Where does Scout spend most of her time in Harper Lee's book, To Kill a Mockingbird?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Harper Lee's classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, we might first look for a particular and physical spot where Scout spends most of her time. For example, we know the tree house is a good place for playing, but also thinking things through. However, I think that we need to answer the question from a much broader perspective.

We should note that Scout spends great deal of her time in places of the imagination, which she, with Jem and Dill, creates during their free time. Often they are imagining themselves as characters in one of Jem's adventure stories:

Thereafter the summer was passed in routine contentment Routine contentment was: improving our treehouse that rested between giant twin chinaberry trees in the back yard, fussing, running through our list of dramas based on the works of Oliver Optic, Victor Appleton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. In this matter we were lucky to have Dill. He played the character parts formerly thrust upon me—the ape in Tarzan, Mr. Crabtree in The Rover Boys, Mr. Damon in Tom Swift. Thus we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies.

For all of the summers the three youngsters spend together, their imagination is a place that fills the many hours of daylight. This also includes the fantasies they have about Boo Radley. Between rumor and imagination, the children come up with all kinds of ideas and wild imaginings that often bring them close to disaster or deliver them up to be seriously reprimanded by Atticus.

In an ever broader sense, however, we see that Scout spends most of her time in the outdoors. Not a youngster to stay in on a sunny day, Scout is out and about experiencing the world in a variety of ways. Jem, Dill, and Scout play pretend, often about Boo Radley or the heroes of their books. In the winter, Jem and Scout are outside after Scout's first snowstorm, making a snowman that looks alarmingly like one of their neighbors. Receiving air rifles for Christmas, the kids are outside using them (this is when they learn that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, as they are creatures that sing, bringing pleasure to the listener, but never do anyone harm).

Outside of the house, Scout and her brother go to the courthouse to hear their father defend Tom Robinson. Walking into town one day, they cross paths with nasty Mrs. Dubose, who says terrible things about Atticus. When Jem retaliates, Scout and Jem find themselves in Mrs. Dubose's company, reading to her. Another time, they notice the sick dog out on the street and learn about their father's particular skill in shooting. At the novel's end, Scout is out with her brother, returning home from a community program in which Scout participated. It is here that they are attacked.

The majority of what Scout learns during the course of the novel comes from experiences that take place outside of Finch home.

Throughout the novel, Scout spends most of her time playing in some manner—often through the use of the kids' collective imaginations. However, even all these games take place while Scout is out in the world; Scout (and Jem) come home only when called for dinner or bedtime. It is in this way that Scout learns so much about Maycomb. The character of Scout is able to be an masterful voice in the story's narration. While she is still relatively innocent, it is because of her involvement in so much of what takes place in the community that Scout is able to recall the events of that time and share them so adroitly with the reader—making the novel not only a classic coming-of-age story, but also one that addresses important social, religious and ethical questions of the day.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question