Scout’s Innocence and Maturing
Scout was too young to understand what was happening right in front of her face, though we see her change and mature throughout the book. Harper Lee uses Scout as a dynamic character in To Kill A Mockingbird , who is challenged to overcome misfortune during the Great Depression; concurrently, Lee uses the symbol of the Mockingbird to convert Scout throughout the entire novel to understand and express her thoughts for Social Justice.
At the beginning of the novel, Scout Finch is an innocent, good-hearted six-year-old child who has no experience with the evils of the world. Scout will defend her family, even if she has no idea what she is trying to defend them for. Because of the trial Scouts father, Atticus is being called rude names because he is defending a black man. Scout doesn’t understand why they are doing this and is confused why all of this is such a big deal. When you don’t completely understand the social world sometimes guidance from adults is needed. Scout got into many fights throughout her school career with family and friends. After her fight with Francis during Christmas Scout tells Uncle Jack what Francis said to her. She explained to him that Francis called Atticus“ A nigger-lover. [She] ain’t very sure what it means, but the way Francis said it…[ [she] swear[s] before God, if [she’ll] sit and let him say something about Atticus”( 98). Scout is speaking to her uncle about the insults that she had heard in town regarding her father. The quote demonstrates that she is furious and ready to rise to her father’s defense, but she does not understand the meaning of the insult that people are using. The quote portrays Scout’s fierce loyalty to her family, and also her innocence, which at times prevents her from fully understanding the events around her. Here is a prime example that Scout doesn’t understand the adult context of what a “nigger lover” is but still can identify how it is used. Following the Cunningham fight Scout realizes that everyone doesn’t live the same life once Atticus gives her this knowledge. We also see Scout has an aggressive child, she will try and protect her family at all cost. Scout yet again will put up a fight, even if she doesn’t understand the whole meaning. She is so stubborn and aggressive towards everything. Scout thinks that every problem could be fixed very quickly and whoever hits harder is right.But after she has to search for other ways, Scout starts to think about the real meaning of justice and physical strength. Though she still has a temper, she starts her way to mastering her emotions and thinking before acting. Finally, she agrees that there are lots of other ways of settling down the emotions and they are sometimes better. Still, she leaves herself some space for her favorite one because “[she] would fight anyone from a third cousin upwards tooth and nail” ( 95-96). Scout goes through many changes in the novel, many of these being her characteristics. She is just a little kid growing up in a rough world so she doesn’t know how to react to certain situations. Atticus is trying his best to teach her that violence is never the solution. But Scout is stubborn and never turns down an opportunity to tell someone straight. Harper Lee uses Scouts stubbornness and aggressiveness to show how young and immature she really is.
Scout’s innocence still exists in the beginning of To Kill A Mockingbird, as we can see through Harper Lee’s words. Scout is really unaware of the injustices that occur in the world she lives in. Scout’s innocence exposes the racism that infects the Maycomb community. Because she is too young to know better, she can see that Tom Robinson is being framed and even hope that Tom could be found innocent. Scout thinks Tom is telling the truth because he seems like a really nice and respectful young man. She doesn’t understand that no one is going to believe Tom even if he is telling the whole truth. There is way too much racism and unfairness involved in the city of Maycomb during this time period , and Scout: being that she is so young, doesn’t quite understand why a black man is not getting treated the way she has been all her life. Scout asked “ Atticus are we going to win it ?” ( 101 ). This shows that Scout is still innocent before the trial. She is living in a time period where racism is very common and popular. Anyone that understands this knows Atticus doesn’t stand a chance at winning this case. He is going in front of an all-white jury, trying to say a black man didn’t actually rape a white girl. All the evidence in the world couldn’t help Atticus win this case, at least not during this time period, but Scout is too innocent to realize and understand Tom’s trial. Scout is also seen as compassionate despite her innocence. Scout walks Boo home after they were attacked in the woods by Bob Ewell. She stands on his porch and starts to think about how Boo saw the world. She realizes that it is important to consider things from other people’s point of view. Scout then reminisced about the days when she and Jem were growing up. Scout then thinks that Atticus was right. One time he said you never really understand a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough”( 347). Scout finally sees Boo has an innocent human being and not a monster like her and Jem thought all along from the childish stories and gossip around town. She understands that her father is very wise and is trying to raise her the right way. Scout finally sees that not only is Boo Radley a good man, but so is Tom Robinson. Harper Lee uses Scout as a dynamic character to prove her innocence and compassion towards certain elements.
Scout Understanding Racism
In the second part of To Kill A Mockingbird, we see an entirely new side of Scout. She has matured and is starting to see the awful and cruel world she lives in, especially for black people. Scout starts to mature towards the end of Tom’s trial. She realizes that based on the evidence that her father, Atticus is presenting that Tom is innocent in rape Mayella Ewell. She then realizes that not everything is fair in life and people are going to be accused of such crimes they have not committed. Not everyone will get a fair trial and not everyone will get the opportunity to a trial, but Scout’s starting to see all the social injustices that are encrypted into the town of Maycomb. Scout says “ Naw Jem, (she) thinks there’s just one kind of Folks. Folks” (227). This quote explains how Scout is maturing and starting to see the real world for that it is. People are going to be people and they are going to make their decisions based on how they personally feel towards something. In this time period as we know black people don’t get treated the way they should and have no rights. Scout’s response illustrates her innocence and perspective. Scout realizes that social factors and opportunities play an important role in one’s social class, but do not represent an individual’s true character. Scout believes that each person is born equal, regardless of race or class. Harper Lee also encrypts the Mockingbird to prove that social injustices are real by explaining to us that “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”. Lee is saying that mockingbirds don’t do any damage to us humans. Mockingbirds are innocent just like Tom is. The saying “it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” is referring to how both the mockingbird and Tom just want to bring peace into this world.
Throughout the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, we see Scout overcome misfortune during the time period of The Great Depression and how the mockingbird helped Scout mature tremendously. We see Scout change from an innocent young girl who has no idea and the social injustices and transformed into a smart young girl. Scout has always been ready to put up a fight for her family, especially her father. She started realizing how much racism was in the town of Maycomb Alabama. She matured and saw things from a different point of view. Scout started seeing how Boo Radley saw things and how Tom Robinson felt during the trial, how Tom knew there was no chance of him winning the case. Scout has proven that she understood social injustices and racism in the 1930s. How black men had no rights and people were so inconsiderate. It’s a nasty world we live in and Scout has just opened her eyes to see this. From understanding things from a different point of view Scout has helped show that everyone shouldn’t be judged on how they perceive from the outside.