In Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Scout pay to rub someones's ringworm?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Scout was still not happy about having to go to school, and she was willing to do anything--absolutely anything--to find a way to convince Atticus that she should not go. Dealing with Cecil Jacobs' taunts and refraining from using her fists were just a few of her problems. When Atticus cautioned her about using the "N" word, Scout defended herself by claiming that everyone at school said it, and that

"... if you don't want me to grow up talkin' that way why do you send me to school?"  (Chapter 9)

Atticus looked at her with "amusement in his eyes," but he might not have been so forgiving if he had known some of the other methods she attempted to get out of going. Scout had already made up stories of dizzy spells and stomach aches, but her attempt at contracting ringworm--a contagious, fungal skin infection that can cause itching, blistering and oozing--in order to stay home sick from school was, well, sick. Unfortunately for Scout, rubbing her head against the infected head of Miss Rachel's cook's son didn't take, and it cost her a nickel to boot. She would have to find a better way of convincing Atticus to let her play hooky.


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