What are examples of "Hypocrisy vs. Integrity" in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the best examples of this occur with Scout's first and second grade teachers, Miss Caroline and Miss Gates. Miss Caroline is fresh out of college, newly armed with all of the freshest modern educational ideology. But her head is so swelled with her own self-importance that she fails to recognize that Scout is several years ahead of the other students in terms of reading and writing. When Miss Caroline discovers that Scout can read well and write cursive, she immediately tells her that all of her learning must be undone, and that she must start again from scratch. Showing a total lack of knowledge about Maycomb and its citizens; and showing little regard for Scout's feelings or intelligence, Miss Caroline declares that "your father does not know how to teach."

The following year, Miss Gates preaches about Hitler's mistreatment of the Jews in Germany, claiming that the Jews "contribute to every society they live in... are a deeply religious people... persecuted since the beginning of history." She could be talking about Maycomb's own Negro population, and one would expect someone with such sympathy for the Jews to also have a similar reaction to the persecution of the blacks in the Deep South. Not so. Scout remembers overhearing a conversation Miss Gates had with Miss Stephanie when, referring to the Negroes in Maycomb, she declared that

"... it's about time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can marry us." 

Scout was quick to see the hypocrisy in both of her teachers even if they didn't recognize it in themselves.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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