I need an explanation of the following passage's significance in Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird?"Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are...

I need an explanation of the following passage's significance in Chapter 26 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

"Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. Pre-ju-dice," she enunciated carefully. "There are not better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn't think so is a mystery to me."

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

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(I have edited your question since only one query is allowed per eNotes post.)

"Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody. Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced. Pre-ju-dice," she enunciated carefully. "There are not better people in the world than the Jews, and why Hitler doesn't think so is a mystery to me."  (Chapter 26)

The above quote is spoken by Scout's less-than-satisfactory excuse for a third grade teacher, Miss Gates. Miss Gates may be sincere when she speaks about the goodness of the Jews, but she seems blind to the racial problems that are found in her own town of Maycomb. Instead of a lesson in history, it becomes a lesson in hypocrisy for Scout. Although Miss Gates claims that "Over here we don't persecute anybody," Tom Robinson might disagree had he still been alive. Scout remembers overhearing a conversation between Miss Gates and Miss Stephanie outside the courthouse, and it is obvious to Scout that Miss Gates is far from enlightened when it comes to black-white relations. According to Scout,

"I heard her say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us."  (Chapter 26)

As Scout later asked Jem,

"... how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right here at home?"  (Chapter 26)

Sources:

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