What is Lee’s intent in To Kill a Mockingbird by having Scout say:“…As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home,...

What is Lee’s intent in To Kill a Mockingbird by having Scout say:

“…As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me.”

(pp. 32–33)

 

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Simply put, Scout was bored with school. Scout was already well ahead of her classmates when she entered the first grade, having learned how to read at an early age and knowing how to write cursive. She got off on the wrong foot with Miss Caroline on the first day, and apparently things got no better. She didn't understand the importance of "Group Dynamics" or the "Dewey Decimal System." (Actually, Jem had gotten it all wrong when he told Scout that Miss Caroline's new system of teaching was the Dewey Decimal System. The DDS is a method for coding library books, named after Melvil Dewey; Miss Caroline was actually implying the education reform taught by John Dewey.) She thought the "miles of construction paper and wax crayon" were a waste of time. Reading books were apparently not on Miss Caroline's agenda (probably because few of the other kids could read), and Scout could not understand this--even Jem, who was educated on a "half-Duncecap basis," could not be stopped from "getting at books." Scout had expected so much out of school before she got there, but after experiencing it, she could only envision "twelve years of unrelieved boredom."

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