In "To Kill a Mockingbird", why does Scout get into another fight at school?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 9 of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout becomes angered at school by Cecil Jacobs's remark that her father defends African-Americans.  Scout denies this, and later asks her father if he does defend "Negroes."  He tells her that he cannot hold up his head if he does not defend Tom Robinson, explaining why and instructing Scout to "fight with your head." And, she is to remember that this time they are not fighting Yankees, but their "friends."

The next day, Scout tries to keep her father's words in mind, but she insists that Cecil retract his words.  He refuses and insults her father further, but Scout does not hit him; she feels noble.  However, later at Christmas dinner, her cousin Francis insults Atticus in the same manner as Cecil.  Scout is incensed that Francis would say this and "collars" him and does not allow him out of the kitchen.  Then she splits her knuckle on his front teeth.  But, because she has called Francis a name, Scout is punished with a "licking" from Uncle Jack.

gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Scout's first fight at school takes place when she beats up Walter Cunningham Jr. for getting her into trouble with Miss Caroline. As was mentioned in the previous post, Scout gets into an altercation at school with a boy named Cecil Jacobs after he begins to ridicule Atticus by saying, "Scout Finch's daddy defended niggers." Although Scout does not understand the meaning of the phrase, she senses that it is a derogatory remark and loses her temper. Later that night, Scout has a discussion with her father, and he explains Cecil Jacobs' remarks. Atticus also challenges Scout to control her temper and not let anyone get her goat. The next day at school, Scout runs into Cecil Jacobs on the playground, and he refuses to take back his comments about Atticus. Cecil Jacobs even takes it further by telling Scout that his folks think Atticus is a disgrace. However, Scout remembers Atticus's advice and calmly walks away without hitting Cecil Jacobs. Scout's actions demonstrate her self-control and display her maturation. 

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zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Scout gets angry at someone who calls her father a bad name. This is because he is protecting Tom Robinson and taking the side of justice, however because of the views held in society, the kid believes that it is wrong and is making fun of Scout's dad.