What are some of the things that frustrate Scout throughout the story in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remember that you can only ask one question at a time.  Feel free to ask about other characters in more questions. 

Scout is the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird.  She is an adult looking back when the story opens, but she does seem to remember what it was like to be a child.

Scout is often frustrated by others’ expectations of her.  For example, her brother Jem often accuses her of acting like a girl, even though she is one.

I swear, Scout, sometimes you act so much like a girl it’s mortifyin’.”

There was more to it than he knew, but I decided not to tell him. (Ch 4, p. 39)

Scout does not like being called a girl by Jem, as it is usually used in a derogatory fashion.  She also does like how her aunt does not approve of her overalls and tomboyish behavior.

Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants. (Ch 9, p. 83)

Scout is both fiercely independent and fairly active.  Since Atticus is older and Scout is her only sibling (and there seem to be no little girls for her to play with), she tends to use Jem and Atticus as role models.  There is no mother in the picture, and only Calpurnia as a woman’s influence.  As the enotes character description notes:

Scout maintains an innocence and an innate sense of right and wrong that makes her the ideal observer of events.... She naturally questions the injustices she sees instead of accepting them as "the way things are." (enotes character analysis, Scout)

Scout is also frustrated by anything she deems as unfair.  This includes Miss Caroline punishing her for being able to read, Jem scolding for her being a girl, Calpurnia telling her what to do, Aunt Alexandra  complaining about her clothes and behavior, and eventually the town’s treatment of Boo Radley and Tom Robinson.


Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. Print. "To Kill a Mockingbird." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 07 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/to-kill-a-mockingbird/characters>.    
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To Kill a Mockingbird

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