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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What connection does Scout make during the current events lesson at school?

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Scout realizes that her third grade teacher, Miss Gates, is a hypocritical racist. During the Current Events portion of her class, Cecil Jacobs brings in an article that discusses how Hitler is rounding up Jews and persecuting them. A student asks why the government doesn't put Hitler in jail for what he was doing to the Jews and Miss Gates tells the class the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship. She goes on to say that Hitler is the government and everyone in Germany follows what he says.

She also teaches them that the Jews are great people and she doesn't know what Hitler has against them. Cecil makes an interesting connection, too, and asks why one white person would persecute other white people--as if persecuting blacks was alright. Miss Gates doesn't recognize the hypocrisy saturating the conversation, but Scout does. Scout doesn't say anything in class, but she does ask Jem later at home, as follows:

"Well, coming out of the courthouse that night Miss Gates was. . . talking with Miss Stephanie Crawford. I heard her say it's time somebody taught 'em a lesson, they were gettin' way above themselves, an' the next thing they think they can do is marry us. Jem, how can you hate Hitler so bad an' then turn around and be ugly about folks right at home" (247).

Scout is so young, but she senses the hypocrisy. She doesn't even know the word hypocrite, yet, but she is right on the cusp of discovering it. Scout doesn't know what else to think, but she does know that it doesn't seem right to treat any one poorly, no matter what color their skin is. 

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