By: Ava McElhone Yates
With the announcement of a new novel written by Harper Lee, many people have begun to revisit her classic novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. This story is centered on and narrated by a confident young girl named Scout. I first read this book in my eighth grade english class and, like many people, envied Scout for her passion and stubborn confidence. I think you would be hard pressed to find a character so innocent in her views on injustice and feminism. Scout is young and asks questions from her own heart.
“Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches… I suggested that once could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well.”
Scout Finch, Chapter 9
Scout will do as she wants and is willing to confront people about what she believes in. She also tends to shy away from stereotypes and restrictions placed on her. Dresses? She wears pants underneath and is willing to talk about it. The phrase “like a girl” makes her mad. She becomes furious when she hears people would be denied jury duty because of their gender. With more Scouts in the world with this attitude people would understand the harsh nature of stereotypes and the difference one outspoken person can make.
“I saw something only a lawyer’s child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for.”
Scout Finch, Chapter 21
Scout Finch does not let the unknown slow her down and there will ask anything. Whether it is about confronting an injustice, defining a word, or clarifying an idea Scout is there asking and ready to listen. To Kill A Mockingbird introduces difficult subjects of rape, race, and crime yet Scout is both graceful and reflective. If something doesn’t make sense she will speak up to eliminate the confusion. She also observes people closely. During the trial she amuses herself with people’s hair and expressions while also noticing their reactions and seating. Such close attention to detail is what makes her unique and thoughtful.
“Scout’d just as soon jump on someone as look at him if her pride’s at stake…”
Atticus Finch, Chapter 9
Another reason to admire Scout is her protective nature. Physical harm, fights, and insults will not separate Scout from protecting or defending her family and friends. When kids at school insult her father Scout fights them. When her teacher is mad at a friend Scout explains the situation and takes her punishment. She is the first to defend her friends and invite them to the house despite her family’s reaction. She will do anything and everything for those she loves and that is what I find admirable about her.
Just because Harper Lee published To Kill A Mockingbird over fifty years ago does not mean Scout is outdated. Scout is more present- and needed- than ever. Sure, Scout is a young girl– but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want to be her. In fact, I think we should all aspire to be as considerate, brave, and inspiring as Scout Finch.