To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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Please provide quotes and/or dialogue describing the appearance of Miss Caroline in To Kill a Mockingbird.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In chapter two, Scout attends her first day of school and describes her young, first-grade teacher by saying,

Miss Caroline was no more than twenty-one. She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks, and wore crimson fingernail polish. She also wore high-heeled pumps and a red-and-white striped dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop (Lee, 16).

Despite Miss Caroline's attractive appearance, she is depicted as a rigid, inflexible school teacher, who is more concerned about following the curriculum instead of facilitating her students' natural abilities. Miss Caroline is also portrayed as an outsider, who hails from Winston County, which is a region full of Liquor Interests, big business, and Republicans. Miss Caroline proceeds to read a story about talking cats to her class, which bores the majority of the children, who don't understand or appreciate the story. Scout writes,

Miss Caroline seemed unaware that the ragged, denim-shirted and floursack-skirted first grade, most of whom had chopped cotton and fed hogs from the time they were able to walk, were immune to imaginative literature (Lee, 17).

Miss Caroline is clearly not familiar with her students or their country backgrounds. When she discovers that Scout can read fluently, Miss Caroline tells her,

"Now you tell your father not to teach you anymore. It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage-" (Lee, 17).

Miss Caroline's reaction to Scout's unique ability to read at such a young age is perplexing and depicts her as a rigid teacher. In chapter three, Miss Caroline attempts to chastise and threaten Burris Ewell, which is the wrong thing to do. She tells Burris,

"Burris, go home. If you don’t I’ll call the principal" (Lee, 28).

Miss Caroline's threats indicate that she is resolute and demands respect from her students. The fact that she threatens an Ewell indicates that she is naive and unfamiliar with the townsfolk of Maycomb.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Scout's new first grade teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, made an immediate impact upon the younger members of the Maycomb community. "Jem was in a haze for days" after first meeting her, and even Scout had to admit that "She was a pretty little thing." An outsider from northern Alabama where "persons of no background" resided, Miss Caroline was fresh out of college and armed with new progressive educational philosophies unknown to Maycomb. She was about 21 years old and rented a room in the upstairs of Miss Maudie's house. That she was no ordinary new Maycombian was obvious:

     She had bright auburn hair, pink cheeks and wore crimson fingernail polish. She also wore high-heeled pumps, and a red-and-white-striped dress. She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop."  (Chapter 2)

Overdressed and overwhelmed by the children over which she had little control, Miss Caroline seemed to win over most of the children aside from Burris Ewell--who called her a " 'snot-nosed slut' "--and Scout, who believed that

Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her."  (Chapter 2)

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