Why is it that the school in To Kill a Mockingbird does not teach about right and wrong?

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

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I'm not sure that your question is accurate. Although the teachers, Miss Caroline and Miss Gates, seem to stress the importance of literature and history in the main chapters about Scout's schooling, they also illustrate some aspects of what is right and wrong. Right or wrong, Miss Caroline stresses the importance of

  • Bringing lunch or lunch money each day.
  • Impertinence, or at least her version of it. She "whipped" Scout with a ruler for her indiscretion.
  • Class behavior, warning them that they, too, will be paddled with a ruler if the class "exploded" again, as they did when Scout was spanked.
  • Cleanliness, directing Burris Ewell to "go home and wash your hair" and "bathe yourself before you come back tomorrow." Burris, of course, was the wrong boy to suggest this, and he merely cursed the teacher and headed home.
  • Discipline, ordering Burris to take his seat or he would be sent to the principal's office.

Miss Gates discusses the evils of Adolf Hitler's treatment of the German Jews and the positive aspects of democracy and equal rights.



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