What's ironic about Scout wanting to run away in To Kill a Mockingbird.Also, what does she mean when she said she felt the walls closing in on her?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

    Scout's first day in the first grade was so bad in the Harper Lee novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, that she considered hitting the road out of Maycomb.

    When I passed the Radley Place for the fourth time that day--twice at full gallop--my gloom had deepened to match the house... the prospect of spending nine months refraining from reading and writing made me think of running away.

The irony of the situation is that the over-zealous and inexperienced teacher, Miss Caroline, has ordered Scout to stop reading at home with her father--a ridiculous command to come from a teacher; it not only works against the idea that practice makes perfect, but it also attempts to eliminate an educational necessity that is also an important part of Scout's life. It is also humorously ironic that Scout "gallops" past the Radley Place to get home from school, but wants to run away from home to get away from the problems at school.
   Later, in Chapter 14, Scout overhears Atticus and Aunt Alexandra talking about how "we don't need her now," and thinks they may be talking about her.

    Who was the "her" they were talking about? My heart sank: me. I felt the starched walls of a pink penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought about running away.

Of course, it was not Scout they were discussing; it was Calpurnia.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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