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In Chapter 2 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout finally gets to attend her first day of school.
I never looked forward more to anything in my life.
Sadly, the day turns out to be a disaster for Scout. She is disgraced by the new teacher, Miss Caroline, who stupidly scorns her for her ability to read at well above the first grade level. Miss Caroline orders Scout to stop reading with Atticus, since
"Your father does not know how to teach."
She is "spanked" by the teacher with a ruler for trying to explain why Walter Cunningham has no lunch money and is forced to stand in the corner to the delight of the class. At the beginning of Chapter 3, she unleashes some of her fury on Walter,
"... rubbing his nose in the dirt."
Chapter Two of To Kill a Mockingbird sees Scout reach an important milestone: her first day of school. Despite the fact that this is the event that Scout has been eagerly waiting for, she finds that her reception is not as welcoming as she had hoped. Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, turns out to be a rather discouraging presence; after discovering with "faint distaste" that Scout can already read, Miss Caroline informs Scout that she must not allow her father to teach her anymore since it would "interfere" with her work at school. Miss Caroline proclaims:
Now you tell your father not to teach you any more. 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.
Scout gets in trouble once again later that afternoon after trying to explain to Miss Caroline that little Walter Cunningham has not brought a lunch to school and will not accept Miss Caroline's offer of a quarter to buy lunch with because he is too poor to do so:
The Cunninghams never took anything they can't pay back... They never took anything off of anybody, they get along on what they have. They don't have much, but they get along on it.
Infuriated by this "impertinence," Miss Caroline gives Scout "a dozen quick little pats" on the hand with her ruler and forces her to stand in the corner. Despite these unfair punishments, Scout realizes that Miss Caroline is a young teacher and must be terribly overwhelmed by her new class.
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