What are three quotations from To Kill a Mockingbird that describe Scout understanding racism (include chapters and pages)?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 11, Scout asks her father what the term "nigger-lover" means. She explains to Atticus that Francis, as well as Mrs. Dubose, had used the term to describe him. Atticus explains the meaning behind the racial slur to his daughter by saying,

"nigger-lover is just one of those terms that don’t mean anything—like snot-nose. It’s hard to explain—ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody" (Lee, 112).

In chapter 16, Scout, Jem, and Dill arrive at the courthouse square and spot Dolphus Raymond and his children. After Dill asks a few questions regarding Dolphus, Jem mentions that Dolphus has a few mixed children. Scout asks her brother what a mixed child is and he responds by saying,

"Half white, half colored. You’ve seen ‘em, Scout. You know that red-kinky-headed one that delivers for the drugstore. He’s half white. They’re real sad" (Lee, 163).

Following Tom's trial and unfortunate death, Scout reads Mr. Underwood's editorial and contemplates the metaphorical meaning behind Underwood's comparison of Tom's death to the "senseless slaughter of songbirds." Scout demonstrates her maturity and understanding of race relations by saying,

"Atticus had used every tool available to free men to save Tom Robinson, but in the secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed" (Lee, 245).

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not completely sure that Scout totally understood the racist attitudes that pervaded Maycomb. At one point, when Dill is crying after Mr. Gilmer's harsh cross-examination of Tom Robinson, Scout tells him,

"Well, Dill, after all he's just a Negro."

Jem seems to grasp the injustice that has befallen Tom much more than his sister. Nevertheless, there are several examples of Scout's sensitivity toward the black man. During her meeting with Dolphus Raymond, she tells him that

   "Atticus says cheatin' a colored man is ten times worse than cheatin' a white man," I muttered. "Says it's the worst thing you can do."  (Chapter 20)

During her visit to Calpurnia's church, Scout gets to see a different side of Maycomb. Lula, a large black woman, questions Cal about the Finch children's presence, telling her that the white children did not belong there.

Jem said, "Let's go home, Cal. They don't want us here--"
I agreed: they did not want us here.  (Chapter 12)

mrs-nelson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout also begins to understand racism in Chapter 26 when she participates in a lesson in school about Adolf Hitler.  Her teacher states:

"That's the difference between America and Germany.  We are a democracy and Germany is a dictatorship. Over here we don't believe in persecuting anybody.  Persecution comes from people who are prejudiced" (258)

Scout later questions Atticus and Jem about the obvious hypocrisy in this statement.  She wants to understand why prejudice is not acceptable against the Jewish people in Germany, but it is perfectly acceptable against the African American people in Maycomb.

danielle824 | Student

I know one here it is:

“I think there’s just one kind of folks.

Folks.”- Scout Finch Chapter 23

I like it because it shows that she thinks that, if we try hard enough, we could all get along.


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To Kill a Mockingbird

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