Direct Characterization In To Kill A Mockingbird

What are 4 direct characterization quotes used about Scout in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Direct characterization is a term used to describe when the a character says something specific about a character. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is the narrator and does most of the direct characterization.

In Chapter 2, Scout describes her excitement about starting school soon. She tells about how she looked through a telescope at the schoolyard and wished to go join the children there. She sees Jem playing outside the school and envies the fun he is having. Scout is filled with longing:

I never looked forward more to anything in my life. Hours of wintertime had found me in the treehouse, looking over at the schoolyard, spying on multitudes of children through a two-power telescope Jem had given me, learning their games, following Jem's red jacket through wriggling circles of blind man's bluff, secretly sharing their misfortunes and minor victories. I longed to join them.

Scout finally starts school, but it is not what she expected it to be. In Chapter 4, she describes her impression of school. She is bored by it. She does not like many of the teaching methods. She had held high hopes for school, so she is disappointed:

As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something.  Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.

Scout is sometimes hesitant to participate in the daring schemes that Dill and Jem come up with. When she protests, Jem criticizes her and calls her a girl. Scout does not like this, but she also does not want to be involved in things she considers foolish. In Chapter 4, Scout retreats to Miss Maudie's house when this happens:

But I kept aloof from their more foolhardy schemes for a while, and on pain of being called a girl, I spent most of the remaining twilights that summer sitting with Miss Maudie Atkinson on her front porch.

Aunt Alexandra and Scout do not get along well. Aunt Alexandra annoys Scout. She wants to make Scout into a young lady. Scout prefers to wear pants and play outside. In Chapter 9, Scout describes her conflicts with her aunt:

Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire.  I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants. Aunt Alexandra's vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father's lonely life. I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well, but Aunty said that one had to behave like a sunbeam, that I was born good but had grown progressively worse every year. She hurt my feelings and set my teeth permanently on edge, but when I asked Atticus about it, he said there were already enough sunbeams in the family and to go on about my business, he didn't mind me much the way I was.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Among the five methods of characterization, there is direct characterization which is defined as follows:

Direct characterization occurs when the author specifically reveals traits about the character in a direct, straightforward manner.

Since the narrative is not told from omniscient or third-person point of view, it is not possible to have direct characterization. Scout is, in fact, the narrator of Harper Lee's novel, so the novel is told from first-person point of view, which cannot be "a direct, straightforward manner."

Now, given this question, the only way to answer it is to seek quotations in which Scout comments upon herself, revealing her traits by telling them, rather than dramatizing. 

1. In Chapter 2, after Miss Caroline criticizes Scout for being able to read, Scout analyzes her situation:

I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers.

2. "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read." (Chapter 2)

3. In Chapter 24, at the Missionary Tea, in which Scout is made to wear a dress, she comments directly about herself,

Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere.

4. After taking Boo Radley home in Chapter 31, Scout reflects that Atticus has been accurate in saying that one never knows someone unless he/she "stands in his shoes and walks around in them. For Scout,

Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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