What are three examples of why Scout is the protagonist in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Scout is the protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird because the story is told from her point of view, it is a coming of age story centering on her maturing, and she is the only character whose struggles are portrayed throughout the book.

Scout is the protagonist because the story is told from her point of view exclusively.

Jean Louise Finch is the young tomboy who is at the center of the story in To Kill a Mockingbird.  She is six years old when the story starts, and about to start school.  When the book opens, the story is told from her adult point of view as she looks back, and we see the effects of the adult side of Scout sneaking in throughout the book describing her adventures.  The story beings with reminiscence.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. (ch 1)

This is clearly an adult looking back on the incident described at the end of the book, when Bob Ewell attacked Scout and Jem with a knife and Jem broke his arm.  You can also tell that the story is told in first person, which is limited to Scout’s feelings and thoughts.   Throughout the story, we get things from Scout’s point of view.

Scout is the protagonist because the story is a coming of age novel depicting how she grows up.

The story is also a coming of age novel, which focuses on how a child grows up.  Scout does grow up over the course of the novel, and she learns the ways of the adult world.  Things that confuse and surprise her at the beginning of the novel are not so confusing by the end.  One example is that she goes from thinking of Boo Radley as a scary ghost to seeing him as a shy man and a gentle friend.  When Scout stands on the Radley porch at the end of the book, she reflects back on the events in the story from his point of view.

Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough. (ch 31)

At this point, Scoout has grown up.  She is beginning to see the adult world for what it is, but she is also beginning to see the good with the bad.  There are Bob Ewells, but there are also Aruthur Radleys.

Scout is the protagonist because no one else’s story is told as completely as hers.

Finally, although Atticus’s trial is a key component of the story, it is not the only component.  We also do not see the trial from Atticus’s point of view, and we really know very little about the trial.  We only follow the trial when Scout follows the trial, and we only know what she knows.

Atticus was trying to show, it seemed to me, that Mr. Ewell could have beaten up Mayella. That much I could follow. (ch 17)

When Scout comes to the realization that Tom Robinson could not possibly have committed the crime, she thinks Atticus can definitely get him acquitted.  Atticus knows that it is not possible though.   We never really know this until the end, except in Scout's realizations.


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