Relationships in TKAM

“Who the heck is related to who?” This is what one of my students said to me as we reached one of the final chapters of Part II and were introduced to the Christmas scene. I took a pause out of my lecture/discussion and drew a goofy map on the board.

Attempting to understand the character relationships in To Kill a Mockingbird is a challenge, so I stepped away from my lesson to talk/draw the relationships on the board.

My students were confused about the relationship of Francis and Scout, since Francis was her cousin but called Aunt Alexandra his grandmother. This is the confusing, but at the same time completely clear, map of relationships I drew on the board to help my students understand:

TKAM relationship map

Along the top are the three siblings: Atticus, Aunt Alexandra, and Uncle Jack. Under Atticus are his two children, Jem and Scout; under Alexandra is her husband Uncle Jimmy (with a heart to symbolize the romantic relationship), her son Henry is underneath, and then Francis (who would be her grandson). Uncle Jack has Rose Alymer, his cat, because he doesn’t have children.

The red lines connect Jem and Scout to the other characters. Aunt Alexandra and Uncle Jack are obviously their aunt and uncle. Francis, on the other hand, is their second cousin (this even confused me at first!)

Drawing this simple but complicated map really helped with understanding the Christmas scene and chapter. I’m glad I took a moment out of my lesson to help students comprehend this better!

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