What is the description of Scout's first grade classroom and its dramatic value in To Kill a Mockingbird?
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Scout's first grade classroom sounds typical of most school facilities: It features a blackboard which serves as the central focus for the room, allowing the teacher to write vocabulary words and the letters of the alphabet for all to see. There is a window that invites the students to look outside to where most of them wish they could adjourn. And there is a corner specifically meant for the isolation of unruly children, like Scout, who spends part of her first day there. The room is connected to another classroom, and the wall between does not sufficiently muffle the noise that can be heard from the other. Aside from the molasses buckets used to carry the children's lunches, from which "the ceiling danced with metallic light," Scout's classroom seems a dreary place from which Scout learned
... nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay my hands on at home. (Chapter 3)
Miss Caroline serves as a contrast to both the classroom and her students. A first year teacher with no previous experience, she is versed in the new progressive teaching theories of John Dewey (mistakenly identified by Jem as the Dewey Decimal System, a library categorization system originated by Melvil Dewey). A newcomer to Maycomb, she is immediately mistrusted by the students after she announces she is Winston County, known for its "Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors and other persons of no background." Her appearance is even more alarming and mystifying to the students:
She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks and wore crimson fingernail polish. She wore high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white-striped dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop. (Chapter 2)
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