In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Scout represent a hope for the future?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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As the daughter of Atticus Finch, the most respected and progressive-thinking man in Maycomb, Scout represents the rising generation of Maycomb. She has been taught by Atticus to think independently, and he has served as a proper role model and father for her by being a perfect example of the liberal-minded Southern gentleman. When Scout needs advice, she need go no further than to her father, who is always available for good advice. He stresses the importance of education and forces Scout to return to school after her unhappy first day in the first grade. Scout has already been well-educated at home, being taught to read by Atticus and to write cursive by Calpurnia. Like Atticus, Scout is color blind when it comes to the races, and she believes that most people are " 'real nice' " once you get to know them. She takes to heart Atticus's advice about how

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb into his skin and walk around in it...,"  (Chapter 3)

and she understands the humane symbolism about how it is " 'a sin to kill a mockingbird.' "

She has already seen Atticus in action many times before the Tom Robinson trial and is quick to recognize

... something only a lawyer's child could be expected to see...
     A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson.  (Chapter 22)

Scout is wise beyond her years, and the events that take place during the course of the novel--particularly the children's pursuit of Boo Radley, the trial, and the Halloween attack by Bob Ewell--have forced Scout to grow up faster than most children. While standing on the Radley porch, looking out over her neighborhood after walking Boo home, she seems to understand this, too, realizing that

... Jem and I would get grown but there wasn't much else left for us to learn, except possibly algebra.  (Chapter 31)

Scout is only partially right--there will still be much growing for her to do--but it is clear that she turns out all right: She does not forget the advice offered by Atticus and when she and Jem disagree as adults, she knows

We were far too old to settle an argument with a fist-fight, so we consulted Atticus.  (Chapter 1)

Scout does give up her tomboy ways and grows into a lady--one without the racial prejudice found in the not-so-ladylike women of the missionary circle; and, if she really is anything like the author, Harper Lee (upon whom Scout is based), it is clear that Scout will find success in life and never completely abandon her Maycomb roots.

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