What info can you give me about Scout being a "mockingbird" in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout Finch qualifies as a "mockingbird" in the novel because she does not act out of malice or selfishness. She is, essentially, harmless and in need of protection. These are the qualities that define the figure/symbol of the mockingbird in the text. 

Along with Atticus Finch and Mr. Underwood, Miss Maudie discusses mockingbirds: 

"they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us."

Atticus tells his children that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, implying through this admonishment that these creatures are in need of protection (unable to protect themselves). 

We see this need of defense in the novel's strongest examples of "mockingbirds", Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. These are characters that do no harm to others, yet suffer from negative reputations and accusations levelled at them from the townspeople.

Robinson and Radley are not equipped to defend or protect themselves, for various reasons. Scout, as we see in the novel's climax, shares this quality.

When Bob Ewell attacks Jem and Scout, the children need protection. It is Boo Radley who comes to their aid, ensuring that these two harmless children make it home alive. 

 Boo Radley...turns out to be their protector.

Just as Boo Radley and Tom Robinson are defined by their good deeds and their aid of others, Scout comes to fit this same role as she walks Boo Radley home at the end of the novel. 

Very much like the other "mockingbirds" in the novel, Scout seeks to do good and needs more protection that she can give herself.

erudite | Student
Scout is a 6-8 year old throughout the course of the novel. As a child, Scout is innocent and has not faced the prejudices of life. However as the novel progresses we see that all the things that are happening to her are allowing her to lose her innocence. For instance, she is no longer confused by the conviction of Tom. She knew he was trialled fairly, but "in the secret courts of men's hearts" Tom had no chance. Mr. Dolphus Raymond just wants to be able to be accompanied by black people without being judged. He is only an innocent man who is trying to hide his human preferences. He knows that in such a society, people would never accept his decision without him pretending he was a drunk. In this way he is a mockingbird because all he wants is to be able to hang around with black folks without being attacked and judged for it. Similarly, Mayella Ewell is a mockingbird because she is just a person. A person with desire. She wanted to kiss a black man, and her desire was stronger than her principles. Due to this innocent need for affection, Mayella was beaten by her father and judged, as though she had done something terribly wrong.
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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