Where is Scout called a "nigger lover"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 9, Cecil Jacobs tells Scout's classmates on the playground that her father "defend[s] niggers," which prompts a discussion between Scout and Atticus concerning the upcoming Tom Robinson trial. The next day on the playground, Scout exercises her patience and does not attack Cecil Jacobs when he begins ridiculing Atticus again.

Later on in the chapter, Scout's cousin, Francis Hancock, tells her that Atticus is a nigger-lover and is disgracing their entire family. Despite Scout's lack of understanding, she realizes that Francis is using a derogatory term and takes offense to his comments about her father. After Francis runs away from Scout, she acts like she is no longer upset at him, and Francis slowly comes within Scout's striking distance. Francis then softly says, "Nigger-lover . . ." (Lee, 86). Scout responds by immediately punching Francis in the teeth, which ruins the family's Christmas gathering.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Chapter 11 of "To Kill a Mockingbird" Scout asks her father

'Atticus....what exactly is a n____-lover?'

Atticus's face was grave.  'Has somebody been calling you that?'

'No sir, Mrs. Dubose calls you that.  She warms up every afternoon calling you that.  Francis called me that last Christmas, that's where I first heard it.'

So, Scout is called the pejorative term in Chapter 9.  Francis, the cousin of Scout tells her that their grandmother

says it's bad enough he lets you all run wild, but now he's turned out a n-lover we'll never be able to walk the streets of Macomb agin.  He ruinin' the family that's what he's doin'.

Then Francis hurls his insult at Atticus, and, finally he calls Scout one.  Even Atticus's own relatives have what he terms "Maycomb's usual disease," For they demean Atticus for defending Tom Robinson, even though he was assigned to be the public defender.  As a man of conscience, Atticus feels that it is only right that he defend Tom as well as he can.  Besides this matter of ethics, Atticus also knows that Tom is innocent and should not be charged with the crime simply because he is black.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial