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In "To Kill A Mockingbird," what quotes from the book show how Scout is growing up?

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fighter101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 29, 2009 at 12:15 PM via web

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In "To Kill A Mockingbird," what quotes from the book show how Scout is growing up?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 29, 2009 at 12:39 PM (Answer #1)

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Scout's observations during the trial of Tom Robinson display a maturity of thought.  For, at times she reflects upon what her father has taught her and applies it to the situations at hand, thus displaying her ability to connect what she has learned and apply it, as well as her capacity for analysis.

In Chapter 17, for instance, Scout listens to her father's interrogation of Mr. Ewell:

I was becoming nervous.  Atticus seemed to know what he was doing--but it seemed to me that he'd gone frogsticking without a light.  Never, never, never, on cross-examination ask a witness a question you don't already know the answer to, was a tenet I absorbed with my baby-food.  Do it, and you'll often get an answer  you don't want, an answer that might wreck your case.

Later, Jem seems to be "having a quiet fit."  He whispers to Scout, "We've got him."  But Scout does not think so:

Atticus was trying to show, it seemed to me, that Mr. Ewell could have beaten up Mayella....But Tom Robinson could easily be left-handed, too.....

As the trial proceeds, Scout demonstrates her acute reasoning powers.  When Atticus questions Tom Robinson, she remembers more advice from her father:

Atticus sometimes said that one way to tell whether a witness was lying or telling the truth was to listen rather than watch:  I applied his test--Tom denied it three times in one breath, but quietly, with no hint of whinging in his voice, and I found myself believing him in spite of his protesting too much.  He seemed to be a respectable Negro and a respectable Negro would never go up into somebody's yeard of his own volition.

Then, in Chapter 26 Scout asks her brother about Miss Gates, who scolded a student for hating Hitler, saying,  "It is not okay to hate anybody."  Detecting the hypocrisy of Miss Gates, Scout wonders to her brother how Miss Gates could have said what she has outside the courthouse one afternoon of the trial:

I hear her say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, a' the nest thing they thing they can do is marry us.  Jem, how can you [say what she does at school and then]....be ugly about folks at home?

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