11, after has a stronger time sense than does following.  The latter word first appeared in print as an alternative to after in 1926, which, in the history of our language, is recent.  There’s also one other good reason to choose after over following in this context.  The fog index, known also as the Gunning fog index, quantifies the readability of a piece of writing by taking into consideration the lengths of the words and the sentences.  Although that index is limited in its application, and although it has aroused several objections, it does at least make the point that, generally speaking, in the absence of a persuasive reason to do otherwise, shorter words are better than longer words – that a writer would do well to choose a shorter word over a longer word (as long as the two words are synonyms of each other).  [While I worked on my master’s degree, I came under the influence of a giant among writers and writing professors (who happened to be a woman with a PhD degree); from her I learned how to use the fog index and much more, greatly to my benefit.  She’s still one of my heroines, one of the largest and most significant influences on my work and career.]
  • “Someone leaves them small gifts”:  “Is leaving” is a progressive form of the verb, which adds a progressive facet and thereby implies a continuous action; on the other hand “leaves” is a simple form, which indicates a repeated or habitual action.  Boo’s leaving trinkets is an occasionally repeated action, not a continuous one, so it’s correct and appropriate to say that someone “leaves them small gifts”.
  • “Several times the mysterious Boo makes gestures”:  In the previous text the comma after “several times” was superfluous; it did not serve a useful purpose or meet a requirement, so I removed it.  “Several times” is an idiomatic expression standing in the place of a longer prepositional phrase, “on several occasions”.  Thus “several times” has an adverbial function, which does not call for a following comma.
  • “Boo makes gestures of fondness to the children”:  Through fondness or affection?  Which one?  Although fondness and affection are synonymous, as is love, fondness is less intense than affection, just as affection is less intense than love, and fondness seems to be what Boo feels and shows toward Scout and Jem.  For example, if two cousins are not extremely close to each other, one of them, while closing a note or letter to the other, does not feel free to write “love” or even “affectionately” but may well feel comfortable about writing “fondly” instead.  This is a question of a degree of feeling or emotion, and the text of the novel appears to describe fondness (on the part of Boo) rather than affection.
  • “He never appears in person”:  No rule or principle of grammar calls for the repetition of Boo as the subject of the second of the two independent clauses; however, purely as a matter of judgment, the modified verb never appears is so far removed from the first naming of Boo that it seems wise and helpful to insert the pronoun he, which clearly refers to the antecedent Boo.
  • “Judge Taylor appoints Atticus”:  Previously the text said, “Atticus is appointed by the court”.  Here the active voice is strongly preferable to the passive voice.  Besides, since we know which judge sits on the bench in that court, let’s use his name.  A strong majority of style books, grammar books, and composition handbooks advise against the use of the passive voice, and a strong majority of professional writers and editors follow that advice.  Strunk and White, for example, tell us, “The habitual use of the active voice … makes for forcible writing”.  The generally accepted principle is that we should use the active voice rather than the passive voice unless there is a good and persuasive reason to use the passive voice instead.  There are certain limited situations where the passive voice is appropriate, but this is not one of those.  Yes, I know well that “everyone” uses the passive voice “all the time” in careless, unguarded, spontaneous speech; however, an article at the Wikipedia is not a casual, everyday, informal, ordinary conversation, using vernacular or colloquial language patterns.  The reason for the favor of the active voice over the passive voice is that the latter lacks – in the words of several of the standard reference books – the passive voice lacks force, strength, vigor, clarity, brevity, directness, simplicity, emphasis, precision, liveliness, and forthrightness.  Theodore Bernstein, a long-time and highly respected adjunct professor at the postgraduate level at Columbia University, invites us, in The Careful Writer, to compare “a good time was had by all” with “everyone had a good time” and to compare “our seas have been plundered by him” with “he has plundered our seas”.  With all that in mind I changed from the passive voice to the active voice.
  • “Atticus faces a group of men”:  Previously the text used the prefatory prepositional phrase “for his part” in that sentence.  However, that expression does not here serve a useful purpose, and it’s trite and pointless, so I scratched it.
