Why does Scout rub Walter Cunningham's nose in the dirt?
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This is because he made her "start off on the wrong foot with her first grade teacher, Miss Caroline.
Scout got in trouble with Miss Caroline partly because she was trying to explain to the teacher why Walter did not have any lunch. Scout was trying to explain to the teacher that Walter was too poor to have lunch. Miss Caroline got mad at Scout because of this.
Miss Caroline is mad because (in my opinion) Scout makes her feel like she does not know what she is doing on her first day at this new school.
Scout rubs Walter Cunningham's nose in the dirt because she thinks that it is his fault that she got in trouble with Miss Caroline, her first grade teacher.
After having already gotten off to a rocky start when Miss Caroline reprimanded her for being too advanced in reading (a skill which Miss Caroline attributed to the "inappropriate" and unskilled intervention of Atticus), Scout's situation only worsens when she attempts to rescue Walter from certain humiliation. Miss Caroline notices that Walter did not bring a lunch to school and insists that she will give him a quarter to purchase one as long as he pays her back the next day. Hearing this, Scout intervenes and explains that Walter is a "Cunningham," which means that he won't accept the quarter from Miss Caroline because he will not be able to pay it back; he is too poor to do so, just as he is too poor to bring a lunch.
Unfortunately for Scout, Miss Caroline is sick of her commentary; she punishes Scout my making her stand in the corner—an act of humiliation for the young girl. Thus, Scout gets even by catching Walter in the schoolyard and rubbing his nose in the dirt.
Scout rubs the Cunningham boy's nose in the dirt because she blames him for getting her into trouble with Miss Caroline. Scout had told that the boy did not eat lunch because he did not have any money for lunch. She also tells how his family will not accept handouts from anyone.
Jem sort of saves the day by having Scout ask the young man home for lunch or what the southerners call dinner. Scout again shows her impudence when she questions Walter about putting syrup on everything at the diner table.
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