Describe a time in the beginning of "To Kill a Mockingbird" where Scout shows empathy.

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mrwickline eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3 of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Scout shows empathy towards Miss Caroline after she is verbally abused by Burris Ewell. In the previous chapter, Miss Caroline had upset Scout by reprimanding her for her ability to read and write. Scout does not offer her compassion to Miss Caroline when the entire class breaks out in laughter after Miss Caroline’s ineffective attempt to punish Scout. However, in Chapter 3 Miss Caroline gives Burris Ewell the directive to go home and wash his hair. Miss Caroline then threatens to report him to the principal, which results in Ewell’s ignorant response:

“Report and be damned to ye! Ain’t no snot-nosed slut of a schoolteacher ever born c’n make me do nothin’! You ain’t makin’ me go nowhere, missus. You just remember that, you ain’t makin’ me go nowhere!” (3.37)

Miss Caroline breaks down and cries following this verbal attack. Scout and the other students crowd around Miss Caroline and offer words of compassion. Scout shows empathy for Caroline because she is a newcomer to Maycomb County and was treated disrespectfully, which isn't part of “Maycomb ways.”

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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