  • “Atticus wants them not to be present”:  Previously the text said, “Atticus does not want them to be present”.  This matter is probably, among the general populace of those who usually do not bother themselves with the fine points of grammar and composition, the most controversial and the least understood of my edits to the plot summary.  Nonetheless the difference remains despite what anyone may like or dislike.  Those two expressions – “does not want them to be present” and “wants them not to be present” – do not convey exactly the same thought.  The previous words stated that Atticus does not want them to be present; they indicate merely a lack of a want.  However, those words do not express an opposition to their presence, whereas Atticus does indeed oppose their presence.  There lies the problem with the previous wording.  For that reason I changed the text to describe Atticus’s opposition, saying, “Atticus wants them not to be present”, because, according to the text of the novel, that’s how Atticus feels.  Yes, I know, “everybody” says it the other way “all the time”; however, an article at the Wikipedia is not a casual, everyday, informal, ordinary conversation, using vernacular or colloquial speech patterns.  Quite to the contrary, an article at the Wikipedia should use precise, carefully chosen words put together correctly and polished to a high degree of professionalism – or at least that’s supposed to be the ideal for which we strive.  Dancer says that that difference “does not make any sense at all” to her, and she refers to my wording as “needlessly tortured and scrambled”.  I regret that Dancer does not understand (or at least in the past has not understood) the logic involved in that.  However, if she does not understand such matters, then I suggest that she ought to proceed cautiously while quibbling or quarreling about what she does not understand.  This matter, reduced to its simplest terms, is really a question about a misplaced modifier; previously the negative adverb not modifies the wanting, whereas not should instead modify the attending.  That is, Atticus positively wants the kids not to attend; therefore the correct expression is “Atticus wants them not to be present”.  By the way, in case this point attracts too much negative attention, or if too many other users find it too difficult for them, another good alternative is to say, “Atticus prefers that they not attend the trial”, which conveys essentially the same thought as “Atticus wants them not to be present at the trial”.  Maybe later I’ll return and recast it that way.
  • “The trial of Tom”:  Previously the text referred to “Tom Robinson’s trial”.  This is not a major point, but the terminology is somewhat off the mark.  The use of the possessive form implied possessiveness in one way or another, but the trial is not his; the trial belongs not to Tom but rather to the state and the people of Alabama.  On the other hand, one useful and fitting way is to describe the event as “the trial of Tom”.  “Tom’s trial” is not an idiomatic combination, but “the trial of Tom” is.  The difference here lies in the shades of meaning, but those shades of meaning provide a difference between a questionable expression and an expression right on the mark.  According to one old pithy albeit ungrammatical saying, “Close don’t count except in horseshoes and hand grenades”.
  • “Scout, Jem, and Dill watch from the colored balcony”:  Previously the text declared, “Scout, Jem, and Dill watch in secret from the colored balcony”.  There’s nothing even slightly “secret” about the presence of the three kids in the balcony; that is, there’s nothing covert, clandestine, or obscure.  The kids sit in the balcony because, when they arrive at the courthouse, neither a seat nor standing room is available on the main floor, so the preacher kindly invites them to go with him to the balcony, and the other colored folk generously give them seats with the preacher.  The kids are in plain view, so Atticus looks up and promptly sees them there as soon as B.B. Underwood, the newspaperman, points them out to him (after Calpurnia arrives with the note from Alexandra).  Atticus and Alexandra have not known their whereabouts, but that lack of knowledge is not a result of anything even slightly secretive.  That’s why I removed the words “in secret”.  I also inserted a serial comma after “Jem”.
  • “Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, have continued to lie”:  Previously the text said that they “are lying”.  Let’s look at the words “are lying”.  That’s an instance of the progressive form of the present tense of the verb, which indicates that the lying takes place at the moment in question – that is, while Bob and Mayella in turn give their respective testimonies on the witness stand.  However, as the text of the novel describes, Atticus establishes not only that Bob and Mayella lie on the stand, but also that they have lied repeatedly, starting on the evening of the event in question, so I changed “are lying” to “have continued to lie”.
  • “Mayella made sexual advances toward Tom”:  Previously the text said that she “was making” advances, and that she did so “towards” Tom.  Again we have a problem with the progressive form of a verb.  Mayella did not make a continuous action; instead she made isolated advances to Tom that one afternoon.  Further, according to Web11, towards is a secondary acceptable alternative, whereas toward is the primary preferable word in the USA.  So I made those two improvements in the same sentence.  [Toward is more common in American English, and towards is more common in British English; this is an American article on an American subject, so toward seems more appropriate.]  I also inserted not only a missing required comma after Tom, to separate two dependent clauses from each other, but also a repeated “that” to enhance clarity at the start of the second dependent clause.
