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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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Much of the trouble that Miss Caroline Fisher encounters on her first day of teaching stems from the fact that she is an outsider, who does not relate or understand the backward, uneducated country children of Maycomb. Miss Caroline is depicted as a rigid, inexperienced teacher, who hails from Winston County and struggles to relate to her students. Miss Caroline proceeds to read an imaginative story to a group of uninterested children and chastises Scout several times for her advanced abilities. She is forced to punish Scout during lunch when she attempts to give Walter Cunningham Jr. a quarter. Despite Walter Cunningham Jr.'s refusal to accept her quarter, she continues to attempt to lend him money. Miss Caroline is a newcomer to Maycomb and is not aware of the Cunningham family's way of life or reputation throughout Maycomb. Unfortunately, Scout cannot articulate her thoughts and ends up speaking rudely to Miss Caroline, who is forced to punish her. Miss Caroline is also not familiar with the Ewell family and makes the mistake of attempting to chastise and intimidate Burris Ewell, which backfires and exacerbates the situation. Miss Caroline does realize that Burris hails from the most despicable family in Maycomb and is the offspring of the rudest, most vile man in the small town. When she attempts to exercise her authority, Burris calls her a "snot-nosed slut" and proceeds to hurl insults at her. By the end of the day, Miss Caroline feels offended, frustrated, and exhausted.

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