To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover
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How does society shape and influence Scout in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, society attempts to shape and influence Scout (and all children, we can infer), and how she sees the changing world around her, while characters such as Atticus and Miss Maudie encourage her to view much of what happens with an unjaundiced eye, leading with her heart and not the prejudicial sentiments of many of Maycomb's residents.

For example, the menfolk from town have decided upon Tom Robinson's guilt, so much so that they come to the jail to lynch him. Atticus is prepared for this possibility and has parked his chair in front of the building's door. Out of curiosity, Scout follows Jem who is worried about Atticus. Scout does not comprehend what is going on, especially that the situation is extremely dangerous for Tom, Atticus and the children.

In this scene, the norm of this predominantly white community (that remembers the Civil War and the South's defeat all too clearly) is to take the law into their hands, regardless of the justice system that...

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