What are Scout's internal conflicts?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Throughout the novel, Scout ages from six to eight years old. At this point in her life, she has always been a "tomboy." She has rejected traditional feminine roles and ideas. She is called the gender ambiguous nickname "Scout," rather than her very feminine given name, Jean Louise. She loathes everything ladylike, as demonstrated by her strained relationship with her proper Aunt Alexandra. But for a young girl to do these things (even today, but especially in the American South during the era of the Great Depression), she is considered deviant. Because Scout is very young and has only been raised by a single father, she is often "forgiven" by relatives and community members for her boyishness and rejection of the feminine. However, people around her believe that it is time for her to start learning how to be more of a lady. (A large part of the reason why Aunt Alexandra comes to visit in the first place is to "help" Scout become a lady.) She struggles with her resistance against societal norms, and her desire to keep the boyish lifestyle she adores. She struggles against the "dress" lifestyle of ladyhood. Yet, she is beginning to realize that people around her are expecting her to act in a way she does not want to act. She does not want to change, even as the society she lives in continually insists that she should.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial