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Like in the real world, the Maycomb schoolyard in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a hotbed of juvenile gossip and life experience. In Chapter 3, Scout exercises her tomboy and fighting skills. She bests young Walter Cunningham and then discovers that he is the son of Atticus' client by the same name; afterwards, she takes him home for lunch and learns more about the other side of Maycomb life in Old Sarum. Walter also divulges a new tale about Boo, who supposedly "pizened" pecans from the Radley tree and tossed them into the schoolyard to the unsuspecting children. In Chapter 9, Scout restrains herself from battling Cecil Jacobs, who claims that her father "defended niggers." Atticus later explains why his conscience would have bothered him if he had not decided to defend Tom Robinson.
The school yard is like a miniature world for Scout. In the same way that many of Maycomb's citizens look down on Atticus for defending Tom Robinson, many of Scout's schoolmates tease her for the same reason. While these kids are undoubtedly copying what they have heard their parents say, Scout brings Atticus' views to the schoolyard too. She brings the whole debate down to her generation, and bravely defends Atticus, and, at the same time, defends Tom Robinson, the black people, and all those that Atticus stands up for.
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