How does Scout feel about starting school in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Scout wanted to go to school desperately, and was very excited about starting.

Scout was very much looking forward to joining her brother and the other kids at school.

I never looked forward more to anything in my life. Hours of wintertime had found me in the treehouse, looking over at the schoolyard, spying on multitudes of children through a two-power telescope Jem had given me ...(ch 2)

Scout was a bright child, and already knew how to read when she started first grade.  Sadly, school was not a positive experience for her.  She got in trouble on the first day, and from then on had constant misunderstandings with her teacher.  After that, Scout did not want to go to school and even tried to get Atticus to take her out.

Scout never really appreciates school, and it continues to be a disappointment for her.

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kipling2448's profile pic

kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Early in Harper Lee's classic of American literature To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader is quickly exposed to the precociousness and intellectual curiosity of the story's narrator, six-year-old Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. Scout's older brother, Jem, is having a conversation with another young boy, Charles Baker Harris, who claims to be reading already at the age of six, prompting the following reply by Jem:

“'Shoot no wonder, then,” said Jem, jerking his thumb at me. 'Scout yonder’s been readin‘ ever since she was born, and she ain’t even started to school yet'."

Scout is, indeed, an intellectually curious child, and her observations provide the basis for Lee's story of racial conflict and growing up in the American South during the 1930s. It does not surprise the reader, then, when Scout enthusiastically embraces the coming start of school. Chapter Two of To Kill a Mockingbird begins with Scout's declaration that "I never looked forward more to anything in my life," with respect to the approaching start of the school year. Scout is a very special child, and her narrative, including her descriptions of her father, Atticus, and of the trial of the African American falsely accused of raping a white woman, Tom Robinson, reflect her keen eye for detail and the curiosity that defines her.

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