Lee modeled the character of Dill on her childhood friend, Truman Capote , known then as Truman Persons.   Just as Dill lived next door to Scout during the summer, Capote lived next door to Lee with his aunts while his mother visited New York City.  Like Dill, Capote had an impressive imagination and a gift for fascinating stories. Both Lee and Capote were atypical children: both loved to read. Lee was a scrappy tomboy who was quick to fight, but Capote was ridiculed for his advanced vocabulary and lisp. She and Capote made up and acted out stories they wrote on an old Underwood typewriter Lee's father gave them. They became good friends when both felt alienated from their peers; Capote called the two of them "apart people".  In 1960, Capote and Lee traveled to Kansas together to investigate the multiple murders that were the basis for Capote's nonfiction novel In Cold Blood . 
Finch, as a lawyer, is asked to take a legal case that involves defending Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of abusing a 19-year-old Caucasian female named Mayella Ewell. Eventually, the news of his accepting the case spreads around town and puts Atticus in a negative light, leaving Jem and Scout angry about it. Atticus forbids Scout from fighting with the other kids. Once Walter Cunningham Jr., a child that Scout fought with, is invited to dinner, Atticus says that it is "a sin to kill a mockingbird", referring to the temptations to go after birds once children got their first guns.