Lee tells the story from scout's point of view, what effect does this have in any two incidents in the novel?

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James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator is speaking from the perspective of Scout in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, but it's worth remembering that the narrator is an adult woman, looking back across multiple decades as she remembers and relives her childhood. The narrator thus has far more understanding of what is unfolding that does her younger self, the one is experiencing everything first hand. To say simply that the story is told from Scout's perspective, I think, is to miss out on this often very well executed distinction between Scout-as-narrator and Scout-as-character.

Chapter 1 opens by establishing that the narrator is much older than the tomboyish Scout whom we learn to love in the novel. A number of scenes in the novel rely on this split for their effectiveness, even if they don't present it explicitly. In the scene with the lynch mob seeking to take Tom Robinson from the jail, for example, the narrator seems to me to be fully aware of the danger involved for Atticus, but the young girl Scout clearly is not aware of the same danger. This split between who has awareness and who doesn't may be seen as a type of dramatic irony (the reader is clued in and, through the details given by the narrator, perceives the danger, whereas the young girl character does not have the same understanding of the situation). This dramatic irony makes this scene in front of the jail one of most memorable of the novel for me.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

During the trial, Dill gets really sick. Scout telling this story from the point of view of a child demonstrates their innocence. Dolphus Raymond gives the two an earful while the jury is out. If you need some quotes to help you answer that question, check out chapter 21. In the first 4-5 pages, this conversation between Dill, Scout and Dolphus Raymond takes place that shows how the innocence of children reveals the vile ugliness of people's judgments and how that affects their behaviors towards one another. Although white, Dolphus has undergone much judgment by the townspeople. When they find out that it's really Coca-cola in his bottle, and not that he's a drunk, they learn another truth: Adults lie to make each other comfortable. Because Scout is a child narrator, it makes our faults as adults blatantly obvious.

mkcapen1 | Student

In the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" we have evidence that Scout is a young girl who is relatively innocent.  She has been raised to have a positive frame of mind by her father.  She is innocent to the damage that racism can cause.  Scout is used to narrate the story so that the reader can see the events through the perspective of an innocent child.

Scout is amazed by the response of the townspeople after her father takes the case of Tom Robinson. Tom was accused of raping a white girl.  After Attics takes the case children mock Scout and call Atticus, her father, a nigger lover.  In addition, people that she has always thought of as good and friends show up at the house to make threats if Atticus continues to take the case.  When she begins to recognize that Tom is innocent during the trial both she and her brother are shocked that he is found guilty.  Through Scout's the comfortable town of Maycomb rears its ugly side of racism.

Scout is also a child playing a child's game.  For all of her life people have gossiped and told stories about the Radley's son Boo.  Scout and her brother even play games about him using him as the boogieman.  As Scout matures she begins to realize hat Boo is not much different than Tom.  He is perceived the way the townspeople have create him to be, no who he really is as a human being.  Boo saves the children.  Scout comes to realize that he is gentle and not the violent creature the townspeople has represented him to be.  She also realizes that if he had been tried in a court of law for protecting the children, he would be proved guilty even though he was innocent.  The prejudices that the town held against Tom's skin color are also there against Boo's mental state and his family's reclusive nature.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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