Scouts Journey to Womanhood

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As girls grow in life, they mature and change into women. In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Scout, the main character, begins to mature into a woman. In the beginning of the book, she is a tomboy who cannot wait to pick a fistfight with anyone, but at the end, she lowers her fists because her father, Atticus, tells her not to fight. Scout’s views of womanhood, influenced by how Aunt Alexandra, Miss Maudie, and Calpurnia act, make her think more about becoming a woman and less of a tomboy.
In the beginning of the book, Scout is a tomboy. She acts, dresses, and walks like a boy because when she was little her mom died, leaving her in a house with two men, Jem and Atticus. Scout has a lot of masculine influence but no feminine influence. Scout also has a raging temper, a manly trait, which she develops by hanging around boys too much. For example, one day at school, she punches Walter Cunningham for embarrassing her in front of the new teacher, and when she gets home, Atticus lectures her and tells her to control her temper and never to punch anyone ever again. Instead of acting like a girl, she goes hunting, swimming, and running around with boys, in boys clothes. Scout does not want to be a woman. Jem tells Scout, “It’s time you started bein’ a girl and acting right” (115) as opposed to earlier when he told Scout to stop acting like a girl. Scout gets all offended when he says both of these because she had always wanted to be exactly like Jem, which is why she always acts like a boy and never like a girl. Later in the book she says, “Ladies seem to live in faint horror of men . . . But I liked them. There was something about them, no matter how much they cussed and drank and gambled and chew. No matter how delectable they were, there was something about them that I instinctively like” (234). Now she likes men because in her opinion they are better and more fun, as opposed to her liking them just because of Jem. Her views on womanhood are based on the women around her, and she does not like the women in Maycomb. In addition, Atticus does not feel in a hurry to make her into a woman, figuring she is young, so she can hunt, play, and get herself dirty. Although, when Aunt Alexandra comes to live with them, it is a different story.
Aunt Alexandra, who is all about image, comes to stay with Atticus and the kids so she can preserve the family name...

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...him in return. In addition, when Cecil Jacobs provokes her in the schoolyard by saying ugly things about Atticus, Scout is quick to draw her fist but then lowers it and walks away. She turns her back and does not come back even to the chanting, “Coward” which shows extreme maturity even though Scout does not mature the way Aunt Alexandra imagines her to, like wearing pretty dresses or listening to town gossip. This is evident during the tea party when one woman asks her, “Where are your britches,” and Scout replies, “Under my dress” (229). She looks like a girl on the outside but is still a boy in the inside, but she matures into a woman in her heart, which is more important, and learns that being a woman is not just looking pretty.
Throughout the novel, Miss Maudie and Calpurnia positively influence Scout’s vision of womanhood. Aunt Alexandra, however, negatively influences Scout. In the end, Scout matures into a woman not by the way she dresses but by the way, she acts. She finally realizes that name, image, and race do not matter; what matters is the person inside. Scout matures through her heart, which is much more genuine that trying to dress pretty and be someone she is not.
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