What "aberration of nature" scares Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 8 of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout awakens to a white world. 

Next morning I awoke, looked out the window and nearly died of fright. My screams brought Atticus from his bathroom half-shaven.

Actually, everyone should have been shocked since it had not snowed in Maycomb, Alabama, located in the southern part of the state, since 1885. So, it truly is an "aberration of nature" for an area so far south as Maycomb to receive snow. Of course, the children are distracted from their breakfast as they want to go outside and play in the snow.

The old curmudgeon Mr. Avery blames the snow on the children, telling them "bad children" make the seasons change. Ironically, their snowman, fashioned from dirt with a facade of snow, resembles Mr. Avery. As a result, the children are scolded by their father, "You can't go around making caricatures of the neighbors."

This part of the chapter is a light-hearted episode that acts as a prelude to the more serious one of the fire that consumes the home of Miss Maudie, as though to underscore Mr. Avery's accusation that the children have wreaked havoc with the weather.  

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