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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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What is Scout's physical appearance in the first 10 chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird? Please identify 5 things and include page numbers.

Unfortunately, very little is revealed about Scout's appearance in the first 10 chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird. Readers are told that Scout is bigger Walter Cunningham, that she typically wears breeches and overalls, and that she has bangs across her forehead.

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Because Scout presents this story from her own point of view, the details of her own appearance are quite limited. It would be a fairly awkward construction for her to reflect on her own appearance, so we mainly interpret those details through the way others perceive her.

We can assume that Scout looks like a fairly tough little girl. In chapter 3, she manages to beat up Walter Cunningham, even though he is older than her.

Catching Walter Cunningham in the schoolyard gave me some pleasure, but when I was rubbing his nose in the dirt Jem came by and told me to stop. “You’re bigger’n he is,” he said.

Not only is Scout larger than Walter, but she must also be strong. Most little girls could not hold down an older boy and scrub his face in the dirt against his will. Since Scout spends all her time outside, she is likely lithe and has learned to be tough.

We also know that Atticus's sister does not approve of the way he allows Scout to dress. Aunt Alexandra believes that Scout should present herself as a lady—which requires wearing a dress. Scout says that her aunt is "fanatical" on this subject:

I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn’t supposed to be doing things that required pants.

Even as a young girl, Scout is fiercely independent and doesn't rely on the approval of others to find her sense of self-worth. She believes that pants are practical and therefore wears them in her everyday adventures.

This conflict between whom Aunt Alexandra believes Scout should be and Scout's own independent spirit, which is often represented in Scout's choice of attire, continues throughout the novel. They finally reach an understanding at the missionary tea after they learn of Tom Robinson's death.

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Scout Finch (her birth name is "Jean Louise Finch") is not only the main character of the novel, but is also the narrator. The entire story is told from the perspective of a first grade girl.

This being said, there is very little revealed about Scout's actual appearance. There are two main reasons for this. First, because Scout is narrating, and she is only six years old, she doesn't see much of a reason to describe her appearance, probably. Second, Harper Lee as an author wants us to associate ourselves with Scout's beautiful innocence and see the world through the eyes of this child. As a result, and in order to connect us deeper with Scout, ALL OF US (both boys and girls, men and women) need to connect with her on some level. Hence the idea of Scout being a tomboy.

Interestingly enough, we learn the most about Scout's appearance through her interaction with her dreaded Aunt Alexandra. At least, we learn a lot about her clothes:

Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possible hope to be a lady if I wore breeches. 81

Therefore, we know that Scout wears "breeches" and "overalls" and the typical playclothes that a boy would wear. We are also told that she has straight bangs across her forehead; however, we are told this in a very indirect way. At one point, Boo Radley makes two tiny dolls for Scout and Jem. One is a boy and one is a girl. They are absolutely supposed to be representations of Scout and Jem. The little girl doll has bangs, and that is the only clue to Scout's hair.

Another thing we know about Scout is that she is bigger than the average first grader. She fights with the boys and Jem even admits that Scout is "bigger'n" other boys older than her.

This might seem a little bit silly, but it's also safe to assume that Scout has plenty of scars on her hands from punching boys in the face. She reveals the result of the altercation with Francis when she "split [her] knuckle to the bone" because she punched him in the teeth.

Thus, keep in mind that the question you have been asked to answer may be a "trick" question, with the answer being that there aren't really enough details to answer it properly. It may also be a method for a teacher to find out if the student only watched the movie instead of reading the book.

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Scout's descriptive narrative is quite thorough throughout the novel, but she gives the reader maddeningly little information about what she actually looks like. Scout is six years old when the story begins, and we can assume that she is big for her age since she is larger than most of the boys in the story. Even though Walter Cunningham Jr. is older, Jem tells us that

"You're bigger'n he is."  (Chapter 3)

Cousin Francis is a year older than Scout, but she has no problem with him once she decides to "split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth." Scout is much larger than Dill, who the children guess is only "four-and-a-half." And she is bigger than Little Chuck Little, "among the most diminutive of men." We do know that Scout prefers overalls and "breeches" to dresses and skirts, but she tells us little else about her actual appearance. In the movie adaptation, Scout is pictured with very short, dark hair, usually wearing overalls and a "wife-beater" undershirt or flannel shirt underneath.

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