Why does Scout prefer the world of men to the world in which "fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently, and drank cool water"?  "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

With the prevailing theme of Prejudice and Tolerance in Harper Lee's bildungsroman, "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout repudiates hypocrisy, seeking real causes and real reasons for the events that happen in this narrative.  And, it is usually in the female characters that pretense and narrow-mindness exist. For instance, Miss Caroline Fisher, Scout's teacher, insists that the students adhere to a system of learning rather than teaching them individually even though she must realize how much Scout has learned.  Miss Stephanie Crawford, the town gossip, contends that Boo Radley peeks into her bedroom, but when Miss Maudie asks her if she moves closer to the window, Miss Stephanie reacts in such a way that it is obvious that she has lied.  Even Scout's Aunt Alexandra exhibits hypocrisy when she is offended by the children's attending church with Calpurnia, yet she and the other corseted ladies discuss their African mission at the Sunday teas.  Of course, the most outrageous hypocrite is Mayella Ewell, who perjures herself at the trial of Tom Robinson, who treated her with nothing but kindness.

It is because of her father's influence and her natural tendency to be in harmony with his common sense and logical thinking that Scout likes only Calpurnia and Miss Maudie, who are genuine. In fact, her predilection to be a tomboy seems a logical outcome of a girl who has much common sense.  Frills and affectation are simply not for Scout Finch.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Above all else, as the narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch is a tomboy who prefers her favorite garb--overalls--to that of a dress. Scout was based on the author Harper Lee, who was "a rough 'n' tough tomboy," according to childhood friends. Miss Lee also idolized her father, as does Scout, so it is no surprise that these important personality traits of the writer are also embodied within Scout.

Scout has been brought up by her father, Atticus (she never knew her mother), and he is undoubtedly her primary role model. She has little good to say about most of the women in the novel, with the exception of Miss Maudie. Her only sibling is brother Jem. There are apparently no girls her age in the neighborhood, and when Dill arrives each summer, he solidifies the threesome of best friends. Scout obviously looks up to Jem, and she tries to keep up with him in everything he does. Their games are masculine games for the most part; there is no mention of Scout playing with dolls, and even her baton is used by Jem as a weapon to destroy Mrs. Dubose's camellias. At school, she plays and fights with Walter Cunningham, Cecil Jacobs and Little Chuck Little; she has no apparent girl friends. Scout can wear a dress when necessary, as she does at the missionary circle, but she feels more comfortable wearing her overalls in the company of males.

mkcapen1 | Student

In "To Kill a Mocking bird" Scout and Jem have been brought up by their father Atticus with the help of Calpurnia.  Atticus has been open and honest with his children.  Scout has one brother named Jem.  He is the oldest but not so far from her age.  Scout is impudent and mischievous and very much a tomboy.  Atticus has always engaged Scout in real conversations about life and interesting things.  Scout identifies more with the males in her lives than the females.  The women that she is around are old and very southern.  It was a time when women were more about frills and teas than books and learning.  Scout has inherited her father's intellect.  She just can not relate to the women around her.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question