Why does Scout get in a fight with Cecil Jacobs in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Scout gets into a fight with Cecil Jacobs in To Kill a Mockingbird because Cecil accuses her father of defending "n*****s." This is a reference to Atticus's taking on the case of Tom Robinson, a Black man charged with the rape and assault of Mayella Ewell.

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Although Scout tries her best to control her temper, Cecil Jacobs provokes her by announcing to the entire playground that her daddy "defended n*****s." Scout is too young and naïve to understand the meaning of the racial slur but takes offense to Cecil's accusation. She immediately clenches her fist and is prepared to defend Atticus by fighting Cecil Jacobs.

Atticus understands that Scout has a short fuse and has warned her numerous times to control her temper. Atticus has even threatened to spank Scout if she gets into another physical altercation. That evening, Scout inquires about Cecil Jacob's racial slur, and Atticus offers her a reasonable explanation. Atticus also tells Scout that he is representing a Black man named Tom Robinson and encourages his daughter to keep her "head high and ... those fists down."

Atticus also instructs Scout to try fighting with her head for once and tells her not to let anyone get her goat. The following day, Cecil Jacobs continues to provoke Scout by saying, "My folks said your daddy was a disgrace an' that n***** oughta hang from the water-tank!" Instead of clenching her fist and threatening Cecil, Scout follows her father's advice and reluctantly walks away.

Scout's decision to take the high road illustrates her respect and admiration for Atticus. Unfortunately, Scout can only restrain her temper for so long, and she ends up punching her cousin, Francis Hancock, in the face for calling Atticus a "n*****-lover."

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Scout loves and adores her father and will not tolerate anyone saying bad things about him. So when a boy called Cecil Jacobs does just that, she doesn't hesitate to spring into action to defend her dad.

Scout has promised Atticus that she won't fight, but she forgets all about her promise when Cecil Jacobs says that Scout's father defends "n*****s." This is an allusion to Atticus's conducting the legal defense of Tom Robinson, a Black man charged with the rape and assault of Mayella Ewell. Tom is completely innocent of any crime, but because he's Black and the woman he's accused of raping and assaulting is white, he has absolutely no chance whatsoever of being acquitted in court.

A lot of people in Maycomb aren't happy that Atticus has agreed to defend Tom in court. Somehow, this prejudiced attitude has filtered down to Cecil Jacobs, who taunts Scout over her father's decision to represent Tom.

Although by getting into a fight, one could say that Scout is clearly defying her father's wishes, at the same time, she's emulating her father in standing up for what she believes. Just as Atticus passionately believes that Tom Robinson is entitled to the very best legal defense, so Scout believes, no less passionately, that her father's reputation must also be defended.

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At the beginning of Chapter 9, Cecil Jacobs announces to the schoolyard that "Scout Finch's daddy defended niggers." Upon hearing this, Scout clenches her fists and tells him to take it back. It is not directly stated whether Scout actually fights Cecil on the schoolyard. Lee writes that Scout was prepared to fight and forgot about her father's advice, but never mentions if Scout actually takes a swing at Cecil. Later that night, Scout has a conversation with her father about Cecil Jacobs's comments. Atticus explains to his daughter that he is defending a black man named Tom Robinson. Atticus then encourages Scout to keep her fists down and control her anger. The next day on the playground, Cecil Jacobs refuses to take back his comments and says his parents think Atticus is a disgrace. Despite Cecil's derogatory comments, Scout maintains her composure and calmly walks away.

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Scout fights with Cecil Jacobs because he insults her father for defending Tom Robinson.

Cecil Jacobs is a town kid, “who lived at the far end of our street next door to the post office.”  Scout gets into a fight with him when he insults her father.  Scout has promised Atticus that she will not fight, and he said he would “wear her out” (spank her) if she did it.  Yet Cecil angered her so much she forgot.

Cecil Jacobs made me forget. He had announced in the schoolyard the day before that Scout Finch's daddy defended niggers. I denied it, but told Jem. (ch 9)

Cecil Jacobs was telling the truth.  Scout does not understand why what he is doing is a bad thing.

Atticus explains that all he is doing is defending a Negro, Tom Robinson.  He tells her that there is nothing wrong with that.  He believes that he must do it, because he could not hold his head up if he did not.  He has to do it for his own self-respect, because he has to do what he thinks is right.

In a way, both Scout and Atticus are standing up for what they believe in.  Atticus is defending with words, and Scout is defending with fists.  Atticus is trying to show her that his way is better.

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