Jean Louise Finch (a.k.a. Scout) exemplifies innocence, purity, and youth in Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. She is proof that discrimination and prejudice are vices taught to children, not built into our DNA. Consequently, she doesn't understand why adults say and do certain things; thus, she proves her youth by many of the questions she asks about the world. For example, she asks Miss Maudie about Arthur Radley because she doesn't understand the ghost-like figure he's become in neighborhood lore. The biggest question that dumbfounds Scout about Boo is why he doesn't want to come outside! For a little girl, life outside is the best! Miss Maudie explains as follows:
"'Arthur Radley just stays in the house, that's all,' said Miss Maudie. 'Wouldn't you stay in the house if you didn't want to come out?'
'Yessum, but I'd wanta come out. Why doesn't he?'
Miss Maudie's eyes narrowed. 'You know that story as well as I do.'
"I never heard why, though. Nobody ever told me why.'"(44).
Children show their youth and inexperience by asking "why" questions. Again, they want to understand the world around them and "why" is the best way to find out.
Scout also has difficulty with obedience because of her youth. She hasn't learned to master temper at age 6 when she starts first grade and she tends to get into fights. Throughout the book, Scout learns, improves and develops into a more well-rounded little girl as she starts to understand her place in the world. It isn't easy, though. It takes Atticus, Jem, Maudie, Uncle Jack, and Aunt Alexandra to whip that little girl into becoming well-mannered. When she finally becomes more obedient, she finds life is easier.
The best representation of Scout being obedient is later in the novel after the trial. Scout is dressed in a party dress and participating in one of Aunt Alexandra's tea parties. Scout sits properly and quietly as she listens to the prejudiced comments spewing from the guests' mouths. Tension soars as Atticus comes in and privately tells Calpurnia and Alexandra that Tom Robinson died. After he leaves, Alexandra becomes overwhelmed and Scout can't stop shaking from the stress. The old Scout probably would have over-reacted and done something out of control; but Miss Maudie tells her to stop shaking and she stops immediately. They must return to their guests and continue being polite and Scout obeys. She says the following:
"Aunt Alexandra looked across the room at me and smiled. She looked at a tray of cookies on the table and nodded at them. I carefully picked up the tray and watched myself walk to Mrs. Merriweather. With my best company manners, I asked her if she would have some.
After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I" (237).
Additionally, Scout has a history of not obeying her Aunt. In the above passage, she shows obedience to her Aunt, which is much better than previous behavior.