What are some ways Scout shows intelligence in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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This is a great question. A number of things can be said, but the ending of the novel shows how much Scout has grown in maturity and intelligence. In some ways, she is more intelligent than Atticus as she is able to see the aftermath of the death of Bob...

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This is a great question. A number of things can be said, but the ending of the novel shows how much Scout has grown in maturity and intelligence. In some ways, she is more intelligent than Atticus as she is able to see the aftermath of the death of Bob Ewell in a more nuanced way than even Atticus.

When Bob Ewell dies, Atticus wants to proceed in a very literal and legal way. He wants transparency, which would put Boo Radley in the limelight, the very thing that would crush a recluse like him. Heck Tate sees this point, and he tries to convince Atticus that Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He says this point many times, but Atticus has trouble listening to it.

In the end, Atticus agrees. And he believes that Scout will have a difficult time understanding such adult things, but Scout grasps it faster and arguably better than Atticus. Here is the text:

Atticus sat looking at the floor for a long time. Finally he raised his head. “Scout,” he said, “Mr. Ewell fell on his knife. Can you possibly understand?”

Scout shows here intelligence by saying:

“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?”

This last conversation shows that Scout is one of the keenest characters in the whole book. There are, of course, more examples, such as when Scout is able to read at such a young age that she even challenged her teacher, but this final dialogue takes pride of place.

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Scout is advanced for her age and demonstrates her ability to read fluently on the first day of school. Scout has an affinity for literature and learned to read at a young age from sitting on her father's lap as he read various articles and books. Scout also has the ability to write in cursive and composes a letter to Dill during one of Miss Caroline's classroom activities. In addition to Scout's scholastic talents, she is also a very perceptive child.

Scout demonstrates her intelligence by sympathizing with Mayella during Tom's testimony and also knows the verdict by analyzing the juror's behavior before Judge Taylor reads it aloud. Scout also comprehends Mr. Underwood's editorial regarding Tom's death when he compares it to "the senseless slaughter of songbirds."

Later on, Scout reasons that individuals are inherently equal despite their different backgrounds and opportunities by saying,

"Naw, Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks" (Lee, 231).

Scout also recognizes the hypocritical nature of the ladies attending Aunt Alexandra's missionary circle, as well as Miss Gates's hypocritical statements regarding prejudice in America. Towards the end of the novel, Scout displays her intelligence by metaphorically applying Atticus's lesson about not killing mockingbirds to Boo Radley's situation. She also displays her intelligence by viewing Maycomb from Boo's point of view while standing on his porch.

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Scholastically, Scout is well ahead of her fellow first graders. She loves to read--she spends much of her spare time with books of all types (and she makes an allusion to Bullfinch's Mythology in Chapter 2)--and she reads well above grade level and can write in cursive. She sees before Miss Caroline does that her classmates show little interest in the lessons she has prepared. She is quick to see the hypocrisy that Miss Gates shows in her different attitudes toward the Jews in Germany and Maycomb's Negroes; likewise, she sees that many of the women of the Missionary Circle are hypocrites and far from being proper ladies. She knows how to manipulate Jem when needed;

     My nagging got the better of Jem eventually, as I knew it would... (Chapter 5)

and she finally recognizes the futility of using one's fists to settle an argument, summoning the courage to walk away from a fight with Cecil Jacobs for Atticus's sake:

Somehow if I fought Cecil I would let Atticus down. Atticus so rarely asked Jem and me to do something for him, I could take being a coward for him.  (Chapter 9)

At the end of the trial, she utilizes her experience as an attorney's child to recognize that none of the jurors looked at Tom Robinson--a sure sign that they had proclaimed him guilty. She recognizes that her friend, Walter Cunningham Jr., is not trash, even if her aunt fails to see it. In the final pages of the novel, Scout discovers that one of the characters of the book Atticus has been reading "was real nice"--just like Boo Radley.

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