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What hypocrisy occurs in To Kill a Mockingbird, and what are some quotes to provide...

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emyjt | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 7, 2013 at 2:14 PM via web

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What hypocrisy occurs in To Kill a Mockingbird, and what are some quotes to provide evidence of the hypocrisy? 

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

Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Scout is witness to various forms of hypocrisy during the story, and most of them involve the women of Maycomb. Scout's teachers are both guilty of hypocritical words and actions: Miss Caroline unfairly punishes Scout, who is merely trying to lend the inexperienced teacher some assistance. Miss Caroline apparently believes herself educationally superior to most of the town, including Atticus, but she is unable to control her classroom on the first day of school. Scout acknowledges that

Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her.  (Scout, Chapter 2)

Miss Gates displays hypocrisy during her lessons about Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. Miss Gates staunchly defends the Jews who are being persecuted by the rise of the Nazis, and this puzzles Scout, since she remembers overhearing a conversation in which Miss Gates states that

"... it's time somebody taught 'em [Negroes] a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves..."  (Scout, Chapter 26)

Scout can't understand how a person can "hate Hitler" and defend the Jews in Germany

"... an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home."  (Scout, Chapter 26)

But worst of all are the women of the missionary circle, who are willing to give their spiritual and financial support to the "poor Mruna" tribe in Africa but not to Maycomb's own black citizens. Scout found that Mrs. Merriweather, "the most devout lady in Maycomb," was both insensitive and racist. Men, Scout decided,

... did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you... they weren't--
     "Hypocrites... born hypocrites."  (Scout, Chapter 24) 

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