In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, why does Scout desire to be a tomboy?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout doesn't fit in with the stereotypical notions of what a girl should be. She dislikes wearing dresses and dreads participating in tea parties. As such, she develops a reputation for being a tomboy and seems to relish her status as an outsider to feminine society.

Although Lee never explains exactly why Scout chooses a tomboy lifestyle, it's likely that Atticus has something to do with it. Atticus treats both Scout and Jem as equals, encouraging them to learn, think critically, and develop a principled moral code. This environment is important for Jem, but it's even more important for Scout. In the midst of a society that's intent on keeping women in the home, Atticus teaches Scout how to reject such tradition, think for herself, and become an independent, self-sufficient individual in her own right. As such, Scout likely becomes a tomboy because Atticus has emphasized the importance of education and independence, and it goes without saying that these two qualities run counter to the subordinated status of many women in Maycomb. 

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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