What are Scout's weaknesses in the book To Kill a Mockingbird?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout has several weaknesses throughout the novel, which primarily pertain to her childhood innocence and inability to control her emotions. Towards the beginning of the novel, Scout has trouble controlling her temper and continually lashes out at others physically. She beats up Walter Cunningham Jr., punches Francis in the face, and even wrestles with Jem when he upsets her. Scout's inability to control her anger is typical of children her age, who have yet to develop adequate coping skills to settle themselves.

Scout's narrow, naive perspective could also be considered a weakness. For the majority of the novel, Scout is unable to recognize the overt prejudice throughout her community and does not understand various social situations. In chapter 15, Scout fails to comprehend the gravity of the situation outside of the Maycomb jailhouse, and she does not grasp the seriousness of her father's defense of Tom Robinson. Her lack of insight can, once again, be attributed to her age. 


In addition to Scout's narrow perspective, she also struggles to articulate her thoughts. On her first day of school, Scout cannot appropriately explain Walter Cunningham Jr.'s background and ends up getting punished for giving Miss Caroline attitude. Scout is also depicted as gullible throughout the novel and believes nearly everything her brother says. Despite Scout's weaknesses, she matures and gains a valuable perspective on life. By the end of the novel, Scout is a perceptive, sympathetic child, who offers a unique insight into the small town of Maycomb.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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