  • “Despite much credible evidence of Tom’s innocence”:  Previously the text described the evidence at trial as “significant”.  That adjective is not a bad one, but it includes a connotation of a predictability of an outcome or a numerical, statistical, or other mathematical sense.  However, another adjective, credible, goes to the heart of what a defense lawyer seeks to present to a jury; credible speaks of the believability of what Atticus places before the jury in an attempt to persuade the jury that the prosecutor has failed to sustain his burden of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”.  Credibility, rather than significance, lies at the crux of the task of Atticus or any other defense lawyer.  What matters here is what a defense lawyer seeks to persuade the jury to believe or disbelieve.  Another problem remains:  The sentence in question still does not quite ring true, so I may yet return and work on it a bit more; it misses the point of the nature of Atticus’s task and function.  The chore or duty of a defendant or a defense lawyer is not to prove the innocence of the defendant but rather to disprove guilt; that is, the task is to seek to persuade a jury that the prosecutor has failed to sustain the burden of proof of guilt by the required measure (in a criminal case, “beyond reasonable doubt”).
  • “Jem’s faith in justice becomes badly shaken”:  Previously the text said that his faith in justice “is” badly shaken.  “Is shaken” expresses that thought in the passive voice, using the linking verb “is” plus the past participle “shaken”.  As I explained at length above in connection with an earlier edit, a strong majority of style books, grammar books, and composition handbooks advise against the use of the passive voice, and a strong majority of professional writers and editors follow that advice.  The generally accepted principle is that we should use the active voice rather than the passive voice unless there is a good and persuasive reason to use the passive voice instead.  For that reason I changed from the passive voice to the active voice.
  • “Atticus expresses deep regret”:  No, the verdict of “guilty” does not shake Atticus’s faith in justice.  Many preceding passages in the novel make it obvious that Atticus fully expects that verdict, and that he accepts and understands how the segregated society works in Alabama in 1935, although he does not approve it or agree with it.  Atticus already felt displeasure with the injustice in this case, so his faith does not suddenly become shaken.  In chapter 22, when Atticus comforts and encourages Jem at home, the father further makes clear that he quietly accepts the fact of the way things are, despite his efforts to the contrary, and that he has not lost his faith.  For that reason I wrote instead, “Atticus expresses deep regret”.  Dancer has challenged me to “present a source for this change”.  Well, the source, undeniably a reliable and unimpeachable source, is the novel itself.  In chapter 23 Atticus chats with Jem at length about the trial and the surrounding circumstances, sharing his wisdom and experience with his son.  That conversation reaches its peak with these words:
“If you had been on that jury, son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man,” said Atticus.  “So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process.  Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s jury, but you saw something come between them and reason.  You saw the same thing that night in front of the jail.  When that crew went away, they didn’t go as reasonable men; they went because we were there.  There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads – they couldn’t be fair if they tried.  In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s, the white man always wins.  They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.”
“Doesn’t make it right,” said Jem stolidly.  He beat his fist softly on his knee.  “You just can’t convict a man on evidence like that – you can’t.”
“You couldn’t, but they could and did.  The older you grow, the more of it you’ll see.  The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.  As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears.  I looked up, and his face was vehement.  “There’s nothing more sickening to me than a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance.  Don’t fool yourselves – it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it.  I hope it’s not in you children’s time.”
With all that in mind I wrote, “Atticus expresses deep regret”.
  • “The hapless Tom”:  The correct article here is the definite one (the) rather than an indefinite one (a); Tom is “the” Tom Robinson, not “a” Tom.  Yes, I know, many careless speakers use an indefinite article, but that’s not only wrong and imprecise but also hackneyed.
  • “Tom is shot to death”:  Previously the text said that he is “shot and killed”.  That compound-verb phrase implies a sequence consisting of two steps – first a shooting and then a killing.  A more precise statement is that Tom is “shot to death”, because the shooting results in his instantaneous death during a single event.  By the way, this is one of those relatively few situations where the passive voice is acceptable and appropriate because the shooting took place by an unknown number of anonymous guards who excessively put 17 rounds into Tom’s body.
  • “Despite the conviction of Tom”:  Previously the text said, “Despite winning the case, Bob Ewell’s reputation …”.  That incorrect expression reveals a basic misunderstanding of the nature of criminal procedure.  Bob does not win the case, and the case is not Bob’s case at all.  Bob is not the plaintiff or prosecutor; Bob is instead merely a witness on behalf of the prosecution.   The State of Alabama wins the case by getting a conviction.  Again:  Bob does not win the case.  Therefore I changed the wording to “despite the conviction of Tom”.
