How is Scout naive in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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There's one lovely scene in To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout shows her naivety. Maycomb is experiencing its first snowfall since the end of the Civil War—that's about 70 years in all. Most adults in the town have never seen snow falling, let alone the children. So when Scout looks out the window that morning, she's absolutely terrified by what she sees. As Scout has never experienced snow before, she doesn't know how to handle it. It's all so strange to her that it genuinely seems like the end of the world. She screams out loud as the flakes gently fall outside her window, causing Atticus to rush into her bedroom to see what's wrong. Scout wants Atticus to do something—anything—to stop the impeding apocalypse. But it's just a rare Alabama snowfall, nothing more.

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Being that Scout is five years old at the beginning of the story, many of the events described are narrated from her naive point of view. She lacks the maturity and ability to comprehend different situations throughout the story and is unaware of the overt prejudice throughout her community. Scout continually displays her childhood innocence by asking numerous questions concerning explicit subjects. Scout asks Atticus what the term "nigger-lover" means and inquires about the definition of "rape" from Calpurnia. Scout lacks the ability to grasp the gravity of the situation when she enters the circle of men outside of the Maycomb jailhouse in chapter 15 and does not fully understand the significance of her father's defense of Tom Robinson.

Scout also portrays her naive personality by fearing her reclusive neighbor and believing nearly every story that Jem tells her. As the novel progresses, Scout matures and gains perspective on the world beyond her self. Following Tom's trial, Scout begins to perceive the overt prejudice throughout Maycomb and views Boo as a shy, compassionate man, instead of a "malevolent phantom."

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