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What are some ways Scout shows intelligence in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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enotesggirl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM via web

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What are some ways Scout shows intelligence in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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

Posted February 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Scholastically, Scout is well ahead of her fellow first graders. She loves to read--she spends much of her spare time with books of all types (and she makes an allusion to Bullfinch's Mythology in Chapter 2)--and she reads well above grade level and can write in cursive. She sees before Miss Caroline does that her classmates show little interest in the lessons she has prepared. She is quick to see the hypocrisy that Miss Gates shows in her different attitudes toward the Jews in Germany and Maycomb's Negroes; likewise, she sees that many of the women of the Missionary Circle are hypocrites and far from being proper ladies. She knows how to manipulate Jem when needed;

     My nagging got the better of Jem eventually, as I knew it would... (Chapter 5)

and she finally recognizes the futility of using one's fists to settle an argument, summoning the courage to walk away from a fight with Cecil Jacobs for Atticus's sake:

Somehow if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being a coward for him.  (Chapter 9)

At the end of the trial, she utilizes her experience as an attorney's child to recognize that none of the jurors looked at Tom Robinson--a sure sign that they had proclaimed him guilty. She recognizes that her friend, Walter Cunningham Jr., is not trash, even if her aunt fails to see it. In the final pages of the novel, Scout discovers that one of the characters of the book Atticus has been reading "was real nice"--just like Boo Radley.

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