What are some examples of Scout's unbiased point of view in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee?

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We might accurately speak to Scout's innocence and even ignorance, however, the nature of her point of view is only somewhat unbiased.

Scout maintains an innocence and an innate sense of right and wrong that makes her the ideal observer of events...

Scout is open to change and growth, perhaps remarkably so. She is not without her biases though, as she demonstrates repeatedly. This is true of Scout as a character and a narrator. Opinion and editorial are distinctly present in the narrative, from the child's point of view and from that of the narrating voice.  

One episode that demonstrates Scout's bias and her willingness to let that bias be challenged comes when Aunt Alexandra invites some society women over to the house. 

At the time of this meeting, the Tom Robinson case has been settled with Robinson being found guilty. Some women at the party talk about the regrettable and pitiable (though blameworthy) role that Atticus Finch played in the trial. Atticus is denigrated in front of Scout.

Mrs. Merriweather criticizes the good but misguided people who thought they were doing right “but all they did was stir ’em up.”

Though Scout does not follow the conversation completely, she notices when Miss Maudie tersely challenges the women about their opinions. In Scout's view, Atticus has done  nothing wrong and we have already seen that she is fierce when affronted. 

Scout has fought before over remarks no worse than those of Mrs. Merriweather. This pride is part of her biased perspective, as she seems to feel that no one has a right to insult her family. When Miss Maudie resorts to language as a defense of pride, Scout realizes that there are more ways to fight than with fists.

Scout learns that the ability to control one’s emotions is necessary not only to become a young lady, but to achieve a level of maturity as a human being.

The fact that Scout is able to serve the ladies cookies after the insults suggests that she is prepared to adjust her perspective on proper or necessary behavior. Whereas once she may have felt retaliation was needed, she now decides to follow the examples of Miss Maudie and Aunt Alexandra. 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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