In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, why does the group at the jail disperse after Scout's conversation with Mr. Cunningham? What does this show about mob psychology?

In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, the group at the jail disperses after Scout's conversation with Mr. Cunningham because her presence allows Walter to exercise perspective and sympathize with Atticus's difficult situation. This shows that mob psychology can be broken when individuals appeal to each other on a personal level and demonstrate their humanity.

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In chapter 15 of To Kill a Mockingbird, the group at the jail disperses after Scout's conversation with Mr. Cunningham because they are embarrassed to take the action that they contemplate in front of Scout and the other children.

Scout is very young. Unlike Jem, she does not understand what the mob of men is doing at the jailhouse. She does not realize that they mean to confront Atticus and harm Tom. Her lack of understanding is evident by her demeanor.

She views the gathering with the excitement that only a small child would. She believes that it is some sort of social gathering, and she rushes in to share in the fun. When she sees Mr. Cunningham, she greets him in an open, childlike, and friendly manner. She reminds him that she and his son Walter are classmates. “Hey, Mr. Cunningham,” she yells to him and repeats when he does not respond. She then reminds him,

Don’t you remember me, Mr. Cunningham? I’m Jean Louise Finch. You brought us some hickory nuts one time, remember?... I go to...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1174 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 4, 2020