What are some examples of how Scout Finch is courageous in To Kill a Mockingbird? Please include quotes and chapters.

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout Finch is courageous throughout the book. Being pegged a tom-boy from the beginning, readers see this in her willingness to fight any boy that comes along or even any adult that questions her. Part of her courage though comes from the naivety of being a child. She doesn't always know or understand the danger around her.

In chapter 2, Scout represents the voice of reason from the children to their new teacher Miss Caroline. She speaks on their behalf, which  took courage since she ultimately gets in trouble for most everything she says to Miss Caroline:

Impatience crept into Miss Caroline’s voice: “Here Walter, come get it.”

Walter shook his head again.

When Walter shook his head a third time someone whispered, “Go on and tell her, Scout.”

I turned around and saw most of the town people and the entire bus delegation looking at me. Miss Caroline and I had conferred twice already, and they were
looking at me in the innocent assurance that familiarity breeds understanding.

I rose graciously on Walter’s behalf: “Ah—Miss Caroline?”

“What is it, Jean Louise?”

“Miss Caroline, he’s a Cunningham.”

I sat back down.

In chapter 15, Scout bursts into a mob of men potentially about to hurt Atticus: 

This was the second time I heard Atticus ask that question in two days, and it meant somebody's man would get jumped. This was too good to miss. I broke away from Jem and ran as fast as I could to Atticus.

Jem shrieked and tried to catch me, but I had a lead on him and Dill. I pushed my way through dark smelly bodies and burst into the circle of light.

"H-ey, Atticus!"

I thought he would have a fine surprise, but his face killed my joy. A flash of plain fear was going out of his eyes...

Here Scout demonstrates her courage as she runs to Atticus, and reveals the danger within as she narrates Atticus' reaction to her presence.

In chapter 31, Scout meets Boo face-to-face. She treats this man like a child. She acts like a parent leading a child throughout their exchange. Courage is modeled in this scenario because she has feared Boo for so long, and now, her fear is a real friend:

Boo had drifted to a corner of the room, where he stood with his chin up, peering from a distance at Jem. I took him by the hand, a hand surprisingly warm for its whiteness. I tugged him a little, and he allowed me to lead him to Jem’s bed.

Further Reading:
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 Several times in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout displays courage when faced with fear.

Early in the narrative, Scout speaks of a "malevolent spirit" that dwells in a house down the street from her. She lives in fear of this purportedly restless spirit. But, when Dill Harris arrives in the neighborhood to stay at his Aunt Rachel's for the summer, he is intrigued with this spirit called Boo Radley. So, he designs a small drama around Boo. Jem agrees to role play with Dill and suggests that Scout pretend to be Mrs. Radley. Scout contradicts Jem, "I declare if I will. I don't think—" Interrupting, Dill taunts her, "'S'matter?....Still scared?" Scout argues, "He can get out at night when we're all asleep..." With no sympathy for her, Dill turns to Jem and tells him, "You and me can play, and Scout can watch if she's scared." Despite her fear, Scout bravely plays the role of Mrs. Radley. To her relief, "all [she] had to do was come out and sweep the porch" (Ch. 4).

Another courageous act of Scout's occurs when she, Jem, and Dill approach the jailhouse where Atticus is accosted by a mob. When Scout hears her father tell Jem to go home, a "burly man" grabs her brother and shakes him roughly, saying, "I'll send him home." Scout courageously intervenes for her brother by kicking the man swiftly and telling him, "Don't you touch him!" Then, Scout sees Mr. Cunningham. Unafraid of the other men, she speaks to him. "Hey, Mr. Cunningham. How's your entailment gettin' along?" Discomfited by this direct address to him by Scout, who has singled him out from the mob, Mr. Cunningham becomes uneasy with the situation. Scout bravely continues to talk to Cunningham despite "the sweat gathering at the edges of [her] hair" (Ch. 15).

After this uncomfortable situation, Mr. Cunningham feels shame that he has accosted Mr. Finch, who has always treated him fairly and has graciously accepted food as payment for his services. Bending down and taking Scout by the shoulders, Mr. Cunningham addresses her as "little lady." Then he tells the other men, "Let's clear out." The men return to their cars and depart. Scout's courage has diffused a dangerous situation.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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