What are some examples and quotes to show the narrator, Scout, is naive in To Kill a Mockingbird?Scout, innocence

Expert Answers
schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout has adult conversations with Atticus.  We, the reader, never really know how much she absorbs and understands, but she is smart and far beyond her years.  However, there are certain areas where her naivety is obvious, and some of those situations get her in trouble, and some are humorous.

Scout looks out the window one morning and nearly died of fright.  She screamed and Atticus came running into her room.

"The world's ending, Atticus!  Please do something" (pg 64)

 It was snowing, and she had never seen snow --- not unusual in Alabama.

When Scout visits the family, her cousin, Francis, says horrible things about Atticus.  Scout hits him in the mouth.   Uncle Jack reprimands her for hitting Francis and cussing.  Uncle Jack asks Scout what Francis said about Atticus. 

"A nigger-lover.  I ain't very sure what it means, but the way Francis said it..." (pg 86)  

She didn't even know what "nigger-lover" meant ---- she just knew it wasn't nice from the way it was said.  She had to ask Atticus to get a definition later in the book.  

One of the funnier conversations is when Scout and Dill discuss  where babies come from.  Dill says you can order one from this man who rows across from an island.  Scout replies,

"That's a lie.  Aunty said God drops 'em down the chimney.  At least that's what I think she said." (pg 144)

A serious situation happens when Atticus is approached by the mob at the jail, Scout has NO idea how dangerous that situation was.  She walked right up to those men and started talking to them.  Her young wisdom made the men realize the situation Atticus was in and that he had helped out many of them in that town.  Scout says,

"Well, Atticus, I was just sayin' to Mr. Cunningham that entailments are bad and all that, but you said not to worry.  It takes a long time sometimes.... and that you all'd ride it out together" (pg 154)

Later in the book, Jem tells Scout there are four kinds of people: ordinary people, people like the Cunninghams, people like the Ewells, and the Negroes.  When Scout asks him about the Chinese and the Cajuns, he tells her that the four kinds of people were from Maycomb County.

"I told Jem if that was so, then why didn't Tom's jury made up of folks like the Cunninghams, acquit Tom to spite the Ewells? Jem waved my question away as being infantile. "  (pg 226)

After the trial, Scout comments that few people ever discussed the issue with the children.  However, Scout thinks,

"There was one odd thing, though, that I never understood: in spite of Atticus's shortcomings as a parent, people were content to re-elect him to the state legislature that year, as usual, without opposition.  I came to the conclusion that people were just peculiar." (pg 243)

Finally, in 1933, Congress enacted the National Recovery Act that was to ensure fair competitive prices for industry.  The Supreme Court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional and it "died". Scout says that Maycomb  returned to normal except for two minor changes.  One of them was that the people had taken signs out of their windows that said "NRA --WE DO OUR PART". 

"I asked Atticus why, and he said it was because the National Recovery Act was dead.  I asked who killed it: he said nine old men." (pg 251)

The voice used in To Kill A Mockingbird is more mature than an eight year old would write, so the reader tends to think of Scout as more mature, but she does have her naive moments.





Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question