Essay on Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee


In Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the reader looks at a young girl's fictional hometown of Maycomb, Alabama, in the face of racism, seclusion, and prejudice during the Great Depression. The young girl, Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed Scout Finch, narrated the story alongside her brother, Jem, and their friend, Dill. As they grew up, they ventured around Maycomb throughout the novel, including events involving their mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley, their father, Atticus, and Tom Robinson's Trial. As Scout grew up throughout the book, so did her curiosity about the stuff around her. Scout is curious.

Scout is curious because she always wonders about her mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley. At the beginning of the novel, Scout watches the activities and habits of the Radley House because she is curious about it. She discovered that the Radley family were out of the ordinary in Maycomb since they rarely see them outside and show odd behavior. Scout explains, "The shutters and doors of the Radley house were closed on Sundays, another thing alien to Maycomb's ways: closed doors meant illness and cold weather only" (9). Scout, along with Jem and Dill, started investigating the Radley house to find their true identity. The Radleys' mysterious behavior proves that Scout is curious because she is eager to learn more about them. Later in the novel, Scout meets Miss Maudie and interacts with her on the porch. One evening, Scout asked Miss Maudie about Boo Radley and his existence. Scout asked Miss Maudie, "do you think Boo Radley's still alive?" (44). Miss Maudie was surprised by the type of question she was asked. This proves that Scout is curious because Boo Radley's odd behavior around Maycomb had Scout asking others about him, including her neighbors. This is not the only time Scout has expressed her curiosity. She has also questioned her father's job.

Scout is curious because she asked Atticus why he is going to defend Tom Robinson as a lawyer. Before the trial, Cecil Jacob made fun of Scout's dad, Atticus, for protecting a black man. She was about to retaliate, but she calmed down, considering the consequences. Scout explained, "Cecil Jacobs made me forget. He had announced in the schoolyard the day before that Scout Finch's daddy defended niggers. I denied it, but told Jem. 'What'd he mean sayin' that?' I asked" (77). Scout's curiosity grew when she heard what Cecil Jacobs was saying. Scout's curiosity is expressed by her desire to learn more about Atticus's work as a lawyer. Later that night, Scout was still curious about what Cecil Jacobs had said to her. Her curiosity resulted in Scout asking her father, Atticus, many questions about his situation, making him feel amused. Scout questioned Atticus, "Then why did Cecil say you defended niggers? He made it sound like you were runnin' a still." (77). Scout is desperate to learn more about the case, so Atticus has explained his role in Tom Robinson's trial and why he does it. This shows that Scout is curious because she desperately questioned her father to get a better understanding of his job and satisfy her curiosity. Although Scout is curious about her father's work, this is not the only time Scout is curious about it. 

During Tom Robinson's trial, Scout keeps asking questions to understand what is going on in the trial. Scout and Jem overhear a lot of whispered remarks about the Finch family in town. Scout recalls that she never asked Atticus what rape is when she hears one that describes it. Scout narrates, "Which reminded me that I had a question to ask Atticus. 'What's rape?' I asked him that night." (136). When Atticus responds, their conversation redirects and Scout proceeds to tell him about her visit to Calpurnia's church. Scout's curiosity is shown because she does not forget to ask Atticus questions to understand Tom Robinson's trial better. During the trial, Tom Robinson presented his viewpoint in the case to the jurors. Scout did not know what was going on between Tom and Mayella, which made her curious. Scout said, "Until my father explained it to me later, I did not understand the subtlety of Tom's predicament" (198). Atticus told Scout that Tom took advantage of the opportunity to escape because he was aware of the fatal consequences. This shows that Scout is curious because she is willing to understand Tom's awkward situation with Mayella to understand the trial. Scout's occasional questioning validates that Scout is a curious person throughout the novel.

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