What are political, economic, and social solutions to Scout's problems in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of Scout's personal problems in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is that she struggles to accept society's gender role for her. Scout prefers to act like a tomboy, whereas Scout's society has determined that, due to her gender, she must act like a lady.

Scout finds being a girl to be very restricting, as seen in her frequent battles with her Aunt Alexandra over the subject. Aunt Alexandra frequently ridicules Scout for wearing overalls. When Scout protests that she "could do nothing in a dress," Aunt Alexandra's response shows just how much Scout is confined by her society's vision of her gender role. According to her aunt, Scout should not be "doing things that required pants"; instead, Scout should be "playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace" given to Scout by her aunt (Ch. 9). Later, when Scout attends her aunt's missionary circle meeting dressed in her Sunday best, Scout is ridiculed by Miss Stephanie, who asks Scout if she wants to "grow up to be a lawyer" (Ch. 24). Scout's response further shows just how much she is being restricted by society's gender role for her: "Nome, just a lady" (Ch. 24).
There are multiple solutions that can be and have been applied to Scout's personal problem concerning society's gender role for her. Scout's problem is mainly a social problem, and along with the Civil Rights Movement, the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s paved the way for greater opportunities for women. No longer are women restricted in education or employment. However, such a significant social problem cannot be resolved without politicians creating new legislation; therefore, Scout's personal problem is also in this sense a political problem. The women's liberation movement also paved the way for the creation of new legislation aimed at protecting the rights of women, including the Equal Rights Amendment.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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