What does Harper Lee mean by calling Miss Stephanie Crawford "a neighborhood scold"?
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee uses different characters to let us see what the town of Maycomb is really like. Miss Stephanie Crawford is known as a neighborhood scold because she seems to know everything about everyone. Whatever she thinks she knows, she tells Jem and Scout. This is where the kids get a lot of their misinformation about people.
Miss Stephanie Crawford is used in the book to show us a different perspective of the town. We see people the way Miss Stephanie sees them, even though she may be a little prejudiced about it. We get to see the way most of the town feels, but are too afraid to say it. Miss Stephanie tells Jem and Scout the way she feels about things. She doesn't sugarcoat anything just because they are children. She is the typical neighborhood busybody and thinks she knows it all.
We have all encountered a Miss Stephanie in our lives. We have all encountered someone who thinks they know everything about everybody. Harper Lee creates such an irritating yet lovable character at once in Miss Stephanie Crawford.
A neighborhood scold is a busybody who knows everything and is critical of everyone.
In chapter 1, Scout describes Miss Stephanie Crawford as the neighborhood scold because she is a nosy neighbor who is into everyone’s business and critical of everything her neighbors do.
So Jem received most of his information from Miss Stephanie Crawford, a neighborhood scold, who said she knew the whole thing. (ch 1)
You can see how having a character like this is useful. Since Miss Stephanie Crawford knows everything that happens in the neighborhood, she can share the news with Scout and Jem. Since she scolds and criticizes her neighbors, we get the local perspective and understand how people in Maycomb feel.