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Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird: Character, Traits & Quotes

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  • 0:03 Scout the Narrator
  • 0:32 Scout Holds Her Ground
  • 1:21 Scout the Tomboy
  • 2:04 Scout's Education
  • 3:08 Scout the Innocent
  • 4:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret English

Meg has taught language arts in middle school, high school and college. She has a doctorate in Educational leadership

In this lesson, meet Scout Finch, narrator of ''To Kill a Mockingbird''. Scout is a likable six-year-old tomboy who is busy learning about life and injustice in a small Southern town in the 1930s.

Scout the Narrator

Scout Finch is the first person narrator of To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout, whose real name is actually Jean Louise, is six years old when the story begins. Most of the time, the adult narrator lets the child Scout do all the talking. The reader sees injustice and racism in a small town in Alabama during the 1930s, largely through the eyes of a child. However, the adult Scout occasionally interjects with some adult observations.

Scout Holds her Ground

Scout often gets into fights, not because she's mean, but because she believes she has important points to prove. In the third chapter when Walter Cunningham, a boy in Scout's class, refuses to accept lunch money from the new teacher, Scout tries to explain: 'Walter's one of the Cunninghams, Miss Caroline. . . The Cunninghams never took anything they couldn't pay back. . . You're shamin' him Miss Caroline. . .' When Scout gets her knuckles rapped for insubordination, she blames poor Walter and pounces on him in the playground at lunchtime. Later in Chapter 9, Scout fights her cousin Francis when he taunts her and tries to insult her father. 'This time I split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth,' she explains. During the course of the novel, Scout realizes that fighting is not the way to get along with people and starts to behave better.

Scout the Tomboy

Scout's mother died when she was very small, so she hasn't had anyone to teach her how to be a proper girl. Scout's father Atticus discourages her fighting but permits her to be a tomboy. But her Aunt Alexandra tries hard to turn her into a lady, much to Scout's irritation. Scout prefers the company of her older brother Jem and their friend Dill. Scout finds women to be more hypocritical than men because they make fun of her. 'There was no doubt about it, I must soon enter this world, where on the surface fragrant ladies rocked slowly, fanned gently and drank cool water. But I was more at home in my father's world. People like Heck Tate did not trap you with innocent questions to make fun of you.'

Scout's Education

Scout is puzzled by school. She looks forward to learning, but she gets in trouble on the first day for already knowing how to read. Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline Fisher, means well but is inexperienced. The adult Scout recalls, 'The remainder of my school days were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the state of Alabama in its well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics.'

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