In Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird, why was Scout puzzled by Miss Gates's comments about the United States and Germany, particularly regarding Germany's persecution of the Jewish population?

Expert Answers
lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Iin class one day, Scout's teacher was explaining the difference between a dictatorship (Germany) and a democracy (the United States).  During the course of her comments, she discussed how she didn't understand why there was so much animosity toward the Jews in Europe in general, and Germany in particular, and noting how much Jews have contributed to civilizations over the course of human history.  Scout's confusion resulted from other comments she heard this same teacher make on another occasion, about keeping blacks in the community in their place, and discouraging them from being, in the words of many Southerners, "uppity".  Scout and Jem have a discussion about this, and about the general judgmentalism of their community toward most everyone, blacks most of all; one is either from a family of "fine folks" or they are not, and nothing one does can change that in the eyes of Maycomb.  They have in particular observed this phenomenon since their Aunt Alexandra came to stay with them, and Scout is finally resigned to living with her difference of opinon, telling Jem, "I think there's just one kind of folks.  Folks." 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question