What are some examples of Scout being opinionated?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book, Scout has never been shy about making her opinions known.

One example of Scout being opinionated is when she argues with Calpurnia about Jem's moodiness in Chapter 12. As the story goes, Scout is feeling frustrated with Jem's recently erratic and emotional behavior. Both Atticus and Calpurnia tell Scout that Jem is "growin' up," but this explanation makes little sense to Scout. Atticus advises her to be patient with Jem and to "disturb him as little as possible." Meanwhile, Calpurnia maintains that Jem is "gonna want to be off to himself a lot now, doin’ whatever boys do."

However, both explanations do little to comfort Scout; in fact, she has her own theory about Jem's irritating behavior, and she doesn't hesitate to let Calpurnia know all about it:

“He ain’t that old,” I said. “All he needs is somebody to beat him up, and I ain’t big enough.”

On another memorable occasion, Scout makes her opinion known without reservation. In Chapter 17, Bob Ewell uses a racial slur and a crude accusation to slander Tom Robinson in court. Meanwhile, Reverend Sykes advises Jem to take Scout home. He thinks that Scout is too young to be exposed to Bob Ewell's crude behavior and words. Jem, not wanting to miss the trial, tells Scout and Dill to go home.

For her part, Scout isn't about to be turned off so easily. She challenges Jem to make her go if he really wants to get rid of her. For his part, Jem knows that he can't very well engage in fisticuffs with his sister in court, so he ends up scowling at her and making an excuse to Reverend Sykes. Jem maintains that Scout doesn't really understand everything that's going on. At this point, Scout proudly and unequivocally proclaims:

“I most certainly do, I c’n understand anything you can.”

Later, on an even more memorable occasion, Scout speaks her opinions clearly and resolutely. When Sheriff Tate advises Atticus against exposing Boo Radley for his courageous actions, Scout speaks up in support of the lawman's position. Her words cement Atticus' final decision to "let the dead bury the dead."

“Scout,” he said, “Mr. Ewell fell on his knife. Can you possibly understand?” Atticus looked like he needed cheering up. I ran to him and hugged him and kissed him with all my might. “Yes sir, I understand,” I reassured him. “Mr. Tate was right.” Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. “What do you mean?” “Well, it’d be sort of like shootin‘ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?”


Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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