The narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird is Jean Louise "Scout" Finch who lives with her brother Jem and widowed father who is a lawyer in the Alabama town of Maycomb. The story covers three consecutive summers and at the start of the tale Scout is aged six.
During the first summer they befriend a boy named Dill and the three children act out stories together and they become fascinated with the occupants of the run-down, eerie Radley house. Nathan Radley owns the house and his brother Arthur "Boo" Radley has not been seen leaving the house in years. It is Scout's first year at school and she hates it. She would prefer to stay at home and be taught by her father, but this is against the law. .
Outside the Radley property is a tree with a knothole and Scout and Jem start to find gifts, which have been placed there.
The next summer Dill returns and they start to act out what they think is the "Boo Radley story". Atticus puts a stop to their mischievous play, but they are compelled to find out more about Boo Radley and Nathan shoots at the three of them as they sneak back to the house in the dark. During their escape Jem loses his pants and when he returns for them, he finds them mended and hung neatly over the fence.
The next winter they find more presents in the tree and the gifts increase in value until Nathan plugs up the hole with cement.
One of their neighbor's houses catches fire and whilst Scout watches the commotion someone places a blanket across her shoulders. Jem, like the reader, is convinced that the source of these events is Boo and he tells Atticus about the episode with his pants and the presents.
Atticus is appointed to defend a black man named Tom Robinson accused of raping a white woman. As a result, Scout and Jem are subjected to harassment from other children, being accused of siding with black people. That Christmas which is spent at Finch's Landing, the family farm, they are given air rifles, but are told not to kill a mockingbird.