How does Scout being a girl affect her life? What does she see as benefits of being a girl in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sometimes it seems that Scout doesn't even realize she's a girl. She dresses in boy's clothes most of the time--overalls are her favorite--she has no girl friends or dolls, and her only close companions are brother Jem and Dill (during the summer months when he's in town). If it weren't for Alexandra and Calpurnia reminding her to be "ladylike," Scout would probably never notice the difference. She certainly can handle herself physically with boys, beating up Walter Cunningham Jr. and Cecil Jacobs in the schoolyard, and cousin Francis at Finch's Landing. She even kicked a grown man in the groin in front of the jail, causing him to "fall back in real pain."

As Jem grows older, it is he that often reminds her of the difference. Scout doesn't like it at first, but she seems to adjust to the fact that Jem sometimes serves as an escort and protector, like on their walk to and from the school on the fateful Halloween night late in the story. She even succumbs to the wishes of Aunt Alexandra, when she decides there are times when it's best to act like a lady, as she does willingly during the Missionary Circle tea. She revels in her walk with Boo, arm in arm, back to his house in the final chapter, with

Arthur Radley escorting me down the sidewalk, as any gentleman would.

And she had already discovered a sometimes feminine trait that worked to her advantage in Chapter 5 when she admitted that

My nagging got the better of Jem eventually, as I knew it would...

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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