Scout defies the gender roles placed upon her by society, and, more specifically, the people she encounters in her everyday life. Her defiance is not rooted in rebelliousness, but rather her unconscious preference for adventure and overalls. A large part of her personality is the firm belief that she can do anything her older brother Jem can do. She refuses to have limits placed upon her, and her sassy retorts are often read as disrespect, when they are merely her pure belief that she is equal to her male counterparts, and that “one [can] be a ray of sunshine in pants as well [as a dress]” (Lee 86).
A large focus of the novel is Scout’s experience growing up the South and the adult situations she is exposed to, like Tom Robinson’s trial and the mystery surrounding Boo Radley. What she learns from both experiences defines Scout’s youth, and in a parallel fashion, Scout’s perspective is what defines these parts of the story. She has a very unique voice, and the novel is incredibly ahead of its time in terms of having a “feminist center” (Shackelford 3). Harper Lee’s immense talent to harn...
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...e, and she has matured enough to feel as though she is “being cheated out of something” (Lee 39). Though it may not seem central to the plot, Scout’s trials and tribulations in the school system reveal a lot about the people of Maycomb County, and the things that they are capable of, good and bad. This helps to further characterize the county, and foreshadow the tragic events that will later take place. The reader is no longer surprised by what conspires, though it is still disturbing in nature. This creates a sense of frustration for the reader about the treatment of innocent people, and the bigoted nature of the people’s minds at the time, which is exactly what Lee wanted. The true impact is delivered again and again as the reader is constantly reminded that this whole story is being witnessed and relayed by a 6 year old girl with pure intentions and a good heart.
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