The obvious irony of this charitable remark by Miss Gates is apparent when Scout relates to Jem what she has overheard Miss Gates say to another citizen as she descended the courthouse stairs during the Robinson trial:
I heard her say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us.
Also, in Chapter 2 the novel Miss Caroline embarrasses Walter Cunningham by asking him why he does not have his lunch. While she may not have meant to be cruel, her insensitivity does make Walter feel somewhat persecuted. Viewed in retrospect, the reader realizes that this scene is a foreshadowing of the different treatment given to different classes in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Certainly, poor Tom Robinson is "persecuted" when the mob comes one night to demand that Atticus hand Tom over to them, and he is persecuted by the grave injustice of the guilty verdict against him, a verdict handed down by hypocrital jurors.