In Chapter 14 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says - "for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately." Why does she say so? What was the first time when she has felt like...

In Chapter 14 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says - "for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately." Why does she say so? What was the first time when she has felt like running away?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 3 of To Kill a Mockingbird, after Miss Caroline orders her to stop reading at home and is further humiliated after her explanation about Walter Cunningham by having her hand struck with a ruler, Scout contemplates running away from home:

When I passed the Radley Place for the fourth time that day--twice at full gallop--my gloom had deepened to match the house... the prospect of spending nine months refraining from reading and writing made me think of running away.

Then, in Chapter 14 after the arrival of the imperious Aunt Alexandra, Scout again considers running away. For, when she tells her father that Calpurnia has taken her and Jem to church and now promises that Scout can come to her house one afternoon, Aunt Alexandra, who has the sense of propriety characteristic of the upper class of the Old South that does not believe in the association of the races, peremptorily pronounces, "You may not." Infuriated, Scout retorts, "I didn't ask you!" Of course, Atticus immediately reacts to Scout's disrespect by jumping from his chair and pinning her to the wall. "His voice was deadly: 'First, apologize to your aunt.'"

Further, her father explains to Scout that she must obey Calpurnia, himself, and "as long as your aunt's in this house," Scout must obey her, too. Feeling humiliated, Scout retreats to the bathroom where she can "retire with a shred of dignity." Through the door, Scout hears her aunt scolding her brother, telling him he has been too lenient with "her"; however, the liberal-minded Atticus replies that he sees no harm in allowing Scout to visit Calpurnia, who would be as solicitous there as she is in the Finch home. As she listens to this exchange, Scout feels as if 

the starched wall of a pink cotton penitentiary [were]closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately.

This independent, free-spirited child clearly finds what she considers illogical restrictions placed upon her as anathema. Scout is agreeable to any of Atticus's well-reasoned explanations; however, when unreasonable--at least to her--people impose iron restrictions upon her, Scout bristles and feels trapped and threatened, and wants to run from them.

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