What are three passages that exemplify Scout's sense of humor and sharp insight through her witty quips in Chapters 7 to 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is obvious that Scout has inherited her father's subtle sense of humor  in her narratives about her relationships with her brother and those at school and in her neighborhood.

  • Chapter 7

As she is an adult recounting her experiences as a child, Scout's description of her brother Jem's moods and actions, there is a touch of satire. For instance, at the beginning of the chapter, Scout states that Jem has been moody for a week. She satirizes her father's advice in this way,

I tried to climb into Jem's skin and walk around in it:  if I had gone alone to the Radley Place at two in the morning, my funeral would have been held the next afternoon.

Likewise, she lightly mocks her brother, 

One afternoon when we were crossing the schoolyard...Jem suddenly said:"There's something I didn't tell you."

As this was his first complete sentence in several days, I encouraged him: "About what."

  • Chapter 8

In similar "tongue-in-cheek" humor, Harper Lee's Soutern wit is exemplified in Scout's opening remark in this chapter:

For reasons unfathomable to the most experienced prophets in Macomb County, autumn turned to winter that year.

Here Scout makes light of the old farmers who sit around the courthouse or at the diner counter and discuss the weather for the next season, predicting what it will be based upon the previous seasons and other subtle indications that only one practiced with Nature's ways can detect. These "most experienced prophets" often consult The Farmers' Almanac and evaluate the weather based upon what the Almanac has in it about the full moons, rain frequency, etc.--all those determiners from which they can form prophecies

  • Chapter 9

Consistent with her humor demonstrated in the previous examples, Scout wittily discusses her Aunt Alexandra:

Had I ever harored the mystical notions about mountains that seem to obsess lawyers and judges, Aunt Alexandra would have been analogous to Mount Everest: thoughout my early life, she was cold and there.

This description, too, is lightly satirical, and satire always mocks people's foibles.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question