  • “Bob Ewell is humiliated by the events of the trial”:  Previously the text said, “Bob Ewell’s reputation is further ruined”.  Bob's reputation was already very bad, so it does not become any worse; however, the text of the novel makes clear that he feels humiliated by the public exposure of both his own perjury and Mayella's while they gave their testimony.  By the way, that sentence needlessly and unjustifiably uses the passive voice, and I mistakenly left it that way, so I may return later and recast it into the active voice.
  • “Atticus’s face”:  Previously the text used the possessive form of Atticus as “Atticus’”, with an apostrophe but without a terminal s.  According to an article in the Wikipedia itself, “Many respected authorities recommend that practically all singular nouns, including those ending with a sibilant sound [mainly s or z], have possessive forms with an extra s after the apostrophe so that the spelling reflects the underlying pronunciation”.  Examples of those authorities include Strunk and White (in their famous rule 1), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.  In conformance to that guidance I changed “Atticus’” to “Atticus’s”.  Dancer accuses me of having made that change merely to satisfy my own personal preference, but I acted in compliance with the advice from the giants among the established authorities.
  • “He spits in Atticus’s face”:  Previously the text specified “on the street”.  However, “on the street” does not serve a useful purpose, but, as a misplaced modifier, it does create a humorous near-ambiguity.  [Was his face on a street?]  If that prepositional phrase were helpful or needful, a better place for it would be at the start of the sentence, thus: “On a street he spits in Atticus’s face”.  By the way, the correct article here is an indefinite one, a, rather than the definite one, the, because Maycomb has more than one street.
  • “[Bob] tries to break into the judge’s house”:  Previously the text referred to the “presiding” judge, but that adjectival present participle not only does not serve a useful purpose but further is inaccurate in this context.  Judge Taylor is the only judge mentioned anywhere in the entire novel, so that word is superfluous; that is, there’s no need to distinguish him from any other judge.  Further, since the judge does not do any presiding during the attempted or incomplete break-in, it’s imprecise and inappropriate to refer to him here as the “presiding” judge.
  • A serial comma is needed after the second element in the compound predicate of that same sentence, so I supplied the missing comma.  [“He spits …, tries …, and menaces ….”]
  • “While they walk home on a dark night after the school Halloween pageant”:  Previously the text used the adverbial conjunction as rather than while and the preposition from rather than after.  In the time sense as and while convey almost the same meaning but not quite exactly.  As implies a shorter action, even a momentary or instantaneous one or nearly so, but while implies a longer action.  Because of that difference, to increase the precision, I substituted while for as.  Further, the preposition from indicates only a spatial or directional factor away from the school building, whereas the preposition after indicates the important time dimension of the crucial scene on the vacant lot after the pageant – not just from the building but after the pageant and after the other people had already left the premises.  By the way, the pageant, along with the other activities on Halloween at the high school, was not a school event but rather a community event, which happened to take place at the school building, so I may return later and remove the word school from the sentence in question here.
  • “Amid the confusion someone rescues the children”:  Previously the text contained a comma after the prepositional phrase “amid the confusion”, and it said that someone “comes to the children’s rescue”.  First, that comma is superfluous, for it serves no useful purpose and meets no requirement, because the preceding three words constitute an adverbial prepositional phrase; so I removed it.  Second, “comes to the … rescue” is unnecessarily wordy, and it indicates only that someone comes without stating whether anyone succeeds in rescuing, whereas “rescues the children” states directly and unequivocally that someone indeed rescues them.
  • “Jem’s left arm”:  Previously the text spoke of “Jem’s arm”, which, strictly and literally speaking, implies that Jem has only one arm, which proposition, of course, is false and absurd; on the other hand, “Jem’s left arm” cures that absurdity, and it adds a desirable measure of precision and specificity about the particular arm with the fracture.  Yes, of course, again, I know, “everybody” says it the other way “all the time”; however, again, an article at the Wikipedia is not a casual, everyday, informal, ordinary conversation, using vernacular or colloquial language patterns.  Quite to the contrary, an article at the Wikipedia should use precise, carefully chosen words put together correctly and polished to a high degree of professionalism.
  • “Sheriff Tate”:  Previously the text spoke of “Maycomb’s sheriff”.  Heck Tate is the sheriff of Maycomb County, not of the town of Maycomb.  Further, “Maycomb’s sheriff” is not an idiomatic expression in normal usage, whereas “Sheriff Tate” is.
