In To Kill a Mockingbird chapter 1, the first-person detached narrator is relating a story set in the distant past. What insight into the region, town, its inhabitants, and her family does she...

In To Kill a Mockingbird chapter 1, the first-person detached narrator is relating a story set in the distant past. What insight into the region, town, its inhabitants, and her family does she choose to begin with? Is this form of narration reliable? Knowing it is a mature woman telling her childhood story has what effect upon the reader?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Scout begins telling her readers about Maycomb at just about as far back as possible. She paraphrases Atticus's info about Maycomb and the Civil War, and then she tells the reader how Atticus came to be in Maycomb. Scout then walks her readers through a brief overview of the slow southern life that existed in Maycomb during her childhood.  It includes streets and houses complete with picket fences and neighbors who know everybody.  The second half of chapter 1 devotes itself to telling about the mystery of Boo Radley. 

I do believe that the narrator being an older woman makes her more reliable to the reader.  It gives Scout the credibility of having years of maturity to temper some of her emotions in the story. Her age and distance allow her to be more factual in her retelling. If young Scout were telling the story, the reader would be subject to much more emotional embellishments.  

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