What does it mean to be special? Does it mean to be unique? Does it mean to be intelligent? Or does it mean to be good and innocent? For Jean Louise Finch, all of them would apply. In “To kill a Mockingbird”, Scout is a very unusual girl, both in her qualities and her looks. She is a tomboy, which is highly unusually in the proper society that she lives in.
She is also exceptionally intelligent and a very good person, making her one of the most special characters within the story.Although most girls at Scouts age and situation should be wearing dresses being prim and proper, Scout wears overalls, pants, and persists to do so despite being reprimanded by Aunt Alexandra. “Aunt Alexandra was fanatical on the subject of my attire. I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches.
” (pg 88) Scout’s actions are also different to other girls at her age, while other girls would learn manners, Scout does not. Instead she learns to climb trees with Jem, plays with air rifles, and even begins swearing in the presence of adults. Anything that a normal boy would do, she would do. Scout does not feel ashamed, nor does she feel there is anything wrong in being a tomboy.
An example of this is when she says to Alexandra “I suggested that one could be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well.” (pg 88) This tomboy attitude is developed through Atticus’s hands off parenting style, allowing Scout to do anything, and learn anything she likes.However, although Atticus supports most of Scouts decisions, there is one aspect of her tomboy personality that he does not support. That is her violent behavior, Scout’s tendency to resolve conflicts through fighting is shown very early on in the book where she fights Walter Cunningham.
When asked to explain herself, she answers very calmly and composedly as if there is nothing wrong with girls fighting boys. This trend of violence progresses to a point where the boys fear her. It is generally assumed that guys resolve their conflicts through violence, and girls resolve their conflicts through compassion and understanding. In analyzing the way that Scout handles her situations, the reader can deduce that Scout is a very masculine character.
Apart from being unique in her appearance, Scout is also unusual in her qualities, such as intelligence, thoughtfulness and goodness. Scout is very intelligent, being the only one in her class who knew how to read before even beginning school. She is also very thoughtful; she constantly worries about the goodness of people and the evil inherent within mankind. Her thoughts are very mature, such as when she realizes that her third grade teacher criticizes Hitler’s prejudice against Jews while being extremely prejudiced against blacks.
A normal child would not be able to pick up such insights into human nature. Through her intelligence and thoughtfulness Scout is able to understand that humanity has a capacity for evil, such as during the trial of Tom Robinson. But she also learns that humanity has a great capacity for good, such as after Boo Radley saved her and Jem from Ewell, Scout described him in a sympathetic way. “His lips parted into a timid smile, and our neighbors’ image blurred with my sudden tears.
‘Hey, Boo,’ I said.” (295)The great capacity for goodness is also present within Scout; she always acts with the best intentions in mind. Such as when Mr. Cunningham is going to lynch Robinson, Scout ran into the middle of the group and manages to disperse the gang.
As the novel comes to an end, Scout develops the ability to approach others with an outlook of sympathy and understanding. Such as how she treated Boo in her house “‘Mr. Arthur, bend your arm down here, like that. That’s right, sir.
‘” (304) Although she may not be as good as Atticus, the extent of how her goodness develops throughout the book is unparalleled by any other character.Scout is a very unusual girl, in both her looks and her qualities. She is the only tomboy in her society, she is unusually aggressive for a little girl and has her own thoughts on different subjects in life. Also she is intelligent for her age and has a extremely good heart.
The combination of these unique characteristics allows Scout to understand the world in a mature perspective. Although Scout remains a child even till the end of the book, she does not need age to develop maturity.