  • “Sheriff Tate arrives, checks the scene, and finds …”:  Previously the text said that the sheriff “arrives and discovers …”.  Where does the sheriff arrive?  At the Finch house or at the vacant lot?  Both places in order.  In the interest of precision, to plug a small hole in the description, I added a second element (“checks the scene”) to the compound predicate.  To raise the readability and lower the fog index a tiny bit, I also substituted a one-syllable Anglo-Saxon verb (finds) for a three-syllable Latin verb (discovers).
  • “Bob Ewell has died”:  Previously the text used the passive voice, saying that Bob “has been killed”.  As I explained at length above in connection with an earlier edit, a strong majority of style books, grammar books, and composition handbooks advise against the use of the passive voice, and a strong majority of professional writers and editors follow that advice.  The generally accepted principle is that we should use the active voice rather than the passive voice unless there is a good and persuasive reason to use the passive voice instead.  For that reason I changed from the passive voice to the active voice.
  • “Bob Ewell has died during the fight”:  Previously the text used the words “in the struggle”.  During conveys a stronger sense of a range or period of time within which an event occurs, whereas in connotes a specific time (such as in June, in daytime, or in 2008).  For example, Theodore Bernstein, described above in a discussion of another point, says, in Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins, “During is not only proper but indeed preferable to in when used in such a sentence”.  Further, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms, the noun fight is stronger than struggle; the former in this context emphasizes the notion of hand-to-hand combat rather than mere striving.  The struggle in the dark developed into a fight – a fight resulting in a death.  For those two reasons I changed “in the struggle” to “during the fight”.
  • “The prudence and ethics of charging Jem … or Boo”:  Previously the text spoke of “holding” either Jem or Boo.  Atticus and the sheriff argue about charging, not merely “holding”, one of them.  Chapter 30 of the novel makes that clear.
  • “Jem (whom Atticus believes to be responsible) or Boo (whom Tate believes to be responsible)”:  Previously the text described the two characters as “Jem (who Atticus believes to be responsible) or Boo (who is implied to have killed Mr. Ewell)”.  First, the correct form of the relative personal pronouns is “whom”, not “who”, because they are direct objects of verbs, so they must appear in the objective case rather than the nominative case.  That, by the way, is not only high-school grammar but also grade-school grammar.  Second, a previous participant cast the two parenthetical expressions into nonparallel structures.  The former expression, describing Jem, used the active voice plus the infinitive form of a linking verb with an adjective, whereas the latter one, describing Boo, used the passive voice and the infinitive form of a present-perfect verbal phrase.  Those two dissimilar constructions created a nonparallelism.  To cure that problem I describe Jem as the one “whom Atticus believes to be responsible”, and Boo as the one “whom Tate believes to be responsible”.
  • “Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff’s interpretation”:  Previously the text spoke of the sheriff’s “story”.  According to Web11, the noun story in that context has the possible connotation of a fib, lie, or falsehood, whereas interpretation does not.  To avoid that possible connotation I changed “story” to “interpretation”.
  • “So she does”:  Previously the text recited merely, “Boo asks Scout to walk him home”, thereby leaving an unplugged hole before the next thought, “and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again”.  I filled that small but distinct hole by adding the concluding dependent clause “so she does”.  Besides, if I had not added that thought, the previous wording would have needed a comma between “and” and “after” to complete setting off the trailing dependent clause “after she says goodbye to him at his front door”.
  • “She regrets that they’ve never repaid him”:  Previously the text said, “… they never repaid him”, using the simple past tense.  However, their not repaying him did not cease at some time in the past; instead their not repaying him has continued until the moment when Scout stands on the Radley porch and conceives that notion.  Therefore that continuance of the failure to repay calls for the past-perfect tense rather than the simple past tense.  While changing “never repaid” to “have never repaid”, I found it wise to repeat the subject of the verb “regrets” to avoid a stumbling block.  Previously the text also said, more fully, “Scout imagines life from Boo’s perspective and regrets that they never repaid him”.  The words “from Boo’s perspective and regrets” create a near-ambiguity.  Further, Scout’s imagining and her regretting are different enough from each other to call for two independent clauses rather than just a two-part compound-verb phrase.  To fix those problems I inserted a comma and the personal pronoun “she”, thus: “Scout imagines life from Boo’s perspective, and she regrets that they’ve never repaid him for the gifts he had given them”.  That final sentence still contains a redundancy (“the gifts he had given”), so I may yet return and recast that slightly.

