To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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How does Scout's character present hope for the future in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Scout represents the rising generation of Maycomb inhabitants who will influence change in the community during the immediate decades following the end of the Great Depression. She and Jem will be part of the group of educated men and women who will lead Maycomb from the "baby-step(s)" that Atticus takes toward racial equality to an even more enlightened attitude that will culminate in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. Scout will follow in the footsteps of Atticus and Miss Maudie--individuals who are color-blind when it comes to the races--and not the 19th century attitudes of misguided women like Miss Stephanie and the supposedly "devout" ladies of the missionary circle such as Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Farrow. Scout's independent streak will probably stay intact and be an asset to her as women gain equal rights to men in the years to come. As she learns to control her temper and the flying fists that often result during disagreements, she will follow in the footsteps of Maudie and her Aunt Alexandra as a proper lady. Her intellect and education will serve as an example to the next generation of children in Maycomb, children--black and white--who will be required to attend school instead of remaining illiterate, uninformed and socially outcast (like Bob Ewell's kids). That Scout can gain insight from the terrible events of the Halloween night in which she and Jem are nearly killed--she recognizes that involving Boo Radley's actions would be "like shootin' a mockingbird," and sees how "Most people are [real nice]... when you finally see them"--is testimony that she will be a positive example for the next generations who live in Maycomb.

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