What examples does Harper Lee use to show that Scout does not act like a proper, young Southern lady in Chapter 6 of "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this humorous chapter, Scout is the one who asks about watching out for Mr. Avery. She revels in relating Dill and Jem's comments about Mr. Avery's special "prowess." Scout clearly enjoys being part of the boys' schemes.

At first we saw nothing but a kudzu-covered front porch, but a closer inspection revealed an arc of water descending from the leaves and splashing in the yellow circle of the street light, some ten feet from source to earth, it seemed to us. Jem said Mr. Avery misfigured, Dill said he must drink a gallon a day, and the ensuing contest to determine relative distances and respective prowess only made me feel left out again, as I was untalented in this area.

She also uses what can be considered unladylike language (within the context of her time). When Jem and Dill proclaim their desire to try to get a look at Boo Radley, she demands:

“But why in the sam holy hill did you wait till tonight?”

Even though Jem and Dill would prefer that Scout go home, she decides to join them instead. Along with both boys, she crawls under the fence that encloses the Radley lot. Then, like the two boys, she spits on the garden gate to lessen its creaking as the trio try to make their way quietly into the Radley backyard.

When the children get to a side window, Scout helps Jem hoist Dill up to the window. Later, she tramples noisily through the Radley collard patch, as the three try to beat a hasty retreat from the Radley property. Scout then stays silent when Dill and Jem make up stories about their exploits to Atticus; she is complicit in the effort to throw the grown-ups off the scent of their most recent activities on the Radley property.  

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout has already displayed her tomboy tendencies in the previous chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. She plays boys' games, such as football and rolling in a tire; she prefers her overalls to skirts; and she likes to fight. In Chapter 6, she "leaped over the low wall that separated Miss Rachel's yard from our driveway." She relates a humorous but unladylike story about Mr. Avery's yellow "arc of water." She joins Jem and Dill on their trek to the Radley's back porch, crawling under a wire fence in the hope of getting a peek at Boo. She helps Jem hoist Dill up so he can look inside the Radley window. She trips and falls in the Radley collard patch and then "rolled" through the fence on their way to safety. She "crawled under the fence" that led to the Deer Pasture and then climbed her back fence. Finally, she is implicated (albeit falsely) in playing a game of "strip poker" with Dill and Jem.

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