In To Kill a Mockingbird, would the story have been more effective from another point of view other than Scout? If so, whose? Why?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

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

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Harper Lee certainly made a great choice when she chose to use Scout as the narrator. It works well on several different levels: First, it tells the story through the eyes of the innocent, young Scout; in some sections, Scout reverts to narrative from a wiser, future perspective as an adult; and the narrative also allows the story to be told from a female's point of view. By allowing the youngest character in the novel to tell the story, it keeps the often serious subject matter on a simpler, more naive level. It also keeps the focus on the children as the main characters of the novel. I believe Dill would have also been a fine narrator because of his own imaginative creativity and storytelling ability.

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

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After having read the book, t may have been more interesting to see things from, let's say, Boo Radley's perspective.  He's a character we want to know more about, so we'd like to see him laughing at the kids as they roll Scout up to his house in a tire, or see him laboriously stitching up Jem's overalls.  We would find out more about him, of course.  BUT we'd only be able to see what he sees from the vantage point of his window and the few times we know of that he leaves the house. 

The same thing is true of each character:

  • Dill would be interesting to follow, but he's not always there.
  • Jem is there, but he already knows many of the things Scout asks about or learns, so we wouldn't get as much information from him.
  • Miss Maudies is sassy, so I'd like to hear her tell the story; however, she's not involved enough to give us everything we get from Scout (and we'd miss the entire snowman episode!).
  • Aunt Alexandra is not around nearly enough.
  • Atticus is too adult--we learn about so many things as he's explaining them to Scout throughout the story.  We'd also miss all the Miss Caroline stuff.

The bottome line is that Scout is the best storyteller for this story.  What we lose by her not knowing everything we gain from her questioning of others--or their correction of her.  She's funny, young, talkative, inexperienced, and in the middle of everything.  Perfect.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

What an interesting question! You will no doubt receive some interesting answers.

For me, it is hard to imagine this novel told by anyone other than Scout. She is such a winsome character. The fact that she is a child affects the novel in an important way because she views things through the wonder and innocence of childhood, even though she is telling the story as an adult. We can see her grow up as the novel progresses and we see the lessons she learns. Her viewpoint is very refreshing and humorous and by using a child, the author can underscore the adult foibles in a unique way.

Another thing about Scout, she is a girl, so readers also get insights into the role of women, and the views of women. We have another rich dimension to the story because Scout is tomboy and not your typical little girl.

The only other character that might be interesting as a narrator would be Jem -- I think a child is necessary - but then, we would not have the unique female perspective.

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