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How does the point of view of To Kill A Mockingbird affect the way you feel about the...

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jleppien | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 10, 2011 at 6:27 AM via web

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How does the point of view of To Kill A Mockingbird affect the way you feel about the characters? (sympathize more with one character than another?)

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

Posted July 10, 2011 at 8:39 AM (Answer #2)

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I love the way in which Harper Lee uses Scout as a narrator: Sometimes she speaks as a five or six year old, explaining the events unfolding around her as best as her limited understanding will allow. Other times, she speaks from a future adult perspective, giving insight only a wiser and experienced person could. At times--usually in her immature narrative--she is angry with various characters, often for childish reasons. But more often, she speaks fondly of Atticus and Jem and Boo--recalling them from years later.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM (Answer #3)

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Using Scout as a narrator is interesting because she is a child. She sees things through a child's eyes, and therefore has an acute sense of justice. Children from the age of 6-8 are more concerned with fairness than anything. As adults, we lose this ability as we begin to accept things because that is just the way they are in our culture. By pointing out the injustices so simple a child can identify them, the author reinforces our own personal sense of justice over cultural acceptance.
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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 10, 2011 at 11:02 PM (Answer #4)

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Because we see through Scout's eyes, we are only given her point of view on various people.  We therefore are likely to share her opinions.  A good example of this is our view of her teacher, Miss Caroline.

We see Miss Caroline through Scout's eyes.  Therefore, we only really perceive her as a know-it-all who stifles childrens' creativity.  If we saw her through someone else's eyes, we might be more sympathetic to her and to her desires and her motives for acting as she does.  This is one example of a character for whom we feel less sympathy because of the point of view of the story.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted July 11, 2011 at 4:38 AM (Answer #5)

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Seeing through Scout's eyes adds a sense of innocence to the viewpoint. Children see the world very differently than adults. Having a child as the narrator changes the way we receive information about the other characters and how we, the reader, feel about them. For example, the men who come to the jail to start trouble are shown very differently through Scout's eyes. We do not see their point of view. We do not have the chance to feel like they could be right. We see through a child's eyes the absolute injustice of the event. Scout is able to appeal to these men on a different level and therefore able to diffuse the situation. I think if this story was narratored by an adult, we would miss a lot of the emotional context of the story.
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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 11, 2011 at 8:10 AM (Answer #6)

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The point of view of any work is going to help you understand more or less of what is going on in the novel as well as evokes emotions toward or against various characters.  The fact that the narrator is young (or in other works, mentally incapable for whatever reason--naive, illness, injury, etc.) makes the reader wonder how much Scout actually understands of what is going on around her.  Just like with Huck Finn, the reader often understands more than the young narrator does just from the reading and the actions of the older characters involved with the young, naive, and sometimes unaware narrator. 

Younger narrators are endearing for their innocence and naivete.  They often are more loving and sweet than their adult counterparts...probably due to the fact that the world has not yet had much time to corrupt them.  Of course, children, like animals, often "sniff" out a stinker before adults due since they rely on instinct much of the time instead of experience.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM (Answer #7)

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Certainly Scout's point of view, along with the other childrens', narrows the readers' perspectives of Boo Radley whose family maintains their reclusiveness.  With the perception of Scout, Boo is a rather mysterious character.  Likewise, so are others that the readers only meets through the perspective of the young Scout.  But, then, the reader grows vicariously with Scout, and senses his/her grouth alongside the narratives.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 30, 2011 at 3:26 AM (Answer #8)

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I enjoy experiencing the complexity of Scout's feeling for Jem throughout the novel. At various times, she loves him, hates him, admires him, adores him, envies him and is confused by him. I have three brothers and I totally get all of those feelings. If someone else were tellling the story, my guess is that the relationship between the two Finch children would not be as rich or as complex--or as believable.

Lori Steinbach

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 1, 2013 at 2:56 AM (Answer #9)

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Seen from Scout's perspective, Miss Maudie is a great person. She is kind, generous, intelligent, independent, funny and patient. From the perspectives of others, as we see in the novel, Miss Maudie is perceived as a proud and vain woman. She may be seen also as "liberal" by some characters, and certainly is seen as a "hard" person when she speaks her mind. 

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