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Narrative Perspective in To Kill a Mockingbird
Transcript of Narrative Perspective in To Kill a Mockingbird
Scout Finch, who narrates in the first person, is nearly six years old when the novels opens.
The story is recalled by an adult Scout. This first-person, adult Scout allows the narrative to contain adult language and adult insights yet still maintain the innocent outlook of a child.
The adult perspective also adds a measure of hindsight to the tale, acknowledging the past fact people in Maycomb blindly reacted to a situation without bothering to sift through evidence. Therefore, although Jean Louise Finch comprehends the racist culture of Southern United States at the time in the latter segment of the novel, Scout's naive and innocent nature, told through the hindsight of author, Harper Lee, in the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is articulated by her spying in the conversation of Atticus and her Uncle, the mob attack with Mr. Cunningham at the jail, and the encounter with Dolphus Raymond outside the courthouse to represent the blind reaction to racism and prejudices in Maycomb. In chapter nine, at Christmastime, Scout gets into an altercation with nephew Francis Hancock for naming Atticus, "a nigger-lover." On top of that, Scout depicts Francis a, "whore lady," two phrases that exceed her knowledge. Later, Uncle Jack and Atticus are talking about the fight as Atticus acknowledges a "spying" Scout. Here, Harper Lee tells readers that Scout's lack of age is important with her naivete to calling Francis, "whore lady" and with her saying, "I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said." She clearly states that she did not understand the concepts at the time she heard them, but understood in adult hindsight. Her reaction to the name Atticus is called and her childish, blind, and infuriated reaction to it exemplifies the common prejudices in Maycomb. Ch.9 In chapter fifteen, as the court case nears, Atticus goes into town at night to the Maycomb Jail at which Tom Robinson is located. Scout, Dill, and brother Jem follow Atticus into town, spying on their father as the four lynch mob cars approach. As tensions rise between Atticus and the mob, Scout races out to defend her father. Scout looks around the group and recognizes Mr. Cunningham, the father of her classmate Walter Cunningham. She starts talking to him about his legal entailment's and his son, and asks him to tell his son “hey.” All of the men stare at her. Mr. Cunningham, suddenly ashamed, squats down and tells Scout that he will tell his son “hey” for her, and then tells his companions to clear out. The reader can truly grasp the extent of Scouts naivete as she, unknowingly, saves Atticus and Tom Robinson from a racist lynch mob. Scout can only comprehend her acts and the results from hindsight. Mr Dolphus Raymond rests outside Maycomb's courthouse during Tom Robinsons trial as Dill and Scout exit. He commiserates with Dill and offers him a drink in a paper bag. Dill slurps up some of the liquid and Scout warns him not to take much as she thinks Dolphus, "was an evil man (pg.267), but Dill reveals to her that the drink is not alcoholic—it’s only Coca-Cola. Mr. Raymond tells the children that he pretends to be a drunk to provide the other white people with an explanation for his lifestyle, when, in fact, he simply prefers black people to whites. By means of Scout's naive judgment of Dolphus as an evil, nigger-loving drunk, Harper Lee conveys the community of Maycomb's blind, prejudice reaction by bestowing evil on Dolphus because he married an African-American woman and is an alleged alcoholic. To convey the theme of Scout's innocence and naivete to her surroundings, we are going to cover...
Scout's blind reaction to her father being called a nigger-lover and her lack of understanding of how Atticus knew she was spying into his conversation.
Scouts racing to Atticus to stop a potential outbreak as tensions grow at the Maycomb Jail with Tom Robinson and the lynch mob.
Scouts lack of comprehending why Dolphus Raymond carries Coca-Cola in his paper bag instead of the presumed alcohol. From this point of view, we see the naivete of Scout which represents naivete of Maycomb.
The community's blind reaction to certain situations is symbolized through Scout's reaction, though innocent and childish.
However, in the adult lens (as the story is recalled) we analyze our flaws as does Harper Lee through Scout. As Atticus says, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (p.39) In conclusion, although Jean Louise Finch matures in the latter segment of the novel, Scout's naive and innocent nature, told through the hindsight of author, Harper Lee, in the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is articulated by her spying in the conversation of Atticus and her Uncle, the mob attack with Mr. Cunningham at the jail, and the encounter with Dolphus Raymond outside the courthouse to represent the blind reaction to racism and prejudices in Maycomb. Ch.15 Ch.2o Discussion Questions How do you feel Harper Lee's "adult lens" on a child narrator affects the story?
Do you agree Scout's encounter with Dolphus Raymond helped her stop judging people by how they appear? Explain
What do you think would have happened to Atticus and Tom Robinson if Scout had not interrupted their feud with the lynch mob at the jail?
How would the story's point of view and plot change if Scout were Jem's age in the latter part of the book?