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In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Scout's perspective change throughout the book on...

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rrahemtulla | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2011 at 10:44 AM via web

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In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Scout's perspective change throughout the book on becoming a lady and where in the book do these changes happen? (I need at least two examples.)

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

Posted November 22, 2011 at 3:43 AM (Answer #1)

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Scout is proud of her tomboyish ways during the early chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. She revels in the fights she has with boys:

     Catching Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard gave me some pleasure, but when I was rubbing his nose in the dirt Jem came by and told me to stop. "You're bigger'n he is," he said.  (Chapter 3)

When her Uncle Jack asks if she wants to grow up and become a lady,

I said not particularly.  (Chapter 9)

Jem knows that he can always force her into his way of thinking by telling her that

"... you're gettin' more like a girl every day!"
     With that, I had no option but to join them.  (Chapter 6)

But as she gets older, she and Jem begin to drift apart somewhat. Her romance with Dill blossoms--she claims that they have become engaged and they share secret kisses--and Scout comes to understand that there are times when a little tomboy must still act like a lady. At the Missionary Circle meeting, she recognizes that many of the so-called ladies act very unladylike, gossiping and berating the local Negroes--and even Atticus. To Scout, they were "born hypocrites";

I wondered at the world of women.  (Chapter 24)

But she sees that Alexandra and Miss Maudie are true ladies, and she admires the way they put aside their grief and go about their business serving refreshments after hearing of Tom's death. They are worth emulating.

     After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I.  (Chapter 24)

Scout is at her ladylike best following the Halloween attack by Bob Ewell. When her fantasy comes true and she finally meets Boo, she reverts to a gracious behavior rarely seen before, politely inviting him to the porch and leading him to Jem's bedroom so Boo can say goodnight. When Boo asked Scout to take him home,

     I slipped my hand into the crook of his arm.
     He had to stoop a little to accommodate me, but if Miss Stephanie was watching from her upstairs window, she would see Arthur Radley escorting me down the sidewalk, as any gentleman would do.  (Chapter 31)

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