From what point of view is To Kill a Mockingbird written?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is told from the point of view of Scout, an adult who narrates in retrospect during the time of the narrative.

This interesting mix of adult and child in Scout as narrator contributes greatly to the narrative as a bildungsroman, or a novel of maturation. While the ingenuous Scout describes the events of the story in such a manner that the reader receives a non-judgmental commentary and can follow the maturation of the main character, the adult Scout can insert herself into the narrative when needed for explanation. 

Such an occasion for this injection of the adult perspective occurs when Scout first attends school and her teacher Miss Caroline seems different from other teachers. The adult Scout inserts herself into the narrative, explaining that Miss Caroline is from Winston County in northern Alabama, a county to this day that is viewed with negativity by many residents of Alabama because it was disloyal to the state during the Civil War by being sympathetic to the North. Scout even adds commentary on how this county is more like a Northern state:

North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background. (Ch. 2)

The use of Scout-the-child and Scout-the-adult as narrator enriches the narrative of To Kill a Mockingbird, making the novel appealing to both young and old.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Harper Lee chose to narrate To Kill a Mockingbird through the eyes of Scout Finch, the youngest character in the novel. It is written in first-person, but the unusual aspect of it is that the novel is told from both the youthful child's point-of-view as well as from her mature, adult perspective. This idea was initially scorned by some critics when the novel was first released; some apparently did not understand that the "adult prose" came from a future viewpoint. Lee's decision has since been reconsidered as highly innovative.  

Nick Aaron Ford asserted in PHYLON that Scout's narration "gives the most vivid, realistic, and delightful experiences of child's world ever presented by an American novelist, with the possible exception of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn."

It also allows Scout to use her adult hindsight to explore many of the more serious themes of the novel, giving them a more astute view than a six year old could have managed.

zumba96 | Student

The book is written from Scout's point of view. She retells everything that happens in Maycomb as well as the case that occurs and the situations the children find themselves in as they grow older. The book mainly revolves around Tom Robinson and how he was wrongly accused of rape and how Atticus attempts to defend him.  

cockatoo41 | Student

From the point of view of Scout Finch, a 6 year old girl whose brother is Jem and father is Atticus.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question