In To Kill a Mockingbird, how does Scout portray her caring and sensitive side?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the early chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout portrays herself as a rough-and-tumble tomboy, capable of using her fists to decide any disagreements that may come up between boys. Caring and sensitive she is not. But as she grows older, Scout gives in a bit to the demands (primarily from Aunt Alexandra) that she become more ladylike, and Scout's feminine side begins to emerge. Much of this change is owed to Dill's arrival each summer, and he becomes her first love and "permanent fiance." They share kisses when Jem is not looking, and she longs for him when he leaves at the end of each summer. After she gives a beating to Walter Cunningham Jr. in the schoolyard during the first grade, she recognizes that he's a nice enough boy and wants him to visit the Finch household. Aunt Alexandra's refusal, "Because--he--is--trash," angers Scout, but when Jem consoles her, she responds in kind, telling Jem how nice his new chest hair looks (even though Scout can't see it). She fantasizes about meeting Boo Radley and having a grown-up conversation with him.

"Hidy do, Mr. Arthur," I would say... "Evening, Jean Louise," he would say... right pretty spell we're having, isn't it?" "Yes sir, right pretty," I would say, and go on.

Scout's new-found maturity and sensitivity emerges in the final chapters, when her fantasy comes true and she comes face-to-face with her protector. She leads him to the porch and sits on the swing with him, and when Boo whispers that he is ready to go home, Scout

... slipped my hand into the crook of his arm.
     He had to stoop a little to accommodate me, but if Miss Stephanie Crawford was watching from her upstairs window, she would see Arthur Radley escorting me down the sidewalk, as any gentleman would.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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