What is the race of Scout's family? Black or white?    

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The Finch family is white.

One of the major things that is going on in the book centers around the fact that they are white and that they are pretty much one of the higher class families in Maycomb.  Because they are those things, it makes it a lot more remarkable that Atticus Finch is defending Tom Robinson, the black man who has been accused of raping the white woman, Mayella Ewell.

One of the major points of the book is that Atticus is tolerant and that he is trying to teach his kids that same sort of attitude.

litgeek2015's profile pic

litgeek2015 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Scout's family is white, as are most of the families in Macomb that Lee focuses on. The point of the story is to draw attention to racism in the South and Harper Lee does this by telling the story from the perspective of an adult white woman remembering her childhood in Maycomb.

The story follows Scout as she recounts the time that her father, Atticus, took on the case of Tom Robinson, a black man. Tom was wrongly accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although the Ewell family was not a respected one, and Tom Robinson was a respected back man, the town is still enraged that a black man has raped a white woman and they call for his conviction. Atticus takes the case and defends him with everything he has, but Tom is still convicted. This shows that that despite being Tom innocent, the town was unwilling to admit that the white man in this case (Mayella's abusive father) could have been to blame and that the black man was correct. This would have had far-reaching connotations and consequences in the South at that time, and we get the impression from the book that most people in two believed Tom had to be guilty anyway simply because he was black.

Although Scout and her family are white, her father Atticus "tries to love all people" and earnestly attempts to teach this to both of his children throughout the book. The underlying message of the novel is that racism is a choice.



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