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Does Scout learn anything from Walter's visit in To Kill a Mockingbird?  If so, what...

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chiahean | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 1, 2010 at 11:39 PM via web

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Does Scout learn anything from Walter's visit in To Kill a Mockingbird?  If so, what does she learn?

 

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted January 2, 2010 at 12:35 AM (Answer #1)

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In the book To Kill a Mockingbird Scout is a young girl.  She is outspoken and tends to let her mind and mouth get her into trouble at times.  In school without realizing the repercussions of her words, she tells Miss Caroline that Walter does not have money for lunch.  Later Walter goes Cunningham, a poor child, goes to Scout's house.  He is fed dinner by Calpurnia.  During the meal he pours syrup over all of his food.  Scout has never seen anyone eat in this manner.  She believes that he might have "poured it in his milk” if she "had not asked him what he was doing" (24).

Calpurnia is very angry at Scout's behavior.  She calls Scout into the kitchen where she scolds Scout on her rudeness and behavior.  Scout is angry when she leaves the room and makes mental threats that she will get even with Calpurnia.  Initially Scout does not learn anything but to project her anger at having been disciplined.  However, as Scout matures she begins to see things differently.  Each of the lessons she has been taught begin to add up and help her to realize how to be a good person.  However, in Chapter 6 she does not learn the lesson yet.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 14, 2010 at 10:03 AM (Answer #2)

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In that the whole of To Kill a Mockingbird can be seen as a coming-of-age novel of sorts, Scout learns much from this short visit from Walter Cunningham. 

Although less important, Scout learns that Walter is very well learned in regards to farming. 

While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me, . . . expounding upon farm problems. (24)

The poor, then, are not always ignorant about absolutely everything.  In fact, the poor can be incredibly adept at learning a very important trade, . . . it's just that the trade may not pay much money.  A good beginning lesson for Scout to learn about the poor!  Right at her level!

Most important, however, is the twofold lesson that Calpurnia teaches Scout (and Atticus approves with his various "head shaking" at Scouts comments and actions of the scene).  First, Scout learns not to gawk at the poor, for we can never truly empathize with their situation.  For, as Scout gapes at Walter for pouring syrup all over his food, she can't help but notice that both her father and her housekeeper react violently to her treatment of Walter at that point.

However, Calpurnia also teaches Scout a second lesson:  to respect everyone who dines with them, . . . even the poor. 

Don't matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house's yo' comp'ny, and don't you let me catch you remarkin' on their ways like you was so high and mighty!  Yo' folks might be better'n the Cunninghams but it don't count for nothin' the way you're disgracin' 'em! (24-25)

Or maybe it's more appropriate to say that, at this point in the book, Scout learns that Calpurnia respects everyone who dines with them.  Scout is simply in the middle of the learning process and will eventually learn respect for each person, no matter what walk of life he hails from.

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oaa81996 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:02 AM (Answer #3)

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all she learned was being rude is a terribla thing!!!! she was scolded to learn so..

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