To Kill a Mockingbird: House Fire Scene

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  • Exposition: "Minutes later, it seemed, I was wakened by someone shaking me. Atticus's overcoat was spread across me. 'Is it morning already?' [...] 'No, it's a little after one. Hurry now.' That something was wrong finally got through to me. 'What's the matter?' By then he did not have to tell me. Just as the birds know where to go when it rains, I knew when there was trouble in our street." (pages 68-69)
  • Is it morning already?
  • No, it's a little after one.
  • Rising Action: "Soft taffeta-like sounds and muffled scurrying sounds filled me with helpless dread. 'Whose is it?' 'Miss Maudie's, hon,' said Atticus gently. At the front door, we saw fire spewing from Miss Maudie's diningroom windows. As if to confirm what we saw, the town fire siren wailed up the scale to a treble pitch and remained there, screaming. 'It's gone, ain't it?' moaned Jem. 'I expect so,' said Atticus." (page 69)
  • Rising Action: "The old fire truck, killed by the cold, was being pushed from town by a crowd of men. [...] The men of Maycomb, in all degrees of dress and undress, took furniture from Miss Maudie's house to a yard across the street. [...] The fire was well into the second floor and had eaten its way to the roof [...]. The Abbottsville fire truck began pumping water on our house; a man on the roof pointed to places that needed it most." (pages 69-70)
  • Climax: "Another fire truck appeared and stopped in front of Miss Stephanie Crawford's. There was no hydrant for another hose, and the men tried to soak her house with hand extinguishers. Miss Maudie's tin roof quelled the flames. Roaring, the house collapsed; fire gushed everywhere, followed by a flurry of blankets from men on top of the adjacent houses, beating out sparks and burning chunks of wood." (page 71)
  • Falling Action: "It was dawn before the men began to leave, first one by one, then in groups. They pushed the Maycomb fire truck back to town, the Abbottsville truck departed, the third one remained. [...] Miss Maudie was staring at the smoking black hole in her yard, and Atticus shook his head to tell us she did not want to talk. [...] He said Miss Maudie would stay with Miss Stephanie for the time being." (page 71)
  • Resolution: "We found [Mrs. Maudie] in her back yard, gazing at her frozen charred azaleas. 'We're bringing back your things, Miss Maudie,' said Jem. 'We're awful sorry.' Miss Maudie looked around, and the shadow of her old grin crossed her face. 'Always wanted a smaller house, Jem Finch. Gives me more yard. [...] “How'd it catch, Miss Maudie?” he asked. “I don't know, Jem. Probably the flue in the kitchen." (pages 72-73)
  • We're bringing back your things, Miss Maudie. We're awful sorry.
  • Always wanted a smaller house, Jem Finch.
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