Internal Conflict In To Kill A Mockingbird

What are some of Scout's internal conflicts and resolutions in the beginning of  To Kill a Mockingbird?

They should be around chapters one to eleven.

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An internal conflict is a struggle a person has with him or herself.  Usually, internal conflicts take the form of difficult decisions, fears, or confusion.

Scout is afraid of the Radley house.

The Radley house is one of Scout’s curiosities, but she is also genuinely afraid of it.  She runs by it when she’s alone, she won’t eat the nuts that fall from the trees, and she is terrified when the tire she is riding in ends up in the front yard.

I raised my head and stared at the Radley Place steps in front of me. I froze. (ch 4)

The greatest example of this internal conflict the Radley place causes is when Scout finds the chewing gum.  At first, she is afraid to eat it because it might be poisoned.  Then she tries it anyway.

Of course this conflict is not resolved until later in the book, when Scout gets to know Boo better and comes to like him.

Scout does not know what to do about school.

In the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is a young girl.  She is just about to start school.  At first, she is not sure she likes it.  As Scout says in chapter 2, she looks forward to school because not going made her feel left out.

If the remainder of the school year were as fraught with drama as the first day, perhaps it would be mildly entertaining, but the prospect of spending nine months refraining from reading and writing made me think of running away. (ch 3)

Scout thought learning would be fun, but she finds school to be a place she cannot really fit in.  She makes a deal with Atticus to secretly read, but she is still frustrated by school.

Scout is unsure how to react to her father’s defense of Tom Robinson.

As often happens, the external conflict with people who tease her about her father defending a Negro turns into an internal conflict as Scout tries to decide what to do about it.  Her father tells her not to fight, but she has a hard time.

I drew a bead on him, remembered what Atticus had said, then dropped my fists and walked away, "Scout's a cow-ward!" ringing in my ears. It was the first time I ever walked away from a fight. (ch 9)

Scout continues to struggle with how she feels about her father and the case throughout the book.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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