Describe an incident in To Kill a Mockingbird when Scout is initiated into the realities of the adult world.
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I have always related to the part where Scout's teacher tells her she cannot read with Atticus anymore. One weekend when I was in 2nd grade, I took my spelling book home and carefully copied each of my spelling words in cursive--following the example in the book. When I took the list back to my teacher, she said "Oh no, no. Don't do this again. We don't want mom and dad to teach you bad habits." I always think of this when I read TKAM, and I know exactly how Scout would have felt.
Scout's interactions with the angry mob outside of the jail where Tom Robinson is being held are important to her understanding of the situation Tom and her father face. While I don't think she fully understands their intent, she can certainly appreciate the tension of the scene. It is such a nice irony that her innocence is what diffuses the situation. Her talking to Cunningham about his entailment makes all of the men realize that their actions are inappropriate. It certainly doesn't change everything, but it is a small, important event for them all.
I'd go with the visit to the First Purchase church.
While there, Scout is exposed to the adult world in two ways. First of all, she is exposed to the reality of how underprivileged the black community is in Maycomb. Second, she is exposed to the fact that some members of the black community are resentful because of the fact that they are underprivileged. She had not been aware of the idea that blacks might feel anger towards whites.
These are important realities in the adult world of Maycomb.
Another example of Scout's initiation into the adult world comes during her viewing of the Tom Robinson trial. Jem and Scout had seen Atticus in courtroom action before, but never under such circumstances. Much of the testimony was above her head, but she came to many conclusions on her own that differed with the jury's eventual verdict. Most importantly, she recognized that Tom's crippled arm prevented him from committing the crimes of which he was accused, and she saw why Atticus had once declared that the Ewells "were the disgrace of Maycomb." But when she saw the jury return from their deliberations, she
... saw something that only a lawyer's child could be expected to see...
A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson.
She saw that the adult jury could not make a fair decision because they could not get past the fact that Tom was a black man.
There were many places throughout To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout's character begins to understand things of the adult world, but the most powerful example I can think of occurs at the end of the novel when Atticus is trying to explain to her why he won't insist that Heck Tate reveal that Boo Radley killed Bob Ewell. It is a struggle for Atticus to agree to this; he is an honest man of integrity to his very core. However, he also knows what will happen to Boo if he is exposed to the kind of notoriety and/or adulation that will doubtless occur when he is identified as Ewell's killer. Atticus asks Scout if she can possibly understand why he is agreeing to this coverup, and she replies that, 'Well, it'd be sort of like shootin' a mockingbird, wouldn't it?"
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