How is Scout's attitude toward school shown in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In chapter two, of Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, readers first learn of how Scout feels about school.

I would be starting to school in a week. I never looked forward more to anything in my life.

Here, readers can see that Scout really enjoys the thought of school. She has looked forward to it going to school for a very long time. Prior to her own attendance at school, Scout would climb into the tree house and watch the children on the schoolyard through her telescope.

Later in the chapter, Scout finds out about the realities of school. Scout no longer seems to be so enthralled with school when she finds herself being punished by the teacher, Miss Fisher.

Before the first morning was over, Miss Caroline Fisher, our teacher, hauled me up to the front of the room and patted the palm of my hand with a ruler, then made me stand in the corner until noon.

Later, at recess, Scout fills Jem in on her day thus far.

“If I didn’t have to stay I’d leave. Jem, that damn lady says Atticus’s been teaching me to read and for him to stop it-”

Scout is angry that Miss. Fisher has told her to tell Atticus to leave the teaching to her.

Scout complains to Atticus about school as well.

I told Atticus I didn’t feel very well and didn’t think I’d go to school any more if it was all right with him.

Obviously, Scout is lying to Atticus about being ill. Instead, it is her feelings about school which make her wish to stay home. She states that Atticus did not go to school and turned out fine. She believes that, because of that fact, she should not have to go either.


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