What is the cause of Scout's outburst at the start Chapter 9 of To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout’s outburst is a result of Cecil Jackson saying her father “defended niggers.”

Scout has a temper.  This is why her father told her he would “wear her out” if he caught her fighting.  He knows it is unladylike and thinks she is too big for fighting.  He also realizes that Scout is going to hear much worse as the trial looms closer.

Atticus never actually hits his children, despite all of his threats to do so.  Instead of punishing Scout, Atticus has a meaningful heart to heart conversation with her when she asks him if what Cecil said was true.  Atticus objects to her using the word Cecil used, calling it “common.”

"I'm simply defending a Negro- his name's Tom Robinson… Scout, you aren't old enough to understand some things yet, but there's been some high talk around town to the effect that I shouldn't do much about defending this man.” (Ch. 9)

Scout may be young, but she is about to be thrown into the situation whether she is ready or not.  This is why she describes the fight as “the beginning of a rather thin time for Jem and me” (Ch. 9).  Children, and even some adults, have no qualms about targeting the Finch children because their father is defending Tom.  Their racism prevents them from accepting the fact, and they take it out on his kids.

Angie Parisi | Student

At the beginning of chapter 9, Scout is furious because Cecil Jacobs announced that her father is "defending niggers". She doesn't really know what this means but it was enough to make her frustrated. 

She thinks Cecil insulted her father so she gets very angry when she hears him talking like that about her father. She has a temper and she goes to Atticus ready to pick up another fight, demanding explanations for Cecil's comment

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question