What does “I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to" mean and how does it pertain to To Kill a Mockingbird?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the controversial Tom Robinson trial over, Scout tries to settle back into everyday life. She starts the third grade. Scout walks by the Radley house each day, hoping to catch a glimpse of Boo.

Despite the normalcy in life, Scout feels "the events of the summer [hang] over [them] like smoke in a closed room" (To Kill a Mockingbird, chapter 26). She senses people in Maycomb still disapprove of Atticus for defending Tom Robinson. She senses her peers are being polite to her and Jem because their parents order them to do so. She feels like parents pity Jem and her because they cannot help who their father is. They cannot help their father defended a black man against a white woman.

There is much disapproval in the town toward Atticus, but the citizens still re-elect him to serve in the state legislature. Scout finds this strange. People are suspicious of Atticus for defending Tom Robinson, but they trust still him to help pass laws for the state. She reflects on this:

I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar, I withdrew from them, and never thought about them until I was forced to.

Scout does not understand why people do and say certain things. For example, her teacher strongly dislikes Hitler and his treatment of Jews, but is openly prejudiced against the black people in Maycomb. Scout observes hypocrisy, and she distances herself from it. It confuses her, and she chooses not to think about it unless necessary.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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