In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout expresses the idea that she prefers the company of her father and his friends to the company of women like Miss Stephanie Crawford. What does Scout mean by the...

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout expresses the idea that she prefers the company of her father and his friends to the company of women like Miss Stephanie Crawford. What does Scout mean by the following? “Mr. Heck Tate did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you."

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the context of this quote, Scout notes the differences between men like Heck Tate and the women of Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle. Miss Stephanie Crawford tells Scout that if she wants to be more like a lady, and less like a tomboy, she had better start wearing more dresses. At some level, Scout seems to understand that a dress does not make a woman a "lady." And in this scene, Scout is trying to reconcile that if she is to become a "lady," it had better not be the kind of lady Stephanie Crawford is. Miss Maudie is clearly the best role model of the group. The other thing to note in Chapter 24 is the comparison Scout makes between the straight-talking adult males she has encountered and the hypocrites of the missionary circle. 

Harper Lee sets up a clever transition which begins with Scout describing what she likes about adult men: 

There was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chewed; no matter how undelectable they were, there was something about them that I instinctively liked… they weren’t—

"Hypocrites" is the word that begins the next line. Scout prefers the company of men because the ladies in this group are hypocrites. Mrs. Merriweather is speaking about northern white citizens whom she feels are hypocrites because they were in favor of abolition yet they still embrace a "separate but equal" attitude about blacks and whites. While there was some truth to this, Mrs. Merriweather is a much bigger hypocrite in that she supports the missionary work with the Mrunas but is quite racist when it comes to people in her own town. 

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myerska | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Scout was a tomboy. She understood her dad's world being trustworthy because she sees his character and he is predictable. But without a mother present and women gabbing all around her, the world of a woman is a complete mystery. She feels as though women have ulterior motive and have a round about way of teasing.

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