To Kill a Mockingbird: Chapters 10-13

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12733

To display a fine jewel, jewelers may place it against a contrasting background to enhance its beauty. Authors often do something similar with characters to illustrate the qualities of another person.


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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You might recognize the types of foil above, but what is a foil in literature?

In the previous Related Lesson (right-hand sidebar), you learned the definition and purpose of secondary characters.

  • Can you recall the purpose of secondary characters and how they are used in a text?

If you can't, refer to the previous lesson or your notes.

A foil is another type of character who is often a secondary character, although a foil can sometimes be a primary or main character. A foil helps illustrate qualities in another character, usually a main character or protagonist, by setting up a contrast to him or her. To learn more about the definition and use of foils in literature, read the following article and watch the short video. As you read and watch the video, answer the following questions in the notebook or journal you've been keeping on the novel since the first lesson:

  • What is the definition of a foil?
  • How can a subplot be used as a foil?
  • What is the difference between a foil and an antagonist?
  • What are two ways a foil can be used in a text?
  • Can more than one foil be used in a text?

Read Foil, from Literary Devices. Be sure to answer the three quiz questions at the end of the article in addition to answering the above questions in your notebook or journal. Then, watch What is a Foil? by Shmoop:

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  • Can you think of any characters that have been used as a foil to another character in To Kill a Mockingbird so far?

Jot down any of these pairs in your notes.

Once you've answered the questions about the article and video, read Chapters Ten through Thirteen in To Kill a Mockingbird. Use the copy of the text that you obtained at the start of this series. As you read, take notes on the main characters presented in this section of the novel.

  • How do these characters act and what is their motivation for their actions?

Make a note of any foils you encounter in this part of the novel as well. Keep your notes in your notebook or journal.

When you've finished reading and taking notes, move on to the Got It? section to explore the details of these chapters more closely.

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