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How does each of the following episodes illustrate Scout's developing understanding of...

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f00d | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:37 AM via web

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How does each of the following episodes illustrate Scout's developing understanding of prejudice--it's cause, depth, and consequences?

a.) Her decision with Dolphus Raymond (p. 201)

b.) Her growing understanding of Boo Radley (p. 14, 53, 227, 229?

c.) Her exposure to reverse prejudice at church with Calpurnia (p. 119)

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

Posted December 7, 2009 at 12:03 PM (Answer #1)

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Early in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus warns his daughter, Scout, "don't say nigger... That's common." Her understanding of racial prejudice continues to grow throughout the story.

From Dolphus Raymond, she learns that some white men prefer the company of Negroes, but most won't "cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too.

Scout finds that some black people don't like white people, either. But Lulu is just one person, and the rest of Calpurnia's congregation treats her with friendliness and respect.

Scout likens Boo to a turtle, for if you light a match under a turtle, won't it hurt? When Jem is discovered on the Radley porch, the imposing shadow stops and then returns from where it had come. Only later does Jem and Scout realize it belongs to Boo, who "coulda cut my throat from ear to ear." When Aunt Alexandra refuses to allow Walter Cunningham to visit because he is "trash," Jem tells Scout that maybe Boo doesn't come out because "he wants to stay inside."

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cldbentley | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 7, 2009 at 11:46 PM (Answer #2)

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In addition to the excellent insights already given, I believe it is important to note that each of the incidences listed adds to Scout's awareness of the injustices associated with prejudice.  Following each incident, Scout better understands the unfairness and cruelty directed at those who are the victims of prejudice; she learns that those who are discriminated against are not at fault and that conforming to the social standards that inspire and encourage prejudice very often causes pain to those who do not deserve it.  Through her own experience at Calpurnia's church, Scout becomes aware of the feelings of fear and discomfort experienced by those who feel they are not welcome or accepted.  Each of the three experiences also teaches Scout that people may not truly be what society labels them as.

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