Gandydancer has repeatedly lambasted me for what she labels as acting on my personal preferences rather than relying on sound principles of grammar and composition.

On the other hand, however, I’ve now carefully and thoroughly explained the generally accepted principles on which I’ve based my work.

It’s important to recognize that Dancer’s main gripe, according to her own words, expressed to me and to others, in part while she has tried to enlist help, support, and agreement for what she calls “her side”, is not that my changes have been incorrect, but rather that I’ve dared to change Moni’s work – without regard to whether the article previously contained errors and other problems and therefore needed improvement.

Further, three other users (while discussing this general subject on other talk pages) have made several gratuitous unkind remarks about me and about college professors in general.

Dancer and those others have not shown me the grace (the Wikigrace?) of assuming good faith on my part or of considering the possibility that I just might really have the credentials and the real-world practical expertise and experience to enable me to do at a professional level what I’ve done here.

Dancer’s comments throughout contain a distinct tone of fussing, griping, grumbling, bickering, protesting, agitating, and finger-wagging.

Behavior like that is not good; more particularly, it’s not good for use during an open-minded discussion of competing ideas at the Wikipedia or anywhere else.

May we please keep this on an unemotional level without unkind personal implications?

If anyone wishes to discuss any of my explanations, please feel free to do so; I’ll gladly take part in a cordial, congenial, respectful, businesslike conversation.

In contrast with that, if anyone else wishes to make smart-mouthed, sarcastic, or otherwise ugly remarks, including juvenile comments or personal insults, please dump your trash elsewhere.  [Unfortunately there seems to be a high rate of incidence of such antisocial behavior on the talk pages of the Wikipedia.]

In any event, as always, best wishes to all,

Doc – DocRushing (talk) 20:41, 15 May 2014 (UTC).

Doc seems to miss the irony of calling my remarks immature carping, fussing, griping, grumbling, bickering, protesting, agitating, and finger-wagging and yet then ask, "May we please keep this on an unemotional level without unkind personal implications?"
I have been very short on time for Wikipedia lately and will need a few days to reply. For now I will, however, reply to the most egregious error that Doc has made where he seems to have missed the very essence of the plot of "To Kill a Mockingbird". I pointed this out earlier, but Doc has ignored it. He explains his position here:
  • “Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff’s interpretation”:  Previously the text spoke of the sheriff’s “story”.  According to Web11, the noun story in that context has the possible connotation of a fib, lie, or falsehood, whereas interpretation does not.  To avoid that possible connotation I changed “story” to “interpretation”.
Most of Doc's changes are changes to his preferred text but they don't change the overall message, but this one is different. A reading of chapter 30 [3] in which the killing of a mockingbird is mentioned the second and only other time in the novel (the first being early into the story when Atticus tells the children to never kill a mockingbird), clearly shows that sheriff Tate has made up a story to explain the killing, to avoid "killing a mockingbird".
This is all I have time for now, but I will get back to this as time permits.
BTW Doc, you stated that I have made a fairly large number of spelling errors as well. I'd really appreciate it if you could point them out to me so as that I can improve my writing. Gandydancer (talk) 13:44, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
When I commented on the tone of your postings and the nature of your words, I strictly limited my characterizations to your public verbal behavior – your behavior alone; at no time have I said anything about you as a person.  Again: I've described your behavior but not you as a person.
Besides, when I urged all to “keep this on an unemotional level without unkind personal implications”, I had in mind not so much you as an unknown number of bystanders (other users who watch this talk page or happen to see it), because I'm acutely aware of the problem of unrestrained or undisciplined people at the Wikipedia who often make inappropriate and unproductive postings, including personal attacks, juvenile remarks, and other antisocial behavior.
In my next sentence I invited anyone to take part in a serious discussion of the subject matter at hand, then in the following paragraph I urged the vandals or bad actors to take their ugly conduct elsewhere.
No, Dancer, I've not missed the point about refraining from killing a mockingbird.  I understood that point well in 1971, when I first read the book and watched the flick, and I still understand it well.
However, the choice between the words story and interpretation does not change, confirm, or deny anything about killing or not killing a mockingbird, either literally or metaphorically.  If you truly believe otherwise, please describe your logic and explain it.
Aside from a connection or a lack of one between the word choice and the central notion about mockingbirds, it's entirely possible that story is better than interpretation; maybe I'm wrong about that.  If so, as you believe, please present a logical argument in support of story, one rebutting my defense (above) of interpretation.  [Still, though, even if I'm wrong about that, I suggest that that error, if it's an error at all, is not as flagrant or conspicuous as you implied when you described it as “egregious”.]
You still persist in referring to my “preferred text”, so I remind you that my preferences, as I explained at length (above), are not my personal preferences but rather professional preferences for complying with and conforming to the historically and generally accepted principles of grammar, composition, and communication.
Sometime soon, as you asked, I'll send you a list of several misspelled words; to reduce your exposure to possible embarrassment, I'll place it on your own talk page rather than this one.
Dancer, I feel no need or wish to regard you as an enemy or an adverse party or to regard this matter as a personal war or contest.  You opened this series of exchanges by raising a number of complaints and objections about some of my work, and I've responded to them.  I've tried hard to keep our disagreement on an objective and unemotional plane (even when I commented on your verbal behavior), and I've expressed myself to you and about you in a respectful, businesslike, and gentlemanly way.
Although we may continue to disagree with each other on some points, let's disagree, if we must, without behaving in a disagreeable way.
As always, smiles and best wishes,
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 17:22, 19 May 2014 (UTC).


The article states that Sheriff Tate and Atticus disagree as to who is responsible for Bob Ewell's death : “Jem (whom Atticus believes to be responsible) or Boo (whom Tate believes to be responsible)” and that "Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife".

That summary of the climax seems ambivalent to me as it could be interpreted as meaning that Atticus and Sheriff Tate have a good-faith disagreement on the issue. In fact, the point of the author is that Atticus does indeed at first mistakenly believe Jem is responsible, but only until Sheriff Tate reveals (or at least intimates) that it is actually Boo who heroically came to the defense of Scout and Jem. At that point, Atticus understands full well that it was indeed Boo who killed Bob Ewell, but agrees -- somewhat against his nature as a truth-seeking attorney -- to sustain the "pious fraud" suggested by the Sherriff, i.e., that Bob Ewell fell on his own knife, since to do otherwise (i.e., tell the truth) would be to "kill a mockingbird", i.e., cause additional suffering to Boo Radley, who has already been abused in the past and is content to live out his life as a recluse.

Can someone try to rewrite the summary of the climax to make this clear?

Partnerfrance (talk) 00:13, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Please feel free to compose such an alternative description.
Why not do it yourself?
Doc – DocRushing (talk) 01:21, 25 February 2015 (UTC).

Harper Lee Sues Agent Over ‘Mockingbird’ Royalties[edit]

Harper Lee Sues Agent Over ‘Mockingbird’ Royalties~~ Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 05:44, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Capote's letter & more proof that Lee wrote her own darn book.[edit]

I have not read Don Noble's book nor seen the original letter, so I don't know if the following item is correct (it could even be that several letters Capote wrote in 1959 were donated in 2006). The item is a brief conversation on NPR (National Public Radio) between Melissa Block and Dr. Wayne Flynt where he says that the letter was written to the man's aunt while the WP article says it was to a neighbor. A small difference, if this is indeed the same letter, but I think it adds color - to whom he would have the most honest? Capote records reading the manuscript and calling Lee a great talent.

In addition to the letter, Flynt goes on to identify the possible origin of the Capote-writing myth as a misled Pearl Belle, discusses the difference in writing style of Lee and Capote, and points out how Capote's ego and burning desire to win a Pulitzer Prize would not have allowed him to stay silent if he had contributed to the book.

"Letter Puts End to Persistent 'Mockingbird' Rumor" - . Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 09:00, 13 March 2015 (UTC)