In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says, “I ran by the Radley Place as fast as I could, not stopping until I reached the safety of our front porch. One afternoon as I raced by, something caught my...

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout says, “I ran by the Radley Place as fast as I could, not stopping until I reached the safety of our front porch. One afternoon as I raced by, something caught my eye and caught it in such a way that I took a deep breath, a long look around, and went back.” How does this show Scout's character?

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Robert Ludwig | In Training Educator

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Throughout the text, you'll find Scout to be a character who is rather impulsive. Instead of thinking carefully, she simply acts. Sometimes these actions work in her favor, but, quite often, they do not.

The Radley house is a source of mystery for the children, as they've heard numerous tales about what has happened behind closed doors. While the reader cannot believe all of the stories Scout shares, we have nothing else to go by. We do, however, know that these are the same stories that we, in our childhood, heard about certain people in our own neighborhoods. These stories tell us about Scout's character. She (and the other children) are willing to believe such fabricated tales, even though they are so outrageous and cannot be true. Even so, these stories instill fear in Scout, and she, being safe rather than sorry, must run past the Radley house as quickly as possible, so as not to be "captured" by the evil, heinous Boo Radley. (Mr. Radley and Mr. Nathan Radley are also looked at as evil characters, but we learn very little about them, except that Mr. Radley locked his son in the basement.)

As Scout is the youngest out of the children, she frequently whines about being the first to take part in any activity. For example, when Jem and Dill want to roll around in the tire, Scout continues to whine until Jem gives in and lets her go first. As Jem and Dill push her in the tire, she rolls down the street, right into the Radleys' front yard. This terrifies her, simply because to touch the Radley house means certain bad luck for the rest of her life.

While the Radley house is a place filled with "haints" (as the children call them) and evil spirits and is a source of horrible luck, the shiny object in the knothole of the tree catches Scout's eye. As afraid as she is to step foot onto the Radley property, her curiosity gets the best of her. This shows us that, although scared of the stories she's heard about the Radley house, there is a hint of doubt in her mind about the truth behind them. She's willing to investigate the source of the shining, which will eventually earn her "bragging rights" with Jem and Dill.

Is she maturing? Probably not. But she is conquering her fear of the Radley house and the stories she's heard (even if it is simply for bragging